“Rural life still good?”
“Rural? You mean beach life?” I responded during a recent online chat. “It’s very laid back.”
Life in Coolum Beach (approx population: 7200) is still leisurely, despite the installation of a third set of traffic lights in town - I’m still getting used to our relatively new roundabout on the main street.
“You know you should be fasting this week!” says mum.
“Why?” I ask, stuffing a chocolate Easter egg into my mouth.
“It’s Easter Holy Week. You’re not supposed to eat meat.”
“Err… I’m vegetarian,” I remind her.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our Big Fat Greek Easter Show,” Nick announced with a flourish. “We've got an exciting performance for you this afternoon and we hope you enjoy it.”
Aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins cheered in rowdy applause as the curtains parted, while Jen and I were discreetly positioned behind the handcrafted stage.
We’d spent weeks rehearsing for our live puppet show which featured an elaborate and colourful array of props and musical performances.
I pushed away the dinner plate, unable to fit another morsel of food into my mouth.
“But you haven’t eaten anything!”
“Auntie, I don’t normally eat three plates of food in one sitting.”
“What - more sweets?” I groan at the sight of the three white boxes in the middle of the desk.
“Who’s name day is it today?”
“Ours,” respond the three Marias at our Athens-based office. Custom dictates they bring a box each.
I just can’t keep up and neither can my waistline. Really, some months feature an endless procession of name day celebrations and obligatory eating of syrup sweets.
“How about an evening frolic down on the beach?”
“Err, no thanks,” I replied.
“If you’re worried about leaving your friend on her own,” he said with all sincerity, “she's welcome to join us.”
While initial amorous advances are flattering, continuous entreaties for a late-night rendezvous are irritating, especially when the enamored young man follows you home. It’s considered stalking in some cultures.
_ “You’re missing out!” my cousin reported down the phone line. “There’s a metre of snow outside.”
Yeah, right, I thought. We’d been having great weather and outside my window I spotted a cloudless blue sky.
There wasn’t a hint of snow apart from the distant white-capped mountains.
“Look what I’ve got,” says my three-year-old nephew.
“What is it?”
“It’s a truck,” he responds, waving it in front of the web camera.
“Oh, now I can see it!”
He runs off to find more toys, leaving his teenage brother and sister free to chat.
“Hooley Dooley,” I say, “you’ve all grown!”
New Zealand 2008
New Zealand 2006
United Kingdom 2004
Athens Olympics 2004
Beijing to Athens 1994
I acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the land on which I work and live, the Gubbi Gubbi / Kabi Kabi and Joondoburri people, and recognise their continuing connection to land, the waters and sky. I pay my respect to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.
© 2023 HARI KOTROTSIOS