“Nowhere is perfect. Paradise does not exist. Every country, every city has its good and its not so good sides. You lose something, you win something. It’s all about what is your point of view, what counts more for you.”
This story was originally published by Serendipitous Encounters. Do you have an interesting encounter to share with a new diaspora element? Serendipitous Encounters is open for submissions!
Four years ago. Thursday morning. I step onto the plane with mixed feelings. I am glad that I will see him again, I have missed him a lot. And I’m sure that the little man, whose hand I am holding is also glad. “Da-da”, he says. He already knows. But at the same time I feel sad. Life, how strange you are, that you can create these two opposite emotions at the same time? I’m sad, because I know now that this is the beginning of the end. I may now go for a few days, but the big journey will come shortly after. And while I want it and I’ve decided for it, it still hurts. We take off. Farewell, Greece!
A couple sits in front of me, they are in their fifties. They talk about New York with tremendous enthusiasm, it is their final destination. I don’t hesitate, we start to talk, I give them advice, we laugh. They ask me where I fly to. “To Munich”, I answer. “My husband left for work a month ago and I go to see him for a few days. In two months we are moving too”. They look at me with a strange expression on their face and I am not quite sure how to interpret it. “We grew up in Munich”, he says after a while. “I’m Greek, my wife is German, we met when we were pretty young, we fell in love, we got married, but soon enough we decided that Germany did not suit us. We moved to a Greek island and we live there happily ever since. Everything is subjective”, he goes on. “In Munich I attended a school with an indoor swimming pool. On the island, a container housed my son’s high school. So what? For me it’s not only about facilities, people’s soul is more important. And then the sun, the sea…”
I was looking at them wide-eyed in astonishment, not knowing whether to cry or to laugh. “Perfect”, I exclaimed. “You give me great courage, probably we have taken the wrong decision…” “No”, he interrupted me before I went on. “You made the right decision. You have decided to try something different. And it took a lot of courage, I can recognise that. You will go to Munich, you will start your life there, you will have different experiences and after 2, 3, 4, 10 years you will know where you prefer to live. And at that moment you’ll take your final decision. But most of all you will not keep saying IF. IF I go, IF I chase my luck, IF living abroad is better… You will not wonder, you will have an answer to all these questions.” We land. I get my little person in my arms and before I head to the exit, I hug them and they hug me. “Congratulations! It takes a lot of courage to make this move, even more with a small child. Good luck!” I’m going out. Munich welcomes me with snow and cold. It is winter after all. But my heart is warm. Their words gave me strength. I’m ready for our new adventure. Let it begin!
Four years later. We have not decided yet. Two new locations have emerged in the meantime. One member has been added to our family. Life flows like water. Easy in general, with some obstacles now and again. Whenever we go to Greece, they tell us: “Perfect, it must be fantastic in Vienna, Munich, …” “Not exactly”, we answer and my mind always flies back to this couple I met in my first trip. “Nowhere is perfect. Paradise does not exist. Every country, every city has its good and its not so good sides. You lose something, you win something. It’s all about what is your point of view, what counts more for you.” “Would you return?” they ask us. We look at each other, smiling. “Perhaps.” We have some time ahead of us yet to decide…