It’s strange how a place you’ve never been can feel like home.
Until I decided to book a flight here to take care of some chickens, kitties and a sweet little dog named Tufa, I had never heard of Paros.
Paros is a small island (part of the Greek Cyclades) in the middle of the Aegean Sea. It’s about 196 sq kilometers (roughly 75 sq miles for you Americans!) and you can drive around the whole island in an hour and a half or so.
As I sat down to share a few photos of this gorgeous piece of earth, I thought to myself, what is it about this place that feels so familiar? So comforting and like…home.
And that’s when I realized, it’s not a place that envelopes us in it’s embrace. No, it’s the people and the landscape that either makes us feel welcome or not.
So what is it about Piso Livadi (that’s the name of our little town on the island) that gifts us the same feelings of comfort that our true home in the Sierra Nevada mountains offers?
- Feeding the chickens first thing in the morning, and then enjoying a farm, fresh egg for breakfast.
- Gathering fresh herbs from the garden for home cooked meals.
- Walking out our front door about 20 steps and being able to jump into the cool, salty waters of the sea.
- Taking our fluffy pup Tufa for a walk. It’s clear she misses her true family, but that “we’ll do in a pinch.” She’s never more than a few steps away from one of us at any given time.
- Being surrounded by books and art supplies and a beautiful home in which to enjoy them in.
- Ordinary trips to the grocery store where the cashiers already know who we are and why we’re here. (We’re the Americans here to take care of Mika’s house.) For those who know our mountain home of 5,000 people this makes so much sense!
- Being in a rural setting, close to nature where we can connect to the elements and mother earth’s rhythms.
- Living in another person’s home filled with their personal treasures, and family history. This house was built by the grandparents of the current owner, and being here makes me feel as if I know them all. Looking out at the very same views they enjoyed with their children and grandchildren while enjoying hikes up the mountain side and days splashing in the sea.
- The locals who are delighted were here in the off season and are proud to share their little piece of heaven with people who clearly didn’t come for only the incredible beaches and low exchange on the euro right now.
The steps leading to the sea, directly in front of our Greek home.
And so here we are, in the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a small greek island for the holidays. And though to my mother’s dismay, we won’t be gathered in her festive and carefully decorated Christmas wonderland with Elivs crooning Santa Send my Baby Back to Me, she’ll be here with us, as will all those we hold in our hearts this year. And indeed it is home for the holidays this year.
Bonus! Diego’s mother, our dear Abu, will be joining us this month. Always a treat to see Abu, and especially during the holidays!
So to answer my own question I harbored before we left our home in California last year:
Will we be able to create a home for our children without the stability of family, friends, and a physical home?
Absolutely. Home is a feeling, and it can be recreated almost anywhere. But it is best shared with those you love.
Our Christmas tree. Found on the beach.
Hard to feel out of place in the world, under a sky like this.
We feel beyond grateful to be here, and even more so for you to be here with us. Still don’t know what 2016 holds, but honestly who cares.
I’ll take today!