Monday, August 27, 2007

Our Greece

Moms Flowers

Our radio wakes us up to NPR every morning. My eyes were filled with tears this morning before they were even open. Again. I've been following the tragedy of fires in Greece since I first heard on Friday night and I am shaken by the grief it has caused this beautiful place. My parents are in Greece right now visiting their home there and all the family so I was quick to check on them. They are fine as are all of the dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins that I have there. The closest fire to them out of nearly 200 burning now is probably still 40 miles away. So many of you have emailed me with concern, some knowing my parents are in Greece right now and some of you just knowing that I'm Greek and that I may have family there. I do, lots of family and, thank God, they are all safe. Thank you all so much for your concern, really so kind.

My mom always brings me her plants to care for while they are away, so I'm watering them and keeping them alive. I can't stop thinking about those who have nothing but a garden hose to save their homes, their families, their lives. I've been thinking about childhood summers spent in Greece kicking around the village roads with my cousins. My Yia-yia's geraniums spilled, no, poured, over the stone walls of the family home. Such beauty. The people, the landscape, the spirit of the entire country, just beautiful. My heart is breaking some today for it all. I'll keep watering and praying. Thank you for sending your prayers eastward and over the ocean too.

with love, Anna

8/29/07 - Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. I want to share this recent exchange with a reader in Athens:

Gia sou Anna Maria,

My name is Andromahi and I'm from Athens, Greece. I decided to email you when I read your article yesterday.

Your words touched me deeply. Even the title "Our Greece" shows how much you love this country.

It's very painful to see our country suffering so much. All these people who lost everything they had. Relatives, friends, houses, lands.
Entire villages and forests disappeared from the map in a single night.

We are watching on TV old people refusing to abandon their houses because their houses, simply, are their whole lives. Young people risking their lives to save people they don't even know.

This is the biggest tragedy for Greece since the 2nd World War. And everyone is wondering, "who is causing this tragedy?" and "why?"

And grief becomes anger...

Thank you for being so "Greek" Anna Maria. Thank you for praying for "Our Greece".

Andromahi

****

Gia sou Mahi, So nice to hear from you and how thoughtful that you wrote.

I wondered all my life about the phenomenon that my father must go through as an immigrant here in the states. My feeling was always that he never felt at home yet never felt away from either place. I've only been in Greece a handful of times yet always have a bit of my heart there due to having so much family there.

When this horrible occurrence of the fires began I felt it in a way that I cannot describe. I know all those faces that I see on television. Not in real life but in my heart. I know that spirit that helps a stranger. I have never felt love for Greece more. I have never felt more like it belongs some to me as I did when I watched it burn up.

Thank you for your words. My 9 year old son was almost in tears and said he wished he was there fighting for the land and that the people he saw could be here in safety. He was overcome with sadness for a place he has only seen as an 18 month old.
So my suspicion about my own feelings for Greece must be true. It is in the blood.

With prayers, be well, Panagia mazi sou, Anna Maria

34 comments:

  1. Prayers for you and your family.

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  2. So glad to hear that your family are safe. The news about the fires has been absolutely awful. I once spent a couple of weeks sailing around the Greek isles and have such great memories. Such a beautiful place.

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  3. Oh wow, I had no idea. I haven't turned on the tv or read the news since friday around noon. I love hearing you talk about it there, I plan on going sometime myself. My prayers are with them over there.

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  4. How horrible! We are thinking of you all, and hope for the safe keeping of your family and friends in Greece. I love your patio and the beautiful blue trim around your windows! How picturesque!
    Hugs, Laurie xo

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  5. I'm so glad that your family is safe. I was watching the footage on the news this morning and it was entirely upsetting. My thoughts are will all of them over there.

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  6. Praying for the beautiful country of Greece and its equally lovely people...
    so sorry Anna Maria

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  7. AM: My dad and yiayia leave Thursday. So awful to think this fire may have been intentional. cheryl

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  8. I was glued to the television during the reports on it this morning as Greece has always been among the very top places on my list of beautiful places to travel one day. Your family will definitely be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  9. Anna Maria,
    I share the frustration, anxiety and grief over the continued destruction of so much of that beautiful and historic country. I've been following reports about the fire. Volunteers are out there in the heat and smoke with fire buckets trying to protect the antiquities. What a loss to you, your family, the citizens of Greece and the world. Many countries have offered help. I hope they can help.

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  10. Anna, I am so happy that your family is safe! We have been to your country and fell in love with it! What a tragedy .....your country and it's people are in my prayers!!!

