I feel the warmth of the sun on my face.
The sunrays seem to be peeking through the wooden shutters, trying to make their way into our bedroom.
“Let there be light!”, it appears to be what the star is telling me in a soft and gentle tone.
It wakes me up before the alarm goes off.
As I stare at the ceiling a kind of peacefulness overcomes me.
My wife is still sound asleep, looking very serene so, I let her be.
I start to listen to some music on my headphones and go about my morning ritual.
Standing at the veranda I see one of our neighbours, a nice old lady, at the building across from ours, watering the plants.
I wave and say in Greek, “Kaliméra! Óla kalá?” (“Good morning! Everything ok?”).
She answers back with a huge smile on her face.
I fondly recall the conversations between her and my wife over the past months, almost every single evening, from the veranda.
She does not speak a word of English.
We are still learning the basics of Greek.
So, instead of ideas and point of views we are actually talking about two persons exchanging pleasantries and interacting at a very basic level.
Thing is I find the effort, the attempt to overcome the language barrier, to be more meaningful than some conversations being held in your native tongue.
Often people open their mouths, words come out and, at first glance, it looks like they are engaged in a relevant conversation. But, unfortunately, in some cases it is nothing more than a huge waste of time.
That is not the case here. A bridge is being built.
“Bom dia!” (“Good morning!”).
My wife greets me in Portuguese and gives me a hug and a kiss (after having her coffee first, I must say!).
We finish breakfast, prepare lunch and head to work.
It’s going to be a very warm day, we can tell.
A hot breeze from the Aegean sea engulfs us as we get out of our building.
Walking down the street, we greet another friendly face.
This is a person that has distinctly seen too many winters.
This is someone that, I believe, should be enjoying his golden years sharing amazing stories. Someone that, gracefully, should be giving us all greater knowledge and understanding of life due to his experience.
He stands at the corner of our street instead, waiting for gentle souls. He is not the only one, regrettably.
Our society, nowadays, devalues the elderly. It’s a global issue.
We share our lunch and ponder about mankind and what it must be perceived as a low point.
He wishes us a great day.
This person has gained our affection and respect due to his perseverance and resilience.
We’ll get together tomorrow.
END OF PART I