This month we hear from Roz Shirkie who has a longstanding relationship with Aegina. Read on to find out how her family grew to love the island and have made it their special place.
My grandfather first came to Aegina in the 1950’s, it was a holiday place for him while he worked in Athens at the British Embassy, in turn my father lived in Athens when he was a young man, where he met his first love, made life long friends, learnt to speak Greek and had his heartbroken for the first time.
Aegina was his special place “Why would anyone ever go anywhere else?”. I have very clear memories of the first time me and my sisters visited Athens and Aegina, back in the 70’s, to spend a month with our grandfather. It was an adventure at the time, we travelled from London across Europe by bus.
Aegina then became the place that me and my sisters would bring our children every year for summer holidays, we became such a large group at one point that we would joke the island would tip over as we disembarked from the ferry with our traveling circus of kids, their friends, and eventually boyfriends and girlfriends. Such an easy place, tavernas were made for us. It was at the beaches of Agia Marina that we taught our children to swim, snorkel, jump off rocks and get with the fishes.
So, it was natural for me and my husband to settle here, it has always felt like a home from home, although my father never knew that we got our “little Greek Island house” I know he would have approved.
Of course there is the sea to look at from our house, it is a continuous background to the day, with the ferries and sailboats on the horizon. It’s peaceful here, but not too much, there are kids on bikes, neighbors that chat from houses across the road and the seasonal rhythm of things to be harvested, pistachios in August, olives in November and what seems to be a continuous supply of lemons. There is also a sub-culture of island cats whose resilience never ceases to amaze me.
Swimming is a big deal, to be done everyday, if I miss one – I feel a bit annoyed with myself. I like to day dream, I have been trying to get a Greek historical timeline in my head, and like to imagine ancient Greeks walking up the well worn road past my house, and hoping that perhaps one of them dropped a silver stater turtle, a coin from the 6th century BC that was made here on Aegina. I have been told that the best time to find these is when it has rained. No luck so far, but you never know.
Like for most people life isn’t always incredibly exciting and during the very hot summer months it can sometimes feel like survival, but, there is always something to do, look at, or eat. We have met interesting people, made friends and have been welcomed into our community by our Greek neighbors, who have opened up their homes and shared with us things about life here of which we didn’t have a clue.
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