I arrived in Greece just after midnight. This trip felt a little different. The last time I was here, I met with a friend from Madrid, and we had a fantastic weekend with great food, conversation, a mini road trip, and the beach. It was a perfect mix for a short weekend to reset the mind and feel that the world wasn’t a complete mess if even for a couple of days. This trip, I was going to be alone, similar to during lockdown, but at least I would have more space, cleaner air, and be close to the beach.
I needed a break from London where half of the city was closed due to social distancing restrictions. The city still had many activities available, but the people seemed to disregard the health guidance provided. It scared me to spend much time with the hoards of people holding onto the Summer that barely was. I’m sure it would have been different had I spent my first Summer in London when it was in full swing; it was something I looked forward to before moving here. I’m not sure how ending my Summer will be very different, with many of the same social distancing restrictions still in place in Greece. Is it weird my biggest worry at this point is getting a face mask tan line? I will acknowledge that thought as petty to worry about with all that is going on in the world. Focusing on something so trivial may also be an avoidance of all the things floating around in my head that I don’t want to work on.
I spent the first couple hours in the apartment, unpacking and trying to keep as quiet as possible to keep from waking the neighbors. I opened the balcony doors and let the fresh air plow through the apartment. The sea breeze at night paired with the cicadas was a familiar experience, and a calm came over me like everything would be alright. I took a deep breath and enjoyed the sounds for a few minutes before I continued unpacking and cleaning.
In the past few years, I began realizing that if you care enough about something, you will invest your time and energy in making sure it is nicely kept. This realization can be applied to both internal and external entities. When we care about ourselves or others, we spend the time to make sure we are mentally and physically sound and invest the time to ensure we are safe. The same goes for tangible items like an apartment. In our family apartment in Greece, I will stay up well past 2am dusting and mopping and making sure the place is in good shape before I sleep, but it would be hard to find me taking as much care with a temporary flat I was renting, even if it held all my worldly possessions.