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  11. Just one more thing:D I LOVE your fabrics. I have been using them to make my granddaughter's school clothing! One print is cuter than the next......and putting them together is soooooooo easy with your coordinated pieces:D I visited the site you mentioned several posts ago and got so many cute ideas! Thank you for your sharing.....

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  12. Mary Ann/Ca8:44 AM

    Prayers for your family and friends in Greece and hugs too for those at home waiting and worrying. such a a senseless tragedy in one of the world's most beautiful places.

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  13. I lived in Greece for several years, mostly in Athens, but travelled a lot, and I have been so sad to hear what has been happening there, all the beautiful land, all the beautiful people... I am hoping they can get the fires out of control soon, and hope that all your family stays safe...

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  14. louise reynen10:52 AM

    Dear anna maria...

    ...you & all your beautiful family are held in my heart & prayers...

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  15. You and your family are in my thoughts -- for continued safety and for peace of mind.

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  16. jennifer Paganellli12:09 PM

    I'm so sorry and saying lots of prayers...It's Horrific
    what is occuring to that beautiful place...love, Jennifer

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  17. Hi from Istanbul:)
    Fortunately I found your blog and enough beautiful + creative. I just wanted to give you my prayers and hope that your family in safe.
    Kindest,
    Nihal

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  18. Thinking of you and keeping you and your precious family in my prayers...
    xo,
    Kim

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  19. I am glad you psoted about this, not many people are really "feeling" the impact this has on Greece. It is truly devestating.

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  20. I'm happy to hear that your famiy members are safe. I was away all weekend and did not see the reports until yesterday. It is heartbreaking! I heart goes out to all of the people of Greece.

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  21. This is truly tragic, it brought tears to my eyes hearing about it and the terrible footage of all the devastation and loss. I am glad to hear your family has been spared. Will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

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  22. Sugarshop (Dena)9:04 PM

    Oh Anna, it's wonderful to hear that your family is well and safe. Just after high school in '90 I went backpacking in Europe and my first stop was Greece and the Greek islands. While on the beautiful island Paros a fire broke out in the hills. It was scary and I can't imagine the sorrow of the people that live there! My thoughts are with all the families.

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  23. katarina4:30 AM

    It is terrible what is happening there! We also have so many friends in Greece that are safe and fine, but it's such a shame to see all that beautiful nature in flame. As we live only 10 hours by car far away from Greece, it's one of our favourite places for vacation, especially islands Thassos and Corfu.
    Many prayers from here too!!!
    ((hugs))
    Katarina

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  24. We know too well the anxiety and anguish that comes from fire... We pray for Greece and for families like your's who are waiting to hear good news.

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  25. I read the article and I am wiping away tears. I am very happy to hear that your family is okay. It is heartbreaking to hear that whole families have been killed in the fire. The ending of a lineage is a tragedy. I pray that the fires die down soon.

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  26. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Continued prayers for your mother and father, your extended family and for all of Greece.

    Books (a "knitwit" friend of your moms)

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  27. Woke up to the awful news on NPR, too. Having just visited the country, Evia in particular, I am so sad to hear of the suffering. May God bless the land and the people with some much needed rain. Lord help those poor folks; I thought we had it bad here in Middle Tennessee.

    God bless...

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  28. There are some girls in Houston trying to help. Look at www.abc13.com and look for the story on the greek fires. I think there should be a link somewhere.

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  29. Maria Helena2:04 PM

    Hi Anna Maria,

    I'm from Lisbon/Portugal and I love Greece since I was there on holidays some years ago. It´s a beautiful country/people and I want to go there again. I sincerely hope that those terrific fires finish quickly. Two years ago, we had the same problem in Portugal. My prayers are with you.

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  30. I'm so glad to hear your family is safe. My Father was also an immigrant here as he was born in Pireaus. My Yia-yia in Gytheion. I lived in Athens for a couple of years, a few years ago. My heart broke when I heard of the fires and I feel so helpless here - it's really so difficult for me to even comment on this topic. You shared your memories of Greece so eloquently and so informatively. Evhareesto para para polee. Thank you so very much for this post.

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  31. I spent 3 months in Greece (Kavala) as a 16 year old exchange student and I still have a piece of my heart there. I've been back once to visit the family I stayed with and I don't think you can ever visit Greece and not be touched by the passion, generousity and love that surrounds you there. I'm thinking of you and your family Anna.

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