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Thursday, June 01, 2006 

Time to Fold

Back in January, I wrote a post where I questioned the logic of staying in Greece or returning to my home country of Canada. I felt, at the time, that we could probably wait until the situation in Greece improved. When phone and electricity bills would stop climbing. When tax laws might improve and tax inspectors would eliminate their 'personal salary supplementary payments'. When the education system might get reformed and we wouldn't have to spend hundreds of euros a month on extra lessons at frontistirios. It was a lot to hope for in six months, and therefore, it hasn't happened.

So, it is with mixed emotions, I have to announce that my family will no longer be living in Greece as of next Thursday. With the price increases in utilities, declining sales and the sharp increase of customers who can't or won't pay their bills, our businesses have suffered the effects of a population burdened by debt. We sold the stores in March (although due to bureacracy, the sales were only finalized 2 weeks ago) so we could focus on another technology project of my husband's. While he received rave reviews and positive feedback, it wasn't enough to consider continuing this part of the business in Greece where internet penetration is still very low and people haven't adopted the view that computers are a necessity and not a luxury. He decided that Canada would offer him more opportunities to grow this part of his business in earnest without having to deal with the corruption and limitless bureacracy we experience daily here.

We talked to our son as well about the possibility of moving back to Canada, and like all kids, he has visions of Christmas with snow, deer in the backyard and camping by lakes so he was only too happy to move. When we told him that his life in Canada wouldn't be a permanent vacation and that he'd still have to go to school, do homework and chores, he was still positive about the move since he'd also see his grandparents, aunts and cousin again and live in a house with an actual yard and not a balcony. I thought he would probably change his mind once we got to the actual move but it's upon us now and although he's feeling sad about leaving his friends, he's absolutely determined to go.

Even though I know that from a business and education standpoint, leaving Greece is the wise thing to do, I am not doing it with excitement or happiness. I will miss so much about Greece that I've come to love which makes it very hard for me to say goodbye to the country which was my home for the last eight years. I will miss the Greeks on the streets, in stores, on public transit who engaged my son in conversation about his world of dinosaurs, sea creatures and stray animals. I will miss seeing them hug and kiss him as if he was their own. I will miss Greek food, Greek islands, Greek culture and history and of course, the famous Greek weather. It is just too bad we can't live off those things alone.

I don't regret moving here despite all the problems we've had over the years with the system. I may regret leaving. If only Greece had some semblance of a responsible and competent government, we wouldn't have even entertained the thought of leaving.

I will continue to update my blog from Canada but the focus will change as I begin my life again. I hope all my readers will still continue to read my blog from time to time--there's enough scandal happening in Canada as well so I doubt my blog will suffer from lack of fresh content. Someone has to blog it all so it may as well be me!

I'll see you all in about a week since I'm off to the land of hockey, beavers, snow and Molson's!

Good luck for the move. All the best.

Join the resistance over at http://saveourseawitch.blogspot.com

Together we are strong! We can stop the finest thing that ever came out of Canada leaving us!

Vive La Resistance!

Ah, and now the possibility of a real life meet up gets even slimmer! But I anticipate reading about your reassimilation into Canadian life.

In a way I envy you, being able to go home again. Then again, there is more for me in Greece than in America right now.

I hope the move goes smoothly. Take care and look forward to reading about your Canadian adventures - ey?

There's not a dry eye in the house over here and I've run out of tissues. Sad that you are leaving us but excited and happy for you for a new adventure.

What a hard decision to make but in light of the things you say, it's probably for the best. I am sure you will miss Greece, there are so many things to miss but you can always come and visit (not the same I know, but something)

I will be right here waiting for the next installments from you. From Canada!

All the best with everything. Kisses to you and your family and well...you know the rest. Much love DD

Canada's gain is Greece's loss, and Greek blogging will be that much the poorer for it. SeaWitch, your strength, and your constancy will hopefully be a lesson to the ones you leave behind.

Here is hoping and wishing that we hear from you again. All the best of everything to you and your famly.

FLUX

Are you settling anywhere close to TO, or is it definitely Nova Scotia?

I remember years ago when I used to joke about sending you back to Canada. I think I even went as far as collecting in your neighborhood to collect the plane fare. It was after 3 weeks of collecting when I realized you must be doing something right cos I'd only managed to collect enough to get you half way from Athens to Pireaus by bus rather than all the way to Canada! :-)

I'd just like to say that although the news that you're moving back to Canada is upsetting to me, I've come to realize that it's selfish of me to feel bad about it. Why? Well because I know that moving to Canada is the right thing to do for all of you. For that reason I'm really happy for you.

