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By way of introduction…

March 1, 2007

The coolest person at my high school reunion, to my way of thinking, was a girl who lived in Switzerland. She could have said Guatamala or the Antarctic for all I cared. She was living an exotic life, had shed her midwestern cloak and gone ‘out there.’ I think her name was Jessica and she met her European husband while on tour with a roller derby.

That was in 1999. In the summer of 2000, my parents handed me down a computer. I was 5 years late for the party, but that didn’t bother me. I didn’t get a CD player until that same year and when my TV gave up the ghost, I cancelled my cable subscription. I’m not exactly ‘hot’ for technology. Never the less, after a few months, I hooked up my computer and signed up with an ISP. I met a Swede online. We lived in the States for 4 years. My grandpa said, “They never should have given you that computer!”

By my own earlier rating, I’d be in the cool group now. Two years ago we boxed up and drove, flew, rode the rails, sailed the Sea, took a bus, sailed another sea and landed in the port of Souda, Chania, Crete, Greece. My family asked that I tell them everything, but there was nothing to tell. It was life, in Greek.

I know now what millions of expatriates and travelers could have told me long ago; Everything is different, everything is the same. The only difference between exotic and mundane is familiarity with the subject at hand. For millions of Americans and Brits, monolingual is the rule. Speaking a second language is not mysterious, it’s only slightly different than learning a new word. Boring.

Crete is a destination for a few million holiday makers and a some dozens of new expatriates every year. For the most part, it’s the weather. The summer is 100% guaranteed cloudless skies. The expatriates are chiefly British and mostly retiring abroad to escape the relentless grey skies, skyrocketing property prices and perceived crime. Crete seems a paradise.

I do wonder how many would, if they were honest with themselves, admit that they might have made a mistake in their choice. A few will voice this, a few repatriate or move on to a new location. Most stay.

Crete has been a poor fit for us. We don’t particularly like it here, and we’re ready to move on. In the mean time, I’ll be exploring Crete through words. Maybe you’re thinking of coming here, maybe you’re in the American Navy and you’re being assigned to Souda, maybe you just want to live vicariously. Whatever your reasons, if you want to know what I think, read on…

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