Oh come on, it’s summer.

W. O. W

Have a really been here for one month already?

It’s true that time flies when you’re having fun. The other night we were out (Yet again!) and I  quickly glanced down at my watch. My friend saw me do this, told me to not worry about what time it was and to take my watch off. I realised that I didn’t need to know the time for the moment we were experiencing was the part I had to treasure most. He had a valid point. I went home at 8:30am that morning; passing Papu as I drove into town with him going the other way.

“Oh come on it’s summer”  Is our most common excuse for everything we do, or will do… for the love of summer.

Not a smart move. Because unfortunately, I am in between coughing fits as I write this at 2 a.m on a Wednesday morning. Why?  Because, I most definitely pushed my body to it’s extreme state.

Remember: No regrets though… it’s summer.

It all started on Friday night, a few cheap beers down whilst learning German phases (again!), overlooking the lights of Kapsali restaurants and bars (again!) and then making our way to the other bar (again!)….mmm notice a pattern? There’s nothing new here. I did however end up with a voice recording where 4 of us spoke randomly in 4 different languages – Albanian, German, Greek & English for a few minutes. That’s something you don’t hear often.

The night ended around 6:30am as I got a lift home, with my head out the window screaming lyrics to Empire State of Mind as it played loudly through the car.

Alas! I was home safely after yet another night filled with adrenaline buzzing through my veins. (Only the best way to enjoy each night.)

As I had already expressed to Papu that I wanted to go to church on Saturday morning so up I got at 8am to go with him. The biggest celebrations are performed at the church of Myrtidotissas on the 15th August (one of the biggest days on the Greek calendar). This particular day is home to the name day for Mother Mary and therefore a big service is held at different times over the weekend to celebrate not only her, but also an icon (picture) of her that was founded near the church. The picture reveals two figures who are faceless and it is said that if you are able to see the faces (Mother Mary and Baby Jesus) great miracles can happen.

Last time we visited Kythira the family attended the Friday night service at the Church. However, seeing as though I had arrived home that morning at 6:30 am and had left for church at 8am I was running on 1 hours sleep. Not very wise of me. Mum has had her fair share of impatience with an overall tired Elly. She knows this version of me extremely well.

But there would be no other times that I could visit the church that weekend so I had to go that morning; even if I did look like I needed a miracle just to wake up.

Stumbling ‘ever-so-gracefully’ out of the car I made my way to the entrance of the church where it is tradition to go inside, light a small candle for someone and kiss the icon. I looked around at the glorious interior of the church and then down at the people inside who had all gotten really dressed up for the occasion. I thought of myself, and the plain clothes that I was wearing (in aid to simplify my life this year) and I began to feel like I didn’t belong. A silly thought when you understand that anyone is welcome in the house of God.

I got out of the church quickly and noticed that there was smaller church underneath the bigger one. This was the first church that was built on these grounds, before the upper (and frankly, to others, the more glorious) level was made.

I find it difficult to put into words just how overwhelmed I felt when I stepped into that smaller enclosed church. An incredible spirit came over me and I had to sit down in awe of it all. You know how they say that when you enter different places you get certain feelings about that place. Well this church was one of those moments where I couldn’t even describe how I was feeling but it felt like my body was being cleansed and renewed; so I took a few moments to truly enjoy that feeling. Contrast to the other church above, here I felt like I belonged; in whatever attire I was wearing.

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Monastery church of Myrtidotissas
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The stairs to the upper level of the church.
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The original church below

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The famous faceless icon of Mary and baby Jesus
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The road to the church

When I got back home I only had another hour to savour some much-needed sleep before waking up for work again. After work I had promised myself that I would not go out that night (Why not? Oh well maybe because I had since lost my voice and was feeling quite exhausted. I should have spent longer at the church sitting in my sanctuary of cleansing!). Although I had also made a promise to a few other friends that I would take them in the car to the traditional dance that night. Not wanting to be left behind whilst the others enjoyed the night out I stuck to my word and attempted to drive (for the first time by myself on the island AND also at nighttime) about 20 minutes north of Kythira; to the town of Potamos.

