Archive for Julie Copeland
Despite me being born in Melbourne, my mother always says `Molivos is your real home’ ; and come to think of it, I’ve had the longest, if intermittent, relationship with this place than with anywhere else in my life .
Since I retired last year from a high pressure, high profile career in radio and TV, my partner John and I have again spent early summer through to October renting the very old house we first lived in here in 1968 (yes, we too are getting old!) – which is a quite weird experience, as it’s hardly changed at all in over 40 years, including the antique outdoor plumbing!
But I have enjoyed the luxury of peace & time behind the high stone walls in the overgrown garden, the early roses, growing our vegetables (after this summer’s brilliant early crop, disease wiped out my tomatoes, as it did many others), making delicious jam and chutney from the old apricot and plum trees, sketching, reading, bringing up two beautiful cats, swimming in the world’s best sea, driving my old car to favorite spots around this end of the island. Or just having a paraia, sitting outdoors eating, drinking wine, having interesting conversations with a variety of good friends.
Like many foreign and Greek `outsiders’ who’ve attached themselves to Molyvos, stayed, made lives here, left and returned – I have intense reactions to the good and bad of village life, angry at what’s happening to the picturesque town, the treatment of animals, of `illegals’, refugees, the destruction of the natural environment, disgusted by the never-to-be-finished concrete skeletons which litter the beautiful landscape, along with the tons of unrecycled plastic, garbage, frustrated by the `byzantine’ bureaucracy, etc.etc.
Naturally people constantly ask how Moyvos has changed over 40 years; and it has, enormously. To start with, the town is more than twice the size (why is the old architecture beautiful, the new houses so ugly??) Secondly, thankfully, the village is now not so poor … Those of us fortunate enough to see the May outdoor screening of a fascinating 1958 Greek documentary about local fishing, were struck by just how hard life was then for local families. Not however, for we young `pet foreigners’ (who arrived here on the return voyage of the ships taking Greek migrants to where we’d come from -Australia), who although we were also poor, loved experiencing the traditional life, renting the many deserted houses, living on virtually nothing. No cars!
But while one can never – I repeat – NEVER romanticise poverty – most of my older Greek friends (and I) have a great nostalgia for `those years’ here, maintaining that people were happier (perhaps less discontented?) , enjoyed the simple life more, that the village has `lost it’s soul’ – to tourism, materialism, greed.
And sadly, while it’s great that more young people, especially women, have the opportunity to be educated, or qualify for future employment – Greece’s severe financial crisis means it’s hard to be optimistic about the chances for them to better their lives, to fulfil their potential, their dreams & ambitions.
So at the end of a long, hot summer, with the luscious red fruit loading the old pomegranate trees in the garden, I leave part of my heart here with fears that Greece is in for a very tough, difficult winter..