Yes folks, it’s official. We have left Freiburg and now live in Greece! It’s been a long time coming, but we’re so happy to have taken this major step. The past weeks have been rather tiring and hectic, but all the effort was worth it. I was especially busy because I needed to fly back to the UK to organise my things there and bring the most important bits and pieces back with me.
For the last two or so years the majority of my worldly belongings have been slowly rotting away in my grandma’s garage and my parents’ cellar. It was about time to see how much of it was salvagable. First stop was my grandma’s garage:
To my surprise, most of the things that I wanted to keep were fine. A little dusty and a bit damp, but in not too bad condition. An old cupboard and a solid beach wardrobe had become damp and mouldy and we had to throw them away, which was quite a liberating feeling to be honest, but that’s about it. It makes you realise just how much junk you can build up over time, and how much of it you can actually live without.
We had to hire a van to take all of the stuff out (thanks again dad for your help) and make a trip to the rubbish dump before bringing the good stuff home. My mum was delighted (said with an ever-so-slightly ironic tone here) to see us emptying even more things into the space normally occupied by her beloved car. That’s when the fun really began…
After three days of sorting, throwing things out and lugging everything up into the spare bedroom, my things were finally ready to be shipped to Greece. But that would have to wait. First I had to fly back to Germany and sort out everything there. So I said goodbye to England’s green and pleasant land:
and was soon touching back down in Germany (a funny angle I know, but I assure you we were touching down):
Where this awaited me:
Even in our tiny appartment we’d managed to collect an enormous amount of stuff – 80% of which consisted of Vicky’s books, much to my delight as I had to carry them down three flights of stairs when the removal guy came (more on him below!)
We spent the next three days tidying, dismantling furniture and picking the masses of bluetack off the wall (which took about four hours – luckily I had the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy audiobook to keep me company). When it all got too much, Vicky provided me with a friendly reminder – not that I needed it after the past few days!
It was amazing how much delight Vicky seemed to take when cleaning the kitchen. Better her than me I thought. I’m more of a dismantling furniture type of guy…
As things slowly started to come together, we began taking everything down the stairs…
before taking a much needed rest, which was when we realised just how dirty our little home had become.
After a rather short night’s sleep (a couple of beers with friends turned into a couple more and a long night out on the town), I woke to the sound of our alarm clock – at 6:30am. We still had a lot to do before the haulage company arrived at 8:30 and my job was to break down the bikes and pack them for the long journey ahead. Rather groggy, I headed down to the cellar and started work. Note to self – do not do this sort of thing with a hangover and only a few hours sleep. It hurts.
But in spite of it all I managed to wrap everything up in time for Mr Pagonis’ (which, FYI, means Peacock in Greek) arrival. He was really like something out of a cartoon – the perfect Greek sterotype. Within minutes he’d told me his life story, at full volume no less, which resulted in various neighbours poking their heads out of the window. Shouting about so early in the morning is just not done in sleepy little Freiburg!
We’d organised a team of faithful helpers to lend a few hands in return for some breakfast (thanks again Kyriakos, Mark and Jochen) and within no time our new best friend’s banged up van was full to the brim:
All we had to do then was say goodbye to our things and hope that they made it to Greece in one piece. I have to admit that I was doubtful given the condition of the van…
Time for just one more photograph with Mr Pagonis (who is apparently number 1):
before spending the next six or so hours sweeping, mopping and disinfecting our flat (I was starting to get pretty tired of all this). That evening we’d organised a little leaving party with friends, and it was then that it really hit home that we were leaving some great people behind us.
A couple of days later, as our plane slowly pulled skywards out of Frankfurt airport, both of us had a little lump in our throats.
And that lump was still there when we dropped down into Athens. What awaited us in Greece? Where would we set up our project? How would we get an income? I won’t lie, making big decisions like this are tough, but they are also really exciting. Where will we be in a year? Only time will tell…