Tag Archives: summer

Looking for summer in all the wrong places

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It can’t be helped. Twenty-two years are plenty enough time to build up an image of what summer is supposed to be like. And for me that’s high temperatures and wild winds. Swallowing sea water and dancing in the waves. Long walks under the setting sun and coffee outings that end up to bar visits. Summer is crappy radio signal, family movie nights out on the balcony, fresh figs straight from the tree and fingers sticky from melted ice-cream. And, most importantly, for me summer is feeling the sun on my skin and seeing the world around me through a golden glow. Or at least that’s what summer was.

Fast-forward to now and Yours Truly spending most -if not all- her summer in Nottingham. With its max of 22 C, its on-an-off rains and…well…come on! I could be in a Greek island right now! Does it really bear comparison? Why don’t I fly over you ask? Save us all the inevitable whining? To which I answer, I do want a pretty (preferably above 65%) grade to my thesis. I’m too much of a stereotype I suppose. I physically need sunlight to feel well after a while and of all the givens of childhood an extended summer vacation is the one I’m having more trouble letting go.

So here’s to trying to stay positive and see what a British summer is like. Though, given recent events, England could have the same weather as the Maldives and I would still contemplate not staying. Yes, I’m upset. Yes, I’m scared. And yes, I’m incredibly frustrated. 2016 has been developing like a bad joke, the kind that has a chapter-and-a-half devoted to it in history textbooks and is in the SOS list for final exams. I am not looking forward to telling my future grandkids about the Great Crazy of 2016. And no, the awesome movie line up is not making up for it (no matter how much of a huge nerd I am).

Here I am then. Dazed, confused and far paler than I usually am by the end of June? Any suggestions?

Buzz-buzz-buzzer

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Dearest fly, you who’re buzzing,

Kindly go, for now, away!

You’re too loud, too distracting,

While I’m trying to read and write.

There are other clients here,

Gossips, tourists and what-have-you;

Why you then prefer us working?

Why this questionable attraction?

 

In other news, I’m sitting at Starbucks, catching up with my -ahem- blog stalking, and this HUGE fly won’t go away. Is it even huge-fly-season right now?

Well, this is awkward…

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(“Awkward” being a word I normally cannot spell…) What you ask? The weather for one. -glares at overcast sky- The relative calmness of my mental state for another. No kidding, since I started back with the full time research again I’ve been much more…balanced is not quite the right word but you know what I mean. I’m basically pulling a Hermione Granger, diving in books, taking notes, finding more books to read…It’s…nice. Familiar. The sort of thing that I can be comfortable with.

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Books, stories, they’ve always been easier to be around than people. I enjoy talking to people (sometimes) but it’s so hard to figure out what they actually mean most of the time. Sarcasm and irony, those I can handle. Heck! Most of what comes out of my mouth falls under those categories. It’s when this isn’t an option that things get hard. I know, right? Straightforward would be harder for me….

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What the pretty angel in a trench-coat said. I sometimes wonder if there was some sort of mandatory class in how to communicate with other people that I missed. I know I’m not the only leaving conversations feeling like they missed something.

And yet, even with the underlying note of stress that never seems to leave me these days, I’m good. Not totally ok but cautiously finding myself willing to venture out of my cave. We had a careers fair the other day and being surrounded by noise and people wasn’t quite as overwhelming as it might have been two weeks ago. I suppose the sunshine on the past few days helped too. I’m always better when I’m under the sun (even if I go home and feel like I’ve boiled my brain.)

So there! Tiny steps, plenty of books, (hopefully) more sun to bask under and very limited human contact. Sounds good to me.

In which I go a’merry travelling again!

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Or rather went? I mean, the day trip itself was back in July but I just got around to uploading the photos on my computer so… Whatever! Point is, this is a little excursion my younger cousin and I took together.

 

There we were, relaxing in Paros (fancy, huh?), lazing away the days until I figured; What the heck? Let’s do something a tad different for once. Hence my dragging C. out of bed at the ungodly hour of nine in the morning, with the intention of visiting the beach of Marchello (oh the joys of transliteration!).

