A Ryanair flight transferring ambitious Greeks, at their mid twenties, from London to Athens. In-between my automatic flight naps, I pick up some random conversations of strangers, who met at the plane the same day. A girl and a boy on the front weigh the advantages and disadvantages of working abroad. The boy brings up an example of a friend who finally decided to return to Greece, with a lower wage but the incalculable chance to live in sunny Greece.
On my left, there is a young couple with a newborn baby, who was surprisingly relaxed and quiet during the four hour flight. A guy with a beard and glasses sits next to them and looks delighted with his companion. He plays games with the baby and by the end of the flight he talks casually with the father, who is possibly a lecturer, or a professor at a British University.
A blonde girl, who is working as a manager in a startup firm is obviously trying to overcome her fear for planes via constant communication with another couple carrying a two month old baby. The mother is British and the father comes from Patras, in Greece. It will be the first time that the baby meets his Greek aunties, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents! I picture the overwhelming experience for the British-born baby and can’t help but smiling. Later on, they talk about the convenience of giving birth in the UK, breastfeeding and schooling in the UK.
The guys on the back discuss about studying in the UK and the employment chances after that. Before we burst out of the plane and rush to the bus, they exchange Facebook names. At the departure waiting area, a big Greek family, holding flowers and balloons welcome a girl at my age in an overwhelming atmosphere.
So, Athens, here I am! This time I have a feeling hard to describe or even decipher. Maybe it should be attributed to the fact, that now I am not returning home from a trip or an educational programme abroad. I am rather visiting Greece, before I fly back to London to continue my studies. The same mysterious feeling guides me, when I rush to meet my friends and family. It’ s definitely its fault, that I devour the Greek food and fundamentally the Greek sweets, facing a real danger of not fitting my clothes after Christmas. I also book intensely tickets to the theatre and Greek movies, often crying before the movie even starts. I am doing my best to take fully advantage of my monthly stay in Athens, but deep down I know, that soon after I leave Athens, I will miss it again.
Time flies and in one week I will share a flight with people I have never met before, but bizarrely I feel we have too much in common. Unidentified fears, high aspirations, sudden homesickness and a lot of love for our beautiful Greece.