I’ll admit that I was quite petrified of driving on one of the busiest nights on the island; especially with company. Obviously nobody informed me of the memo that when you get to Potamos at night, with the biggest dance of the year happening, there will be many people crowding the streets. Yelling at them to move with a broken voice was clearly not working so my friend leaned over and beeped the horn cause I was being too kind towards them. Driving through there was one of the most terrifying moments of my life (Jumping out of a plane was easier than dealing with a busy street in a manual car where every aspect of it is different to how you would drive in Aus).

I was so relieved when I eventually parked the car and everyone hopped out alive.

The dance was as it always is, fun; with the occasional “OPA!” thrown into the mix of languages. By 3am we had developed a ‘squad’ and after ‘middle of the road’ discussions we decided to stay for one drink ONLY. I allocated myself as D.D. (designated driver) and watched the others fall into oblivion whilst I sipped on cold iced tea. Refreshing!!

I wasn’t feeling that great but I pushed my body through my speachless voice and extremely sore feet from Greek dancing. Because I was so tired from lack of sleep it gave off the same impression that I was drunk; nobody could tell the difference. Regardless of alcohol, I’m still as clumsy as ever.

The music in the club ranged from Pop > Rock > The Greek Zorba > Mainstream hits > Spanish > Old school (the stuff Dad listens to when he goes camping with his mates back home).

I loved how each song had an ability to connection a different memory to each person.

“If you could read my mind”  started playing and at the moment those words were sung I looked at one of my friends and we instantly jumped on top of the chair we were sitting on. As the song was referring to, it was like we read each others minds. A moment that will never erase from my memory. I think after a few seconds we realised how ridiculous we were being and returned to the rest of the crowd. I’m learning to cherish those moments so much.

For a few days before a few of us had been talking about heading up to Agoi Akundinoi (a church atop a very high hill) to watch the sunrise one morning before everyone departed the island. We wanted the timing to be perfect, however we did not want to plan it to happen. A spontaneous adventure was the key!

So whilst we were dancing in the club at Potamos my friend asked me if I wanted to go there that night.

“Yeah why not, it’s summer”  Was my reply – despite feeling and looking like I had certainly been run over by the traffic on the way to Potamos.

So off the squad went. I drove much better this time (and not only because the boys were watching my every move in the car behind), but because the roads were more empty at 5am and I had gained more confidence since the hours earlier.

 It’s so hard to explain just how incredible the sunrise was that morning. So hopefully the photos do it justice instead. But it was the perfect sunrise, the perfect group and the perfect morning.

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week 5 pic one

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week 5 pic 2

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Perhaps I shouldn’t have pushed my body to it’s limit. But it’s just what happens here and I think a majority of us are feeling sick now so I’m not in a one person boat.

Unfortunately I am not oozing inspiration this week as I have felt so under the weather (even though the weather is still mighty fine!). So for the next few days I am resting my body to be able to deal with another busy weekend.

I’ve just learnt another thing about myself. That when any opportunity arises to do anything at all my heart will always say “Oh Come on, it’s summer!” despite my body screaming out in rejection of that claim. The heart will always win over the body. End of story.

THINGS I’VE LEARNT SO FAR

No. 1 Don’t think your body is capable on 1 hours sleep, it really isn’t…. but good luck to you.

No. 2 Eating waffles everyday with your friends will probably make you unable to zip up your favourite black jeans.

No. 3 Say yes to everything! For the love of summer.

No. 4 Be prepared for pre summer depression as everyone begins to leave the island.

No. 5 DON’T DRIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. I’ve been here since start of July and because August is the popular month all of the tourists don’t know how to use the road. It’s so dangerous.

Until next time lovelies,

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