 

So, after plenty of yawns, a quick breakfast and even faster double-back (because certain people forgot stuff…) we made it to Paroikia. For the uninitiated, this is the island’s largest village and where the boats from Athens (or pretty much any starting point) leave you. From there we took the boat (as in kaiki, not a proper ship) and made the short trip to Marchello.

 

There's this little kiosk where you can buy tickets and find out departure times right next to where the boat is tied.

There’s this little kiosk where you can buy tickets and find out departure times right next to where the boat is tied.

That's the inside of the boat! I swear one of these days I'll brave my seasickness enough to climb on the top deck!

That’s the inside of the boat! I swear one of these days I’ll brave my seasickness enough to climb on the top deck!

And here's Yours Trully! Picture kindly taken by Cousin who, although nine years younger, has a far better eye than I do for this sort of thing!

And here’s Yours Trully! Picture kindly taken by Cousin who, although nine years younger, has a far better eye than I do for this sort of thing!

 

A word from C.:

We stopped and bought some magazines to read on the beach!

 

Back to Yours Truly:

So, as you can see from the pictures, we get our own tiny tropical paradise complete with white sand and sapphire-blue waters! And all for less than 20 € too. The adult return ticket for the boat is 5 €, for the kids 3 €. Moreover, part of the beach in not what is commonly known here as “organised”, meaning you don’t necessarily need to pay for a sunbed/umbrella combo. And even if you want to treat yourself, it costs 7 € for the umbrella/two sunbeds, or 3€ for the single sunbed (for all you lonely souls).

 

The water was a tad cold, not all that surprising. For the past few days the temperature has been dropping and anyway, I never claimed to like the “cool” part of the spectrum… There was splashing around and swimming and laughing at those who had never been here before and did not know that a ship leaving the port on the opposite side is both impressive to watch and the cause for waves.

 

C. The water in the beginning was cold but then it got warmer.

 

To which I say: WHATEVER, I still got all tingly! –ahem- Yeah, at some point we decided we had enough of “swimming” and moved back to the glory that is the combination of dry towels, sunlight and sunbeds.

 

The taverna/changing rooms/sunbed rental place at the back of the beach.

The taverna/changing rooms/sunbed rental place at the back of the beach.

Pretty water is pretty. That's Paroikia at the back.

Pretty water is pretty. That’s Paroikia at the back.

I swear this picture was not staged. C. had my camera at hand and I was about to get back in the sunny bit of the sunbed and well...picture happened...

I swear this picture was not staged. C. had my camera at hand and I was about to get back in the sunny bit of the sunbed and well…picture happened…

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I would like to say at this point that normally I find fashion magazine B.O.R.I.N.G. but with the sun making me drowsy that’s just about what I can mentally handle. Cue the sunbathing time (I do love the heat) and obligatory laughs at some of the more outrageous designs.

 

C. The fashion magazines are not boring. Especially when they have summer clothes and swimsuits.

 

-sigh- Three guesses on who is entering their teenage years and who is happily out of them. We only left from the beach because our stomachs were growling and a nearby tavern was making us even hungrier with the smell of roasting meat.

 

A quick shift of clothes….

 

Have I mentioned how much I ADORE this dress?

Have I mentioned how much I ADORE this dress?

 

…and it was back to the boat and Paroikia for us,

 

This picture took way too many failed tries to take....

This picture took way too many failed tries to take….

C. Marchello beach was awesome. We had a very good time while we were swimming, talking, reading summer magazines and of course laughing. ^_^

 

You heard it! “From the mouths of babes”… There’s plenty of eating choices in Paroikia, but one of the side effects of coming to the same place summer after summer is that you will have your favourites (and will always go there). C. wanted souvlaki (not that I complained). Our favourite is Pepe’s with its great food and gorgeous prices.

 

Why yes, I do have a thing for taking pictures of signs.

Why yes, I do have a thing for taking pictures of signs.

