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Goodbye to Athens...for now

The PCR test has been done (and one ordered for day 2 in the UK), all the forms filled out, and tomorrow morning early the taxi will take me back to the airport where I landed two weeks ago.

There are some impressions that will stay with me: the friendliness of my 'neighbour' in the block of flats where my AirBnB place was - he helped me on an almost daily basis to carry my rented e-bike up the steps to the flat. The contacts passed on by friends, who had advice, wisdom to share, time to meet. Spending time with asylum seekers, and hearing their stories about their lives...and learning that a real Greek breakfast might consist of rice pudding!

Of course, coffee featured almost every day, and there are whole neighbourhoods bursting with terraces of the most tempting seating, serving a wide variety of coffees. While my taste has not embraced iced coffee yet, it certainly is a favourite in the temperatures Greece has been enjoying these last couple of months. Once again, I have experienced how having a coffee together can open up conversations of the heart. We have talked about hopes and dreams, pain and grief, history and the future. Some conversations were about business or networking, others about cycling to the beach and the best place to get souvlaki. But all of the conversations included, at some point: "when I get back to Athens". The planning is real. The concerns about legal issues, Covid restrictions and the rising cost of coffee, remain and need to be carefully thought through. The visa is still very complicated. It may all rest on obtaining that hoped-for citizenship which will open up Europe for me again. God's timing for the people on His heart will be just right, even if I can't quite understand it.

In the meantime, Αντίο Αθήνα και μέχρι να ξαναβρεθούμε (Goodbye Athens, and until we meet again)!

Victoria Square, a place where many asylum-seekers and refugees spend the day.

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