We made it to Greece! I’m currently writing this from Cafe Kitron on the island of Naxos in the Cyclades. Stepping off the ferry from Athens last night felt a little like coming home, or, I guess, home away from home away from home. Colin has been coming to Naxos for seven summers now (you can read about his Greek island research here), spending anywhere between three weeks and two months each year. In contrast, this is only my third trip to Naxos, but the port town is small enough that it felt familiar almost immediately when I showed up in 2013 and by now feels like an old friend. This is also the island where Colin asked me to marry him in 2015 (or, to be technically correct, he asked on a small white-rock island called Aspronissi – Greek for “small white island” – which is a short kayak paddle from Naxos).
As familiar as Greece is, the transition from Paris has been amusing. It was a crazy feeling to step off our Air France flight in Athens and realize that I’d spoken my last words of French for several weeks. The change in wardrobe is obvious as well—in Paris, you would never see anyone in flip-flops or a track suit, but in Greece gym clothes are perfectly acceptable apparel. And the noise! I didn’t realize quite how quiet Parisians are until I was surrounded by boisterous Greeks. And as much as j’adore Paris, the laidback island culture of Naxos is refreshing. If only Colin didn’t have to work, then we could sit here sipping cold drinks by the sea all week!
Alas, this may be our last quiet moment for a while. This afternoon we’re going to collect Colin’s research equipment from the ancient Venetian castle where he stores it, then tomorrow we’ll hop on the ferry to the next island over – Paros – which serves as home base for his islet experiments. The rest of the crew will descend on Paros over the next couple days, and my debut as a full-time research assistant starts Monday. Wish me luck! I’ve got a little case of first-day-on-the-job jitters, although I’m hoping that our marriage certificate will ingratiate me with the boss.