Re: Nice Hair and I Know Nea Makri!

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Posted by doninisrael (other posts) on January 25, 2020 at 22:42:00 Previous Next

In Reply to: Re: Nice Hair and I Know Nea Makri! posted by J.M.M. on January 25, 2020 at 11:10:57:

Hey, Jeffrey!

Yep, small world!

My time in Greece (1984-1988) was very busy because of work. Off-duty, we hung out in the cafes a lot, hiked and traveled, spent lots of time at the beach, and went sailing in Vouliagmeni. I lived in Ano Glyfada, up against the mountain, and although it was an area very built-up with multi-family apartment buildings, I lived in an old cottage with a small garden (we had lemon trees) and a large verandah.

I'm afraid didn't have much contact with the locals; if I wasn't with the guys from my unit, I was with my Round Table mates who were mostly ex-patriots, primarily British. Several of them were married to Greek women, so I had some contact there. We did have one guy in Table who was Greek, but he was a Pontiakos (an Anatolian Greek) and we became close because I could speak Turkish with him. (I was stationed in Turkey before I was sent to Greece.) But remember, I wasn't living in a small town but in a suburb of the Big City, so it was a different experience for me!

Actually, the Pasok party under Andreas Pappandreaou was in power when the US bases closed down; they simply didn't renew the leases, and we had a lot of notice. The base on Crete stayed open longer - it may actually still be there - because, being so far from the capital, it isn't as politically sensitive. The US bases were never popular, not because they were large and obtrusive, but because of the association of the CIA with the Colonels' Junta in the 1960's. KKE was definitely active when I was in Greece, but if I'm not mistaken they were in the opposition in the Parliament. There was even a SECOND communist party then, the KKE Esoterikou ('Domestic' Communist Party) as opposed to the KKE which was oriented to the Soviet Union. Wow, just writing this reminds me of all the upheavals of those years of the Cold War!

I know Beit Shemesh; yes, it's a very religious city with a large population of 'Anglo' Orthodox immigrants. Actually, every city and town in Israel has a large religious sector. Ashkelon, where I live, has a very religious feel to it, but it's mostly Sephardic. I live here because I've been married to a Sephardic Israeli for almost 28 years, and this is her home town.

I'm originally from Queens, NY, but lived in Miami Beach from age ten and since I was 20, I've been all over. I served 28 years in the military and spent a lot of time overseas: in addition to Turkey and Greece, I was stationed in the UK and in Germany. In the States, I was stationed in Maryland, California, Texas, Florida, and Colorado. I also lived in Jerusalem for a year, when I was studying. When I retired from the service in 2008, Clara and I moved back to Colorado, where I'd been offered a job. Four years later we were off wandering again; this time I took a job in Australia. After four years in Australia, I decided it was tie to fully retire, and we moved to Ashkelon. We have a son who lives here in Israel; he served in the army as a volunteer and now is an EMT with Magen David Adom. We also have a daughter who just finished a master's degree in lab science at the University of Coloraddo in Boulder.

Although there are definitely similarities between Greece and Israel - climate and topography, but also, believe it or not, cultural - it's hard to compare lif
e in the two places. Israel is a very conservative place in many ways, except perhaps for the Tel Aviv area, but so was Greece when I lived there. I've been back, two years ago, but I didn't get to the countryside and villages, just to Athens. I like living in Israel, but given different circumstances, I probably wouldn't mind living in Greece.

I'm wondering how you've managed to get residency there, since you have no Greek heritage. Under the Schengen Treaty, unless granted residency in one of the member countries (of which Greece is one), someone who is not a citizen of a Schengen country can only stay in the zone for 90 days out of every 180. I have at least one friend from my years in Athens, who would love to have your secret!

Anyway, great to have contact with you. We should probably continue this conversation by PM, since it's a bit off-topic from long hair!

A good week...


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