 

And by gorgeous, I mean cheap. And by cheap, I mean broke student friendly. 😀

 

C. The souvlaki was really tasty and the chips were even better.

 

We had a quick lunch there and went for a stroll, which –because this is Paros- meant that we ended up at a coffee shop, specifically Distrato (again, joys of transliteration). It’s one of those multi-purpose places where you can have breakfast, lunch, in-between coffee, sit down for a crepe or an ice-cream, or even have a beer. Nobody can say anything about the adaptability of a “café-restaurant”. I would whole-heartedly recommend the  sweet crepes there, as well as the coffees.

 

C. I had a banana milkshake! 🙂

 

Banana –shudder-…

 

Anyway… After a blessed (and much needed) coffee break there was more aimless roaming, and drooling over jewellery store windows. I just looooooove gemstones! It’s sorta funny walking in Paroikia this early. Nearly all the shops are closed for lunch break or siesta break (call it what you will). So you actually get to see the buildings instead of being dazzled by the waves of people around you.

 

Unfortunately at this point C. started realising that she was tired so we caught the bus back to Naoussa (a village closer to our own place) and waited there for mum to pick us up. (Love you mum!)

 

Bag doubles as pillow...

Bag doubles as pillow…

 

Overall a fun day methinks…

Strawberry Moon

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It hums in my blood; the moon’s sudden madness,

Long before the bloodied sun has ever set.

Around me the people, they all can feel it,

And speak a bit louder, laugh a bit stronger,

And their movements, their movements are a dance.

 

The strawberry moon hums in my blood

And gladly I obey its calling.

Wrapping myself in a plethora of flowery sink,

Pinning a rose in my hair and crescent on my neck.

Tonight I shall be daring, shall not hide or blush;

I’m of the moon’s touched tonight.

 

I’ll swing my hips to the sound of drums

And lay against the sun-baked stones.

Long after Selena takes to sky,

I’ll draw the cards – to read under her light

What may or may not, what friends

And lovers and even foes

The summer tide will bear me;

All under the gaze of the strawberry moon.

Thunder

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Booming and ominous it rolls,

Like a forbidding elder wrapped

In a harsh, grey cloak.

I look out my window to the rain

And long to be outside.

Out where my blood pumps

In time with the patter of the rain.

Out where the wind tears through

What’s left of my body.

Out where, for a single moment,

I’ll fly and stand and swim

And simply be, just for a moment,

I will be the thunder.

Summer Day

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Rose-pink silk stretching

Across a gossamer horizon.

White and blue collide

In a sky warm as a mother’s embrace.

 

Gold light upon orange earth –

A haze on the horizon.

This time demands

That all be quiet.

 

Royal purple cloaks the sky;

Childish treasures, pirate hunts.

The sea turns grey, the wind is soft,

This hour is ours, the best of all.

 

Bleeding red or silver white

The moon is rising in blackened sea and sky,

To guard our games and light our path,

When one day ends and another began.

In which the sun is making me lazy

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So, I’m back to sunny home-sweet-home. Yay! There’s a running joke I have with my friends about my perpetual complaints of being cold while I’m in England. If any of you are reading this right now, you can rest easy, knowing that even in Athens I feel a little chilled at night. It’s not the weather my lovelies. It’s my dragon-blood! (Long story, a friend said I’m like a reptile what with being cold all the time and I declared myself a dragon. Actually… Not so long story.) Anyways, I’ve been soaking up the heat for the past few days, which, until my body is used to the warmer temperatures, means my mood swings between content-as-a-snake-after-lunch to Speedy-Gonzales-hyper. Apparently part of me just wants to enjoy the heat but another part is so energised by the Vitamin D boost that she needs to keep moving. My solution? Long, lazy walks in the sun.

Anyway, since I’m at the beginning of my summer vacation, this will be one of those “I have nothing of import to say” posts. Suffice to say I’ll try to get over my lethargy soon and actually post something interesting next time. ^_^

Until then, have a cute picture of a kitten!

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Summer sun

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The smell of clay-baking soil rises from the ground.

The waves are sluggish, muted,

Even the wind has settled down.

