one step forward, then bashed back into my box

I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be easy, but seriously!

I managed to get a few things done this last week and even managed to start working out at the gym. Its a whole new world here (or a step backwards) as I find I have to get used to working out with machines again. The group classes here are nothing like they were in Australia. Still… its a gym and I love weights so I’ll make it work. I mean I have to. I paid twice what I paid in Australia for this gym membership!

My stuff arrived from Aus and was finally released from customs. I only had to pay another $1400 on top of the almost $5000 I’d paid to get it here in the first place.

I had it delivered to my cousin’s house where he’s very kindly offered storage space in his basement. I spent an entire day opening boxes, removing what I wanted and what I thought I could use and fit here, now, and repacking and restacking boxes. At least now I have my own bedding, towels and winter clothes. I’m sleeping with my lovely soft doonas and feel so much better. I even hung my gorgeous tea bag dress on the wall so I have something pretty to look at.

I’m still sorting out stuff, finding places to put things, trying to make the space here work for me in terms of living and creating, but I’m getting there.

What I did manage to get done is find record of my old greek drivers license. All I had to do was pay (obviously) to get the paperwork done to apply for a re-issue of the old one. Which is great cause I got a letter from Vic Roads telling me they needed an eye test (like, didn’t I do one there when I applied to change from a Tasmanian to a Victorian license?) and opthalmologist report by Feb 14 (happy valentines day) or they’d suspend my license. Given I only got the letter last Thursday and they haven’t replied to my online query re extending the deadline and would they accept a greek opthalmologist report, I’m guessing I can no longer drive in Australia from tomorrow.


I went to the medical centre to get a paper from the doctor telling the gym that I won’t drop dead while working out. Apparently I have to see a heart specialist for that. How much will that cost? Who knows. I’ll just keep turning up at the gym till they ban me if I don’t get the paper.

I bought a microwave, a toaster, a wooden spoon and few other little bits and pieces I needed in the kitchen. I really wish I’d packed my beautiful wooden chopping boards… And I made rizogalo and pumpkin soup yesterday. Yum.

I went to the only place on Paros which sells asian suppies and bought stuff to make a green curry and paid 32 euros for things I’d have paid $20 for in Australia… You know, extravagant stuff like green curry paste, soy sauce, egg noodles, basmati rice and other such exotic and wildly expensive luxuries.

I became disillusioned at the money offered for work here as opposed to what it costs to live. For instance I found out that its common for jobs to pay approximately the price of a cup of coffee per hour. Now go work that out. You have to work over 3 hours for a pizza…

In order to make ends meet you either have to work all the time, or eat very little. Forget having a phone or internet or power. How do people do it?

I went and asked about getting a permit to sell my own stuff in a stall over summer. I mean, I’ve done markets many times in Australia, how hard can it be?

The answer is: very hard.

Apparently this is the procedure:

1. I have to get in touch with the Ministry of Finance and Development (growth?) in Athens in order obtain a certificate of handicraft ability (or whatever that translates to properly). Whatever the correct translation would be, what it means in essence is that I need to get my degree from Australia recognised in Greece (obviously at some cost), which might necessitate I do some kind of exam in Athens (or, wonders never cease, maybe on skype) to prove that I’m an artist and make/do the things I claim to do…


2. Get a tax number (got that)

3. Register a business (which makes sense since I’d have to give invoices for the things I sell …)* – at a market stall? Still… ok, go with that…

4. Apply to the local council for a permit for ‘outdoor sales’, which needs to go though the local committee (which includes the store owners committee). Applications for those licenses must be submitted from October till January so I’m already too late for 2019. Its illegal to just set up and sell, I’d have my stuff confiscated if I didn’t have a license and face hefty fines.

However, even if I do all the above, I have a 95% chance of getting knocked back. They just don’t give licenses for that kind of thing cause shop owners don’t want the competition.

They only granted ONE artist license this year and that was for a portrait artist working on the spot.

*If I get the business registration, I can sell to shops or through shops but I need a business number in order to give out invoices. Of course then I have to pay 185 euro a month for insurance plus at least 50 a month to an accountant to keep my books… whether I’m working or not.

I feel like one of those moles you wack at fairground games. Seriously.

So now I’m back to polishing up my resume in order to apply for a job to work for a coffee an hour. If I’m lucky I might even get a job that pays for 1.25 coffees and hour! Yippee!


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