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Introduction: A Wing and a Drachma
The year was 1987. I was newly divorced with four children from the ages of 5 to 15. We were finding it extremely challenging to make ends meet, and I did not see how I could possibly stay in our lovely home in Salt Lake City, Utah.. In the summers I taught swimming in our backyard pool. That money would help us survive for several months, but after that, what? People kept telling me I would just have to sell our house. I felt we had lost so much of our old life, and to lose the house, too, would be heartbreaking. I knew there would be a way to hold onto it, I just had to figure it out. Perhaps we could rent it to a family and we would move to a really humble neighborhood somewhere smaller and cheaper for the year. It was the comment from my oldest son that gave me the idea of making our upcoming deprivation an adventure. “Hey Mom, you always said you would take us to live in some other country some day. Why don’t we do it now?”
Looking at cost of living indexes we narrowed our choices to Mexico, Portugal and Greece. We opted for Greece. We managed this odyssey on very little money, which made it extra challenging. I frantically started studying the language in the six weeks before we bid goodbye to kith and kin. We had to decide -, without the help of the internet – on where in Greece we would live, not knowing if we could get the children enrolled in school, and if so, would they the learn anything? Not knowing if the money we had would be enough, not knowing a soul in our country of choice. A plethora of unknowns to catapult us into “the best of times.”
What enfolded for us could never have been imagined, and I have written of the unique people with who we interacted, the different customs, and experiences and challenges we faced and how we met them, head on, and learned to love and value it all.