I haven’t written anything personal here for a very long time. There are a few reasons for this that I am going to share with you today. I actually know quite a few regular readers of this blog personally and consider them to be friends. There are some of you that I don’t know in real life but I have grown to like and respect. And there are others, not many but enough, who have caused real pain to me, even though it has been only through words. I have not given in to them but they have affected the way I post and the way I engage in discussions. It has come time again to take back my blog and to reconnect.
I am going through a very difficult period in my personal life. The love of my life lost his job six months ago because of the financial crisis and has been unable to find another one. This is not unique and I am not looking for sympathy. Everyone I know here in Greece is suffering. Pretty much all my friends here are losing their jobs or being forced to take pay cuts. We are, in fact, luckier than most. He at least got severance pay from his old company even though they are on the brink of disaster themselves. His former boss, who has become a good friend over the years, is facing bankruptcy but is one of the most honorable people I know. We are eternally thankful for that.
The problem for us at the moment is that the love of my life is too experienced, too senior for companies to offer him the work that they have. In these times of financial crisis, they are looking for young people who can work long hours (and by that I mean 80+ hours a week) for wages that are barely able to cover one persons living expenses. Only youngsters who live with their parents can really manage with the kind of pay they are offering.
This is not the first time either of us have been poor but it is the first time that we are losing hope of being able to sustain our life here. We are living on the bare minimum and please believe me, we are doing everything we can to minimise our expenses. I think all of us are sick of the sight of vegetable and lentil soup. The kid is fourteen and needs to eat healthily. We grown-ups may be able to skip a meal or two but he cannot and should not.
We are both desperately looking for work. We have asked everyone we can think of, sent CV’s, followed up every contact however remote the possibility of work might be. And we have come up with nothing. So now comes the big heartbreaker. We might have to leave the country and go back to Britain. It is not just about leaving a country, it’s about leaving a life we have built here. Our almost sixteen years together was built here. The kid was born here and knows no other place. Our friends are here. Our love is here. It feels completely devastating to even have to contemplate leaving. I am close to tears just writing it down.
I know some of you can relate to this feeling. This foreign country that has become your home. That has sneaked its way into your heart. That you can’t imagine having to let go. It’s not just about the weather, or the beauty, or the superficial things that people think you mean when you move to a place like Greece. This country may not be mine but it has adopted me and I have grown to love it in a way that is more meaningful than just loving a place because you were born in it. I chose it. Unlike a place you are just stuck with by birth.
I am sometimes infuriated by Greece. Frustrated by the complications of living here. Angry at the corruption and fraud that is a reality of life here. I am furious at the injustice that is perpetrated by the authorities here. And I haven’t been shy in saying so. But what people often don’t realise is the connection I have here. The fact is that I care about this place and want to stay. Desperately.
So. I realise that most people are in the same situation as me. Looking for work and finding it increasingly difficult to survive day to day. But I just want to put this out there. If anyone has any ideas, contacts or actual work offers, please let me know. I am looking for writing jobs specifically but will consider anything at all. The love of my life has 30 years of experience in the creative field (photography, graphic design, web design etc) but he is open to any opportunities too. Please email privately with any ideas.
Thanks for listening. It helps to write it down.