Wrapped in a golden haze the midday world

Ambles along the dusty road.

The sweat is heavy in his brow,

A chain of storm clouds from the east.

Afternoon rolls, the thunder sounds,

Delirious relief for all the thirsty things.

The Drowning

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The gentle breeze that greeted them the day before like a childhood friend’s caress had transformed overnight to an old warrior’s booming voice. The girl released the last knot from her sash as the wind picked up again, sticking the wet sarong on her legs and whipping the long hair to her face. In the grey-gold sunrise the waves below looked like mercury. Sprays of foam flew all the way up the cliff, where she was standing, landing at her feet and putting away the candles from the night before one by one.

 

She had stayed up with the full moon, sitting away from the others and their noisy laughing talk as the hours grew longer, the air colder and the sea wilder.

 

With a hysterical laugh she took a few steps forward and jumped in the water.

 

The water had been inky black and, even with the moon shining above, they had nearly lost the shore as they tried to swim out.

 

A deep breath bringing air to salt-burnt lungs. Another wave dragging her to its embrace. The current taking her by the hand, leading her in an intricate dance, now waltzing towards the ocean, the next moment back to the shore. The rapidly rising sun burning overhead, changing the water surrounding her from nearly silver to foggy grey and blue. Another large wave and then the silence –blessed silence- of the underwater. Darkness behind closed eyelids, blood pumping against eardrums, pressure building against the temples.

 

She had lain on the pebbled shore and named the constellations that were still visible, the stars going brighter with each breath held a little longer, until she was racing amongst them and she had to remind her body to breath, counting inhales and exhales, one-two, one-two, one-two.

 

Her body was left to move with the water currents, while she floated above it, flying with the wind until the need to exhale became too strong and she slammed back inside the heavy, heavy body, crawled to the shore, even as the waves pulled her legs back in like an insistent lover.

 

He had come to sit next to her, the touch of his hand too warm, sticking to her skin. Her breaths were heavy, doubly now that he was close, and she pushed him away violently, ignoring the surprised words from the others.

 

Lightheaded and giddy she let another stilted laugh escape her lips before standing on shaky legs and moving to the water again. The winds that she dreamed of never lasted enough, not hardly enough to drive the maddening pressure of people and their thoughts…

 

Voices disjointed as they reached her ears, too many different words crashing against one another and why can’t they just be QUIET for one moment?

 

…against her mind. Another deep breath and she dove under again for just one more minute of peace…one and a half…two…before the burning became painful and she burst out of the water, in front of the wave, swallowing water instead of air.

 

She had burnt her finger whilst lightning the candles, trying to save the battery on their phones just in case, because of course they’d remember to bring drinks but a flashlight had been too much to hope for.

 

This time it took longer to resurface and by the time she is on dry ground again they are all there to berate and ask and even as she coughed the last of the sea from her lungs and tried to fill them with air (when did breathing become a chore?) the ever-present pressure is back. So much noise and how can anyone understand anything, answer anything, when voices and faces blur in a mess that is not the fault of an oxygen-starved brain.

 

In the semi-darkness the ground had seemed so inviting, the faces, drawn with sharper lines from the yellow-orange light, friendlier somehow. It was an illusion, as much as her race with the constellations but she had allowed herself to believe it, if only for a few moments, before the noisy talk had started again.

 

What were you thinking? Are you alright? Do you need some water? (I just drank a wave-full, I think I’m all set.) Did you get dizzy? That wave was huge! How could you miss it? It’s too windy, we shouldn’t have stayed.

 

What’s wrong with you tonight? Can’t you have fun? Why were you carrying matches anyway? What else do you have in that bag? Did you bring any water bottles? We’re nearly out of drinks? Did anyone bring food? Where’s my phone? Where’s my shoes? Is that a shooting star? Quick! Make a wish!

 

Even as she dragged herself to her bag and picked her things from the ground her eyes kept returning longingly to the waves. She could hear them whisper invitingly, and though she followed the others back to the house, well, wouldn’t it have been better if she had stayed under, in all the peace and quiet?