Back in the Pelio
Spending time in Bulgaria with friends and both girls was the perfect break from the disaster zone. Sofia was as charming as ever with lots of new bakeries, coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants to explore. We stayed in a lovely AirBnB next to a park filled with dog walkers on weekday mornings and families on the weekends. As with all European parks, there are restaurants next to the playgrounds so parents can enjoy lunch while kids play—brilliant. The Thompson family feels very much at home in Bulgaria. There were plenty of moments when I easily imagined that this was our life, the daily rhythm felt so natural, it would almost be effortless to make the transition. Maybe? It is nice walking to a yarn store, visiting a museum, and meeting friends for dinner. Sofia is a very livable city.
After three weeks it was time to return to the Pelio, so we could move into the Argalasti rental house by the 1st. I was nervous about how I was going to feel. On the first day, we went to Koukouleika to get our stuff stored in the neighbor’s house. There isn’t much, actually almost all of it, besides bikes, fit into our car. We decided not to check on the house that day because we would come back on Sunday and start working
We easily settled into the rental house which is quite lovely with a roomy kitchen, lots of light, and great views of both the sunrise and sunset. There are two nice sized bedrooms so room for visitors, just saying. Our morning routine is the same as anywhere we call home which starts with walking the dogs. The best part is there are lots of new trails to explore with each one prettier than the next winding through olive groves with expansive views of the Pagasetic Gulf. In the evenings it is a 15-minute walk into the center to buy dinner groceries.
On Sunday as I walked down the leafy dirt road to the Koukouleika house, I was reminded as to why I find it so charming—just a humble house nestled amongst the olive trees. My heart broke to see it in its current condition, tears ran down my cheeks as Jonathan and I started mucking dirt from the interior. Feeling overwhelmed, I went on the front porch and had a good cry while Jonathan kept working. Twenty minutes later, I rejoined him for an hour before we went to Ares’ house for lunch. Jonathan went back to the house and I went to Koukouleika to catch up on the news. Theo told me that a formal complaint was made at the Volos public works department about the drainage issue. He was optimistic that the government might actually do something since they came and inspected the area right away. If they did expand the drainage it would make a big difference. We will wait and see.
For now, we have a comfortable home in a lovely part of the world. We will slowly decide how much time and money we want to invest into the Koukouleika house. No matter what, we will keep it as a simple summer vacation house. The big question once again is where do we want to be long term? The flood washed away our certainty that it was Koukouleika.
As we go along with our lives faced with this decision, I am constantly reminded that there are thousands of people in the world deciding to stay or leave their homes under horrific circumstances. My heart breaks for all the trauma and grief.
Again, thank you to all the lovely readers—family and friends in far away places. As I write this I feel your love and concern.
With deep appreciation, and love, Wendy