Well, Greece, it seems our honeymoon-euphoric-I-love-this-country phase has ended. I knew it would eventually. Perhaps it happened the moment I learned enough Greek to realize when someone is making fun of me. Or the day I realized how humid and dirty Athens can be in the summer months. Or the day I sprained my ankle on a ferry and fell face first in front of about 80 Greek citizens.
I still love you. I think I could live in Greece happily, if there was a job for me. But I know that there will always be that last road block. No matter how much Greek I speak, how courteous I am, or how much I dress like one of your citizens, I will never, never truly be Greek. And everyone here knows that. Greek-ness is some elusive quality I will never have because I wasn’t born with it.
This is the first time I’ve noticed that I do have an identity. I feel like I belong to a race that I never knew existed— I am an American. The more I think about it, the more proud I am. I don’t care if merchants try to rip me off at the flea market or old ladies scoff at me on the bus. I am an American, it’s part of who I am, and I am not going to hide it anymore. I have stopped lying and telling people I am from Canada. This is a major decision for me.
So I don’t know where that leaves us, Greece. I think I am more in love with you than you are with me. I am probably a little more open to diversity than you, as well. I have enjoyed my time here and I would return in an instant, but I know how you can be and I won’t reminisce about what a “perfect” place you are when I go home. After all, it’s not true love if we don’t accept each others flaws, right?