#17: Searching for Santorini

#17: Searching for Santorini

So y’all aren’t gonna judge me for the international locales of my stories, right? We got that all squared away with one of my last posts, I hope.

About eight years ago, I was FRIED. I mean, like if-I-were-a-Hollywood-actress-I’d-be-checking-into-a-facility-for-exhaustion fried. And I don’t mean “exhaustion” as a code for “I’m on crack,” by the way.

Never mind – just forget that whole metaphor. I just realized that my exhaustion was nothing like a Hollywood actress’s.

Anyway…

I had been traveling a lot for work and, within the span of a month, had three sets of company from the US coming over to see me, back to back. I’d also been pick-pocketed and had to get all new credit and ATM cards and such. And then there was an incident of, basically, begging for gas money at a gas station in Hungary I’ll tell you about later. Suffice it to say – FRIED.

I was going to work at a conference in Athens, Greece the following month, and my awesome friend Julie (a fellow southerner living abroad) cooked up a scheme for her and another friend to come and meet me in Athens when I was finished to take a vacation in Santorini, an island in the Mediterranean not too far away. The vacation sounded nice, but I was tired of traveling.

We met in the airport successfully (along with the Greek World Cup team, for whom everyone was cheering and waving banners) and boarded a small plane for Santorini (sadly, not with the Greek World Cup team).

I don’t like jello (can’t swallow it!), but I describe Santorini as having turned my brain to jello. Seriously, our first morning there, I remember walking out of our cave (the hotel room was a cave, for real) and it was AWESOME.

Blue sky, blue water, incredible view, friends who were totally relaxed with no agendas…a-ma-zing. Like one great big Zoloft, the sunshine, slow pace, and friends worked wonders on me. I had never before and have never since been so relaxed.

I find that now all vacations are, to their great misfortune, compared to Santorini. Can it turn my brain to jello?, I ask.

My friend Laura calls vacationing with children “parenting elsewhere.” My girls are little now, but maybe one day we can take a vacation as a family and it will actually feel like a vacation for me too. Not yet, though.

My husband and I have had two weekends away without the kids in the last three years, and they were great. But there’s something (for me) about being outdoors enjoying perfect temperatures and breezes, just reclining or lollygagging around all day. Our romantic getaways haven’t been quite so tropical – one drizzly weekend and one hot summer weekend, both not too far away from babies (for my sake, not the babies’!).

I do long for a real Santorini-type trip some day. For now, I’m working on finding that level of relaxation somewhere in my everyday life. Crazy, huh? Some lovely place where I can be outside and totally unplugged – from technology, the voice in my head, etc. It’s a little difficult to achieve at home, where to-do lists and my little people seem to clamor from every corner.

But I’ll search for it all the same, maybe in a hammock under some trees on our new (to us) country compound, or that screened-in porch we want to build some day. I may only get it in 15-minute sips, but I’ll take what I can get, baby.

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