This article was first published in Iamgreek.nl.
You can find this acticle in Greek here.
How beautiful and – fortunately – familiar emotion! Once more I will have visitors from Greece. At an earlier time I had the belief that migration is synonym to isolation or estrangement. Fortunately life – at least until now – has proven to me that people who love each other may take their time (and sometimes this time is much) but finally they find ways and places to meet.
Every time that I am expecting someone I use to follow a specific procedure of doing things, which seems more like a rite. I get everything prepared around me and inside me in order to welcome my guests in the best way. Likewise today I woke up early in the morning and started my usual “habit”. I cleaned the house, I washed some clothes, I bought the needed groceries for the upcoming days. I know that tomorrow morning I will be in the mood to cook a nice meal while every once in a while I will be checking my watch to see if my friends landed and what time should I leave the house to be on time to the train station. This “sweet” expectation always combined with a small change in my routine makes me wishing more and more to be a good hostess who will try – as much as she can – to make her guests have the time of their lives.
I have been thinking many times that this specific personal need is a part of an internal compulsion. I feel that my friends MUST have a good time since they decided to come to see me no matter in what phase my life is. Tiring? Yes, absolutely. Sometimes even exhausting. And yet I prefer to act in this way. Maybe I want so much to make my friends feel that we have such a good time – as good as we had back in Greece – that I do my best to avoid this hopeless discussion which always starts with the question: “When we will go back to Greece for good?” and ends more or less with a “grey”, confusing “I don’t know”. And then I usually think why should I try in a compulsive way to keep a light atmosphere when we will end up talking – again- about the same things? Was Heraclitus right? The greatest loss is the one of our fatherland? Will we ever stop feeling this loss and talking about it? Many times I thought that if fatherland is important because of the people that we left behind, then maybe we will never stop feeling loss.
But that’s why visits of beloved people are so important to our lives. They make us experience less pain and nostalgia regarding our fatherland. Yes, fatherland is going to stay where it is, but thanks God that people can go wherever they wish. In this way they stop experiencing –even temporarily- the sense of distance and –why not? – of loneliness. But let’s not forget that motility is not a permanent solution no matter how intense or long could be. Whether fatherland is the place where our people live, then perhaps new important people in our lives could be a new fatherland? This question could be answered in a better way if we think that many immigrants – including the one that writes this post right now – don’t have the need to go back to their fatherland as they already know that there is nothing for them there. The people that constitute the fatherland that we knew are spread in various places in this planet and they try to start a new life, in other words to create a new fatherland. So without all these people how the return in our fatherland could be desirable? Every fatherland is empty without the people who constitute it. So, an empty fatherland is equal to soil, it doesn’t exist, it is not a “fatherland” anymore. That’s why the answer to the above question could be only “yes”. Yes, new important people in our lives could be a new fatherland. We can always feel happy when old friends come to visit us and we have the chance to remember good old times. But the quicker we understand that making new strong relationships is a way to remain stable and peaceful in our new lives, the easier we will learn how to live far from the place we believed that we will live forever. Then maybe our previous decision to go would seem less needed and more conscious.