I arrived exactly 13 days ago to the island of Rhodes, Greece. But this travel is completely different than the previous ones during the last 8 years, because finally I decided to move here. After 8 years of love, dreaming, wishing and researching I landed on Rhodes with 3 luggages on a dark, rainy November night – to start a new life…
Even I have been dreaming about this step since the first time I saw the island, everything happend fast and even now it is unbeliveable for me that I’ve made this step. I did not travel blindly, as during the past years I was researching the life, the customs, the attitude and the traditions of the local community with a huge passion for my upcoming book, but of course there is no guarantee about a new life. You decide, you make the first step, you depart and you take the responsibility of the results, of the unknown, of your own rebirth. There is risk for sure and the decision was surrounded by a lot of fears. But I felt a calling from somewhere which encouraged me to make that move and go – even with this heavy package of fears and doubts on my back. Wherever our desires lead us, we cannot refuse them, we cannot hold them back for too long. They do not disappear, sometimes growing bigger and bigger, until we come to the point to finally face them. So I gave a try to listen to these inner powers, and let’s see what happened in these first 2 weeks since I am here.
I guess I went through the most difficult part – the first shock, when you find yourself in another reality, a very different reality than your ‘previous life’. Alone, trying to redefine yourself, to find and place yourself in a new environment and culture. Like a newborn without preconceptions, without plans and too much thoughts I am floating slowly and gently into my new life. I am contemplating my new environment and the people around me with an open heart and a big curiosity. The people who are not the hosts of my holidays or my short term stays anymore, but the community that I would like to be part of – as I chose to live here. From now on these people are my community and company for the everyday life – which is a bit more loaded situation. I always felt that my spirit is related with the Greeks and their approach of life, but this is the real possibility to find this out finally – how can I really deal and cooperate with the dynamism, the habits, the customs and the attitude of this community in daily life? I had a huge desire to try this and live this, but I know very well that the desire itself is not a guarantee for a better life. The desire (if we follow) guarantees only one thing: the experience.
The thing that helps me a lot in this situation is being free of expectations. I became an observer of myself and my enviromnent in 100% of the time. I am a recipient, I interpret, I learn. A lot. Despite of the uncertainty of my situation I am more and more sure about who I am, what my values are. At the moment the insecurity of the outside world gives me the chance to make a better relationship with myself. Things are changing, going around me sometimes very fast, but these changes increase the necessity of finding my core, my resources. I am meeting a lot of different people here day-to-day. Meeting and changing ideas with really different people helps me to be more tolerant and respectful about other people’s opinions and thoughts. It proves me that how differently can we see this world around us and in the end everybody is right, and has the right to express feelings and opinions. For example I met a few people who don’t really like this island and they are dreaming about leaving from here. I can respect and accept that. It doesn’t influence me. I have conversations with people who are religious and with others who don’t believe in any God. People who are artists and people who are not. People who are fighting for their dreams and people who are not. People who have their own visions in their life, and people who are following other people’s vision in their life. People who think that they are always right, and people who are open to change their opinions. These are possibilities for me to meet other people’s personal borders, desires, limits – to realize that everybody has different motivation, so we all make different decisions. I enjoy that I am part of a really colorful world and I can accept myself as a shade of the palette that I don’t want to change any more.
Searching for my identity, finding myself, building my own stability – these are the keywords after the first two weeks. Discovering more ourselves and the outside world is worth a try even it requires sacrafices and some amputations… For me as an artistic person it is elementary to experience the most possible colors, smells, feelings, resonances in this life, so I am addicted to discovery.
About the dream becoming reality: I realize very slowly, day by day that I am really here and enjoy the beauty of Rhodes, the richness of its nature, the freedom, the unlimited possibilities. Some inner transformations also requires to discover my new life really slowly and gently with big walks, and nice talks. And of course despite of the sight of the colorful lemon and orange trees it is winter time here too with long dark nights and short days which makes me more introvert. I am more passive in these days and I let it be how it is.
Rhodes in winter colors
This Rhodian winter is really different than our boreal snowy cold Hungarian winter. Winter on Rhodes is the season of surprises as the weather changes so quickly so unexpectedly even during one day. The sea shows its various range of colors and shades from the rigorous dark grey until the most vivid turqoise. Clear sky with some white little clouds, thunderstorms, rainbows and orange sunsets – you can find all of them during one day. Rhodes shows her different faces in every moment – and She is beautiful in each moment. But even during winter – the Sun never disappears for a long period of time. The unexpected and various colors of this weather paint Rhodes town with different colors everyday which makes me photograph a lot!
