I’ve been on Paros for just over a week now and I’ve been flat out.
Flat out meeting people, drinking coffee, looking for work, looking for a house or deciding whether its better to build on our land, making new friends, connecting with old ones, drinking more coffee, being forced to eat huge lunches by mom’s friends, walking when the weather is nice, begging lifts when its raining, doing errands and not doing them.
I’ve learned to make rakomelo (that’s a dynamite hot raki and honey spiced drink). Yum. I’m addicted.
I’ve got the gym program and prices but I haven’t joined yet. My excuse is that I’ll be going to Athens at some stage and don’t want to be paying for a week I won’t use… I have to be really careful with my money till I find work.
I’m running around in circles about my stuff from Australia. It’ll arrive in Athens sooner than I expected and I paid a fortune to have it shipped over (the consensus among the graussies is that I was ripped off) and to be delivered to mom’s place in Athens since I don’t have anywhere to put it on Paros. Seriously… I’m living in one room. And not a huge one at that. I have a double bed, bedside table, wardrobe, chest of drawers, desk, heater, dehumidifier, bedside table, coat rack behind the door, a cabinet till my aunt puts in a kitchenette, 2 chairs and just about enough room to move. Plus a tiny bathroom where I hit the tap with my hip and scald myself if I move suddenly each time the shower curtain wraps itself around me like an amourous octopus.
That’s without my easel, sewing machine, 1003 pastels, tubes of paint, brushes, pencils, suitcases full of felting wool, fabrics, wire and wiring tools… and that’s just the INSIDE stuff.
I’ve now found a long lost second cousin who said I can put my stuff in his store room (btw, a store room is like an extremely rare commodity here!) so I’ve got a place to take it… For storage only. Not as a working space…
Now I just have to organise how it gets to his house from Athens… will the movers organise it without additional cost? Will I get a small refund seeing as they won’t have to deliver to a house in Athens, unpack the pallet(s) and carry boxes up a flight of stairs? Will they deliver to the depot of the Paros freight company mom told me to use – cause of course he’s a second cousin of mine? (half the island probably is…)
My mind is boggling.
Houses… they’re so expensive. I don’t have enough to buy something which will suit me… cause I have needs. Special needs. I’m an artist. A crafter. A person of many creative
addictions interests. I’ve tried getting help but I just can’t stop. I need a workshop. A studio. A grooming area.
I need work space. For everything I like to do now and everything I might want to do in the future. Cause you can bet your sweet bippie that I’ll want to do more in the future. Its who I am.
So when I look at places for sale I look at space. And space is something houses on Paros just don’t have. As a rule. Most of the newer builds are apartments or what they call maisonettes – think townhouses… one floor or 2, 1 bedroom, maybe 2 in a pinch, balcony or verandahs, tiny yard if you’re really lucky, if you want a view you pay extra. Surrounded by neighbours. Most are either out of my price range or out of the question.
I can’t take an upstairs place and lug the old cupboard I’m bound to find up a flight of stairs so I can work on it on my porch. I can’t have a share ‘yard’ area if I plan to work outside with power tools. In fact, do I really want to share walls with people who may not appreciate my obsession with power tools? More to the point… would they?
So I listen to people who say “You have such a huge block of land (4 acres), why not build there? You can build a small place for xx euros (a number comfortably under my budget)”. And I think maybe I should just bite the bullet and find out about that. Then I think, ok, so the consensus is that building costs you approx 1000-1500 euro a square meter. Plus you need to pay for permits. And mechanics. And electricity, phone, water lines. And who knows what the hell else. Cause you know there is always something else.
I’m so scared that I’d end up with a half finished 1 bedroom house and no money.
Sure. I can do quite a bit of work on my own, and in fact I even look forward to working on my own space. I could, theoretically build a large room as a living/kitchen/studio space, a garage to use as a workshop/storage/grooming area, and a bedroom and bathroom. It’d be enough for me for a while. Later on maybe I could add another room for mom or a guest. Always assuming I had the money.
My aunt says that’s how they all did it. They lived on plain concrete till they could afford tiles. They started with one bedroom and added on. Back then. 30 years ago when everyone built without permits and council approval. It’s all so much harder now.
I’d be lost in the crap of building here never to be seen again… curled up in a fetal position in a sheltered area on a beach somewhere, rocking back and forth and repeating “All I wanted was a space to live and work”.
Now you understand why I need my regular coffee and company fix. Cause my brain is having a meltdown.
And my drycleaning is still in a bag which I take into town on a more or less daily basis. I take it for a walk, bring it back home and take it down again next time. Why? Cause the dry cleaner is way on the other side of Parikia and I am always held up halfway by coffee. And by the time I’m finished with coffee they’re closed.
I have the most social dry cleaning on the island.
Meet my dry cleaning, everyone else has. I bought a coat and a fun boho jacket from PAWS, the Paros animal welfare society. Support them and me in one go.
Anyway, I have tons more to say about living on Paros, but I’ll keep some anticipation going for my next post.
Till then, have fun! I know I am.