Today is my last day in Greece.
It's a painful sentence for me to write (or think about). Every summer, it's the same story. Get excited about going home to Greece for the summer, and get literal nightmares as the days grow nearer and nearer to the time where I am to go back to the UK to continue my studies. I've heard of people who get 'work dreams' where they find themselves in an unpleasant situation at an old or current job. There are also school dreams where you have a nightmare over being back to school. Those are real, of course. But have you ever heard of Airport Dreams?
That's what I get. And it happens everytime, usually around September when I'm about to go back. I stand anxiously by the airport security gates and I'm sad over leaving. But I go on and cross those gates anyway. Then I wake up under the Greek summer sky and I feel glad that it was just nightmare, even though I know that in a few days it'll be reality.
This blog post is no dream. I won't wake up to feel glad. Tomorrow, I'll cross the borders for real, and I'll fly over to the UK. Honestly, I don't really want to. I've been to the UK for eleven long years. It's not a bad country but I'm tired of being away from home. Crete is an island filled with my childhood memories. Being away is simply too painful. The UK isn't a bad country, but it's a different country. Everything about it is different. Even the air.
When I was a kid, my Mom split our family apart and took me to the UK when I was just twelve. At that age, I made a massive education system switch, and I'm still grasping the severity of it. In 2013, I was twelve, and I started English high school... without knowing English. The best part? English high school concludes when you're 16. That means that I had just three years to learn English, get accustomed to the education system, and pass GCSE exams.
I couldn't manage something like that of course. That's just impossible. It took years and years to catch up. It doesn't matter how because that's not important anymore. What's important is how I worked hard and succeeded. I was successful enough to qualify for a university degree in Computer Science, which I'll start working towards this year. That's where I am now, even if it's not really where I want to be.
But you can't always do what you want. That isn't how the world works. If I allowed myself to do what I wanted, I'd cancel my tickets tomorrow and call my days in the UK officially over. But that would mean flushing down all my hard work down the toilet. All the credits and diplomas I got in the UK mean nothing to the Greek education system. I won't be able to do a degree in a university here. I'd have to start from scratch, and that means another big education system switch. There's only so many of those I can take.
My goal is to get that UK university degree and use it to find work in Greece. That's of course valid, and it's what I must do. It means another four years in the UK, which is a darn long time. But I've got to make my heart into stone and do it.
Yesterday, I spent the day just aimlessly wandering the shoreline of Crete. I just followed the sand and went from shore to shore, from beach to beach with just my feet. All places I'd visit as a kid with my parents. Just the mere salty air, and the whoosh of the waves caused an overwhelming sense of sadness inside of me. If it weren't for all the other people around me, I'd probably cry. I already was but I held it back so nobody could tell.
I even made it to a port where a friend and I used to fish in back in elementary school.
This place is enchanted with so many memories. My friend and I would go to a nearby fishing shop and we'd buy a matchbox-sized pack of worms. Then we'd tie the worms to simple thread and fish whatever we could out the sea. Then we'd hide the pack behind those rocks and we'd use it for days on end.
My little voyage yesterday was rich with flashbacks of those days. It was a wonderful time where I could embrace all my emotions. I'm sure I'll do it next year when I once again return to this place.
I know where I'm supposed to be right now and Greece isn't it. At the same time, life is too short to spend it in a place you don't want to be in. I thought about that a lot. Life and the world itself has existed for millions of years. But all of us only get about eighty to ninety years to be in it. That's minuscule. At the grand scale of things, it's like a flash. We only exist for a fleeting but bright moment. And that moment is a gift. My life is a gift too. I'm lucky to be here, and as a human of all things. I could have been a cockroach or a worm. Then I wouldn't be smart enough to write stories. And that would really, really suck.
That is to say, I've got to go back as soon as possible. I know the UK is a place of ample opportunity and money (at least compared to Greece) but what good is all of that if you're unhappy? I never cared for large sums of money or glorious careers. I just want to be happy. And the UK doesn't bring me happiness. Being in a village in the middle of nowhere, however, makes me feel happy. It's home and it's as simple as that.
It's a long blog post but I wanted to collect my thoughts like this. I don't know if anyone read all the way through, but thank if you did. I'll be okay, lol. I'm always really emotional in my last day. I'll go tomorrow like I always have done in the last eleven years and then next summer, I'll return. Until then, I'll just wait.