There are some desperate winter swimmers on the island, who hardly miss a day of swimming in the sea. But the sea doesn’t attract only the swimmers. Especially on Sundays quiet a lot of people are having picnic by the sea. Some of them are sunbathing, some of them are running, doing exercises, while others playing beach tennis with friends wearing summer shorts. And of course you can find the fisherman around on the same spots everyday. So far I had maybe 4-5 swims and I would like to continue (at least until I catch a pneumonia :D) as it refreshes my mind, my soul and makes my skin beautiful. Also instead of hundreds of people and sunbeds you can share the coast with about 10-12 other swimmers which gives you more the experience of freedom. So I’ve spent the second Sunday of Advent at the beach. 😉
The gifts of Nature
November, December are about olives. And I wanted to buy some fresh olive oil in an olive factory. During my first week I was in Apollona village where I stopped at one of the olive factories of the village. The people there showed me the oil pressing process and also gave me some fresh extra virgin olive oil as a present. In Apollona village I also went to visit the local workshop of Apolloniatisses who preserve the methods of making traditional bread, cakes, spoonsweets and other sweets of this small mountain village. Since that day I couldn’t fine better and more tasty meal than the village bread of Apolloniatisses with the fresh olive oil of the local olive press. Even that I am still eating this bread after 2 weeks – it is still amazing.
And of course Rhodes town and all the other parts of the island are full of colorful orange, lemon, and mandarin trees. These citrus trees standing next to the Christmas decoration confuse me sometimes – as my winters so far were white and grey with bold trees. But I really like that new association. And also the fact that I am eating local seasonal fruits particularly the ‘rodi’ (the pomegranate) which is huge, has strong color and sweet like honey. And now I am sure: the Rhodian orange is the best orange I’ve ever tasted. 😉 Also we have lots of ‘greens’ (horta) around the island mostly wild ones which will be another research for me…
After the first two weeks I can tell you that I am surrounded by much love. Primarily by the people who I already know on the island. They are welcoming me with love and joy, and everybody tries to help me in their own way which is an amazing feeling.
And than when I walk around the town and meet new people on my way, the most of them are always smiling, having at least a little conversation everytime. A lots of positive vibes. People are asking me about myself, trying to make connection. The same thing that I always feel here on Rhodes. People are open and joyful in general. Most of the people said to me that I would love to live here on Rhodes, because this is ‘Paradise’. 🙂
Everybody has time for a coffee or a nice talk. Especially now during winter when most of the locals are having a few months break out of the tourist season. They enjoy their island without the crowds of tourists. “Rhodes is ours now” – they say.
Even that I am coming here for many years, and even that I am really in love with this island and a lot of people are welcoming me with lots of love – even in this situation it is very hard to settle, to adopt to my new life. I cannot imagine how hard could it be to start a new life in a foreign country where the local population is against the idea of accepting forigners. I am so grateful for the local Greek community that they are so open, and welcome me with open arms and heart. They help me a lot with this attitude. It is a very big thing!
The major difference between the environment I am coming from and the local community of Rhodes is the attitude for joy. In my eyes enjoying live is part of being Greek. And you can experience this the most when they get together to sing, dance and play music together on their traditional instruments. Everytime I participate on an event like this with Greeks I am surprised again and again by this unvisible, intangible milieu which is created by the mixture of music, dance, singing and tradition. I always tried to decode the roots of this unbeliveable Greek passion, but as I see the things now: the secret of the courage and power they have for life is their strong roots. They have no doubts where they belong to, they have no doubts about their roots because they are connected with them through tradition: music, dance and singing for sure.
According to my opinion: if singing is a part of your daily life – it gives you courage, because you have the possibility to clean your soul, and also you learn how to express your feelings – so you are not afraid of them as you meet them regularly. Also I can hardly listen complaining on these events. People here don’t want to destroy each others mood, the purpose of meeting each other is rather lifting each other up! Which is also new and really healing for my soul. Maybe this is the effect of the endorfin hormone which level increases in your blood when you are dancing and singing, but people are smiling and laughing. They are happy for just being together. Very simple.
The moments when I feel this unconditional love and unity are the moments of dancing together the traditional Greek dances. The Greek dances have amazing power and healing, balancing effect. The power of touching each other, dancing on the same rhythm which synchronizes the heartbeat and the breath of the people brings you to a state of mind where you can experience pure unity. Your brain is off and you arrive to the present moment. Instead of your ego you are leaded by the pure joy of the flow.
On one of these nights I saw an old Greek man (about 60-70 years old) dancing all night. He was alone by himself (and I guess the oldest one that night), dressed up very elegant from head to toe. He didn’t miss a dance. And he was dancing so passionately. He expressed himself in many different ways, I think he cleaned his soul totally by the end of the night – nothing remained inside. Everybody was so respectful with him, and the younger people were watching him with a huge admiration. But he did not say anything – he just enjoyed every singe moment and expressed himself. And even that he came alone, finally everybody wanted to be close to him somehow. I think this is a valid formula in life also: if you are authentic and live your life in a sincere way with an open heart without feeling ashamed about who you are, than the life will do the rest and things will come to you easily. Joy and the lack of expectations have a great magnetism. I feel really blessed to be part of these moments.
Well… this is how my days and nights go by with heavy duties, fights and lessons at the same time to get closer to my dreams and visions. But I couldn’t find a better, supportive and inspiring environment to get closer to myself and my creative energies. I pray to keep on going on this road and to be strong enough to face all the difficulties to find and liberate myself.