“If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you can reconstruct her.” -Odysseas Elytis
If I have to use one word and one word only to summarize my experience in Greece, the word will be “eventually”.
“The snow on Mount Parnassus will melt eventually.”
“The ferries will run eventually.”
“The plane will fly eventually.”
“The bus will come eventually.”
“The rain will stop eventually.”
“The train will reach Athens in maybe 10 minutes, well eventually.”
This is not a very good time for the Greeks. Many people have seen better times in this country and they lament at how poor they are right now. Many things don’t work as they should. Many people are overqualified for their jobs. A case in point, the guy who sold boat tickets to us in Santorini holds a Master’s degree from the UK. There is a great deal of tension between the government and the people right now. There is a lot of angst, frustration and unhappiness.
“Eventually” is a word that I have heard a lot over the last two weeks in Greece. Sometimes I wish they would tell me exactly when things will happen because it’s frustrating to wait. But I guess the “eventually” attitude helps them to some extent to get through this period of uncertainty. Although “eventually” is built on uncertainty, the word itself is shrouded with hope and optimism too. That’s because the person who says it believes it will happen some day but just does not know when. And more than plans, we need hope in our lives.
When I was at Meteora, the guide said that in the 16th century, the monks took 22 years to move the building materials of a part of the Varlaam monastery up the rock via a simple pulley system. After the materials were on top of the rock, it took them just 20 days to build it. That’s a lot of patience, a lot of determination and a lot of ambition. They didn’t know how long it would take but they knew bit by bit, slowly but surely, they were getting there. And I feel that the Greeks today can reconstruct their economy and their country. I don’t know how they can do it (the bailouts and globalisation make things rather complicated) and I don’t know how long it will take them to do it. Slowly but surely, eventually. Maybe I will live to see the Greeks great again.