Greece, Travel and Adventure

Doing Things the Greek Way

[Alternative titles: “I Think I Overpacked”, “Hi, I’m Debby and I Do Not Speak Greek” and “Finally, the Cow Stopped Mooing”]

I hate to skip over days (especially ones that included tours of Mycenae), but I made it to Costa Navarino and am just bubbling with excitement and want to tell you all about it.

Walking through Plaka one last time this morning, I realized just how much I had come to think of this city as a new “home”. I waved good-morning to the taverna owners I knew by name, took a shortcut past a busy street, and made one last loop around the agora. I knew the route. Things were beginning to feel normal. Faces were starting to look familiar. And then– whooosh– I was off to the opposite side of the country.

Sakis, the wonderful taxi driver, picked me up in the early afternoon just as it started to rain. We had a nice conversation, but I can’t remember two words. My stomach was twisting itself into knots; my body registered my anxiety, even if my mood didn’t. I still knew very little about what I was getting into. No news had come my way about pick-up from the airport, housing, etc. I had simply convinced myself that I could be chill about it and do it “the Greek way”.

I had gained a measured amount of assurance via another means, though. Another intern on the Costa Navarino staff, Thomas, contacted me, welcoming me to Greece and letting me know he was a college student at the University of Portland! He arrived a week ago and had to deal with a lot of messy details. He gave me a better scope of what the job was going to entail. We emailed several times these last few days and I was looking forward to meeting him.

I checked in at the airport, passing off my 10-ton golf case a the baggage drop, then set off to my terminal. Within minutes of sitting down at the gate, I overheard some men talking about golf! I turned to look and they caught my glance.

“Do you like golf?” they asked.

“Yes, very much! Are you all going to Costa Navarino?”

“Yes, yes. We are going to play in a golf tournament there, you know?”

I grinned, “The big Pro-Am? Yes, I’ll be working at the golf course this summer. I start tomorrow!”

They were thrilled to learn that I played golf. They were from Cyprus and spoke highly of their courses back home, even showing me pictures online. The flight began to board, so we parted, but not before they invited me to dinner with them that night. I laughed and told them that I would probably be busy, but I would see them at the course in the morning.

Now, I was supposed to call someone when I was leaving Athens to get information about travel arrangements to the resort. I tried dialing– and the number was disconnected. Instead of getting panicky, I said a quick prayer and left it in the Lord’s hands. The flight was short, but left me enough time to start formulating worst-case-scenario plans. Immediately upon arriving at the airport in Kalamata, the group of golfers engaged me again and asked if I would be joining them on the resort’s shuttle bus.

“Well, absolutely!” I replied, thankful for God’s providence.

The bus ride was nearly an hour, winding through the hills (they looked more like mountains to me) and olive groves. We passed a few small towns and raggedy gas stations before coming over one last peak… and there it was. Costa Navarino. The resort sprawled out all along the coastline. Tan buildings accented with stone and marble, all with marvelous views of the sea. We passed a bit of the golf course and it looked like it was in great shape.

Once again, I got nervous, wondering how exactly I was going to figure out where to go. I stepped off the bus and there, pulling out the luggage from underneath, was Thomas! He spoke with one of the other staff-members in Greek before sending me a smile and coming over to say a quick hello (without a trace of an accent). He asked me to wait while he finished up with the baggage, with the assurance that he would get me taken care of.

We started with the paperwork in the Human Resources office. Then met some of the staff, followed by a brief drive around the course. One teebox is practically on the beach! Thomas has played the course numerous times, so he knew all its ins and outs. At last, we went back to the Clubhouse and I got set up with my uniform and a schedule for the week (7 am tomorrow– yahoo!). It was all a bit of a whirlwind. Thomas was exhausted after working several 10+ hour days and I still had to find my housing, so we parted ways.

Paris, from the HR department, had my room all taken care of. We drove about 10 minutes back down the road to Gialova, where an old hotel had been purchased by the resort and renovated into apartments for the “trainees”. It was not much to look at, but Paris assured me that the inside was much nicer. I still don’t know about that. There were plenty of rooms available so he asked what I wanted.

“Anything with a view!” I answered.

He smiled and carried my bags upstairs. We looked at a room facing the ocean and the view was lovely. The walls were blank and the rooms were cramped, but there was a tiny kitchen and a 10-inch television. At that moment, one of the housekeepers happened to walk by and Paris conversed with her a moment.

“Come here,” he said, motioning me back into the hallway. We walked all the way to the end. The room was covered in paintings (I later realized it was just thick, painted styrofoam, but it was a lot more colorful!) and had a much better layout. The kitchen had windows that opened up over a small porch, which was accessed through one of the two bedrooms. I followed Paris to the porch rather skeptically, wondering how this view could compete with the other. I stepped outside and my heart leapt! It was on the very corner of the house, so there was a much wider view: the ocean, the hills, the farms and groves. It was stunning! So now I have my view AND a porch AND colorful walls. I’m not certain when I will get roommates, but I’m awful content for now.

On a random note, there are cows in a few of the fields behind my apartment. And there’s one cow that is so loud! He just keeps on moo-ing! Haha. I don’t think I’m in the States anymore.

The Lord is SO GOOD. It’s days like these where it is easy to feel His love. Things could have been stressful or testy, but instead everything worked out without a hitch. Life’s not always like that, but it sure made this transition easy. I feel quite blessed!


3 thoughts on “Doing Things the Greek Way”

  1. Sounds like you have the Chick-Fil-A mascot in your back yard. Glad for the Lord’s provision for your trip. Have a great start tomorrow!
    Love, Dad

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