I had been to the Koukoulaika house two times before we moved here. Jonathan, however, hadn’t even seen it, except in photos. I was very nervous about what he would think.
After a seven-hour drive through the wee hours of the morning, we began the descent from the Southern Pilio plateau at around 9 a.m., catching glimpses of the Pagasetic Gulf as we went. The sea here is more like an expansive lake than an ocean—very calm and clear, with a distinctive turquoise hue. There are a couple of villages that line the coastline, but mostly the landscape consists of olive groves all the way down to the water’s edge. As the windy road finally neared the coastline, I let out the long breath I’d been holding since we left Sofia—we had almost arrived at our new home.
The road down to the house, off the two-lane highway, is only about 100 yards long, but it is very steep and narrow—more path than road. Before attempting to drive down we got out to scope out the situation. It was going to be tight and required cutting down a few thick olive branches to make sure that the moving van would make it.
Finally Jonathan got his first view of the house. It had sat empty for two months since I had spent 10 days cleaning, painting, and raking the muck out of the yard—it was a mess. The weeds were waist-high, the eight geranium plants were almost dead, and a solid four inches of olive tree leaves covered the patio. I eyed Jonathan nervously, expecting to get his “what-the-hell-did-you-get-us-into” look, but instead, in a very steady Jonathan kind of way, he sized up the situation and got to work.
First unloading the van, then demolition work in the kitchen so we could install a new stove, then light fixtures, Ikea furniture to assemble, a new screen on the front door—Jonathan, thank goodness, knows how to do it all. I swept, raked, weed whacked, repotted the dying geraniums, and within a few days, the house started to resemble home.
Here is a picture taken on July 19th. This humble abode has come a very long way.