I'm consolidating July 7th and 8th due to the fact they're basically the same thing, and also, wifi issues caused a backlog. Sorry.
On the 7th, I went out for the first time in two years on Stamatis' boat. Stamatis is Tassos of Thassos' father and the epitome of "Greek Fisherman." His hands are strong and rough as sandpaper, his skin is golden, his eyes are always watching the sea, and he can lift a 200 pound net, no problem. He seems rough and weathered, and then he smiles and says, "Come on, guys!" with his Greek accent, and we all laugh and join in. He's the sweetest man, but I wouldn't want to be on the other side of his fishing knife.
That first day, we went to Giola, a "blue hole" that's a big tourist attraction these days. We rolled in via sea at 6:30pm, and there was still a crowd of people. Unfortunately, I left my camera on the boat so I didn't get a photo of me jumping from the highest ledge, but you just have to trust that I did it.
Just being back on the boat, with drinks and music and the feeling that we're traveling the same coves St. Paul may have sailed is just an amazing feeling.
I also, ironically, gave tourists directions to Giola earlier that day, and the fact that they asked if I spoke English and were so grateful for my help was also a joyful moment.
Then yesterday, July 8th, was full of joyful moments, but several of them took place back on Stamatis' boat. A group of us went with him to put out (and pull in) the fishing nets. We departed at 5:30pm and returned at 10:30pm. We caught the rising full moon, we swam, we drank vodka and ate pretzel sticks, and we watched Stamatis do his masterful work.
Possibly the BEST part of that experience, however, was being utilized as a translator. A TRANSLATOR! Can you imagine!? I wanted to tell my friend Demetri, who was our unofficial translator two years ago, that I--Tzeni--was translating George the Painter and Stamatis' Greek for the group. It was the coolest thing I've ever done.
And the final joyful moment was at dinner, i.e., 11:30pm, when I was walking back to my table full of food and heard two people say, "Jenny? Is that you?"
It turned out to be my neighbors from up the road when I stayed there this time last year. They're back on Thassos and they came to Archodissa because they remembered how much I loved it. I WAS SO DELIGHTED TO SEE THEM! We chatted for over two hours, and I love that we can have these reunions.
PS. I didn't even mention that I bought half of everything sold in Limenaria today, including more jewelry from Molly's Art on Thassos, which is the best store I've ever visited for handmade items. Molly (the owner) remembered me from the last two years, and this time we spoke almost exclusively Greek. I asked if she remembered when I first came in the store and spoke only two words, and she said yes, and I explained that the phrase I sounded out--which is still written on the cards that hold her bracelets--that would later become my tattoo.
This store has a very special place in my heart.