Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I am Cretan

Dear Lord,

I know I don't often visit you, but you know that you are always on my mind. Don't worry, I haven't come to ask anything from you, as we mostly do when we pray; I think you know better than me what and where to offer. I just came by today to have a chat, and mostly to thank you.

The rioting in my town, in the country where I live, having forsaken the identity and country I was born in, have left me feeling rather numb. I didn't expect my life in Greece to be ruled by anarchists, whether they are political tsamboukades, or young inexperienced youth. But that seems to be what is happening now, and I am left with an identity crisis.

Am I Greek, Kiwi, Kiwi-Greek, Greek-Kiwi? I seem to to be none of those. When I lived in NZ, I knew I wasn't a Kiwi - my parents made sure of that: Greek language, Greek church, Greek food, Greek relatives, Greek house style, Greek friends. When I came to Greece, I knew I wasn't a Greek - my NZ upbringing made sure of that: Kiwi accent, Kiwi souvenirs, ex-pat Kiwi friends, the mentality of someone who had lived an orderly life in which everything had been handed to her on a plate, with little to be passionate about.

You led me out of Kiwidom, into Europe, through Athens, eventually positioning me in Hania. I still feel different from the locals, and as you know, I have very few Cretan-born friends - my relatives do not count, as they are blood-related - but at least I know what to say when people ask me where I'm from: I'm Cretan. You know what I mean: I don't follow the flow, I don't accept what I'm given, I stand up for myself, I'm not a yes-(wo)man, and above all, I'm independent. Thank you for bringing me to the right place.

LEFKA ORI - the white mountains
top: 17 March 2008; bottom: 9 December 2008

I almost forgot to mention my greatest appreciation for the little gift you left us last night, after the freezing cold temperatures - we even turned on the heating! I heard a a shower of rain falling in the early hours - it woke me up - and my mind went to the washing I had hung out to dry. In the morning, I saw an uplifting sight - snow, SNOW on our mountains, LEFKA ORI! And this is why I wanted to thank you:
  • Thanks so much for the overnight rain - it acted like an automatic sprinkler system, with very little interruption to our life (apart from my wet laundry), watering my spinach and carrots and radishes, so that there'll be a good bounty for us to feed ourselves with
  • Thanks so much for snow on Lefka Ori - we may have a lack of tourists next year, but at least there'll be plenty of water for us to keep ourselves clean, drink and water our gardens
  • Thanks so much for the sun - you have truly blessed us with the best things in life.


  1. I feel for you, Maria. You are less of a 'blow-in' by virtue of blood than we are here but I don't suppose we will fit until the grandchildren are grown and we are dead and gone.

  2. χρειαζόταν κάτι λευκό μέσα σε όλη αυτή τη μαυρίλα των τελευταίων ημερών. μήπως κάποιος εκεί πάνω σε ακούει;

  3. Fit, can't imagine fitting anywhere these days.
    Yes, I love it when it rains at night.
    Shame though, we've had showers all day and we are trying to move, with just the two of us and a jeep and trailer, yuk..

  4. Beautifully expressed sentiments with this post Maria. Your children are fortunate to have parents who will teach them, by example, what it means to have authentic character and ethical reasoning.
    And yes I think that a Cretan owns a unique identity.

  5. Thanks Mariaki--your words brought a warmth to my heart, a thousand feelings I have felt myself and I don't even live in our beloved Crete. But..I am a Cretan too..all the way down to my toes.

  6. The beginning of your post worried me. I could have understood it, myself. Then your surprise ending gave me joy!
    And your snowy mountains are so wonderful.
    Take care. We hope quiet will be restored soon.

  7. Maria, What a beautiful post. So hearfelt and so full of gratitude. Your children are very lucky to have you for a mom. I hope things settle down soon.

  8. Hey Maria, Keep the faith mate!

    I am a kiwi in London. I visited Hania 3 years ago with my wife and daughter and the place really impacted on me. I had been brought up with Crete as part of our history as my uncle and fought and was captured there (along with many other kiwis). I think Hania is one of the treasures of the world, a most beautiful port. So much in fact we named our daughter Danielle Xania.

    Take care

    Scott TM