I just want to say on the record that I feel so lucky and blessed to have you as my friend. You are fantastic.

Don't ever change!

As for the blog, well I too like everyone else will look forward to you settling into Canada, you never know. It might not take you long to see what I've been telling you about the place so don't delete Olympic Airways number from your phone just yet!! ;-)

Φιλάκια πολλά και καλό ταξίδι!!

Ellaki σου!

ZARDOZ SAYS:


CAN A SOVEREIGNITY,,

CHANGE COUNTRIES..??

I'M SAD ,,AND I'LL MISS YA.
HOPE SETTLING IN ,, WILL BE
EASY FOR YA ,YOUR FAMILY
AND SON,,,,, MY DEEPEST RESPECTS SEAWITCH ,,,,
I AM POORER WITHOUT YOU
RICHER FOR HAVING COME
ACROSS YOU , THANK YOU.
=========Z==========

I'm sure it was only an event waiting to happen. It's good for you and your family and I'm sure it will be good for me too; I've been refraining from reading your posts most of the time cos I feel like I'm reading news from home but I want to stay focused on what's happening in the country that I live now.

by the way no offense but what the heck is this Zardoz person all about?

Oh, no....

It's true isn't it....

Sorry to see you go, Seawitch. your heart has always been in the right place, and it ain't about geography...

Maintain the blog please, I'm sure we can get into some scraps about Canadian issues ocasionally (there are some, right?). Could use the chills.. And the DVD advice...Ellasdevil has one or two things to say about the seal hunt...

Totally understand your move, but will miss your presence on these shores. Bravo sou kai kalo dromo.

Yikes! So you went ahead and took the plunge. Good for you, SeaWitch. Greece will be the poorer for it. I truly and honestly hope that you find the peace, happiness, safety, and financial security you are looking for. Most importantly, the opportunities that await your son that may not have been present for him in Greece.

Will eagerly await your assessment of the Great White North and hope to hear you volunteering for the Harper re-election campaign. ;)

Have a safe trip.

That's bad news in a way, what I am looking forward to is starting my own business in Greece sometime soon!
Anyway I wish you the best of luck in Canada, I hope you and your husband achieve all of your professional goals over there. I have been reading this blog for a short period of time and it's definitely one of my favourites. I will be looking forward to more of your posts.

SW,

Good luck to you, and Bravo that you have a reasonable husband willing to leave Ellas, unlike my wife.

I will be trapped here until I die. But, as I always say, there are worse places to be trapped, so my grousing is more of an act than fact.

I will watch my favorite movie, Canadian Bacon, as a way to honor you.

Cheers from the Scruffy American.

I'm surprised and very much saddened. I've become an avid reader of your blog. I hope everything works out of for you in Canada. To be honest I won't be as interested in the happenings going on in Canada as how you see things there having lived in Greece, how they compare, is it the way you remembered it or is it, once again, a 'greener on the other side' feeling but this time with Greece. I know that your son will be much better off...if only for the experience. Good luck and stay in touch. john

Good luck and have a safe trip. I too will be headed across the Atlantic in the future (though not for a few months yet) so to some extent I understand the anticipation and regret you must be feeling about going home. It seems like you have really thought this through and it's the right thing for your family, so I hope it all works out. Canada is a great place and I often wish the US would take a few cues from your home country.

I'll be damned. You know, I was not expecting that. I am not sure what to day, but I certainly feel a bit saddened, mostly for personal reasons to be selfishly honest.
You see, myself and my girlfriend want to eventually return and live (and work??) in Greece, but I do not think I can stomach Greece's political and economic climate. So we are always "in-between".
I wish you all the best in your move and don't dare abandon your page! We are a-waiting. The good thing is, maybe you will rant less and be more possitive (something I think I myself will never be able to do!).

Good luck! (and if you meet my old Canadian flame, please do say hi!)

Good luck and keep us posted.

Oh gosh, this is too sad... That post you wrote in January was one of the first posts I ever read, and I've remembered it since, wondering what ever came of your desire to return...
and now it's happening. We're losing a great commentator on life in Greece, and I think someone who always makes our day a bit more interesting and full. But best of luck from me as well! Hope everything over there meets your expectations and works out,
R

OK, I have to ask: Will this blog's name change from "Sovereignity of SeaWitch" to "Sovereignity of SnowWitch"?
:-)
I can't say I'm suprised. Throughout your posts regarding the Greek way of life I have noted an underlying wishful hope that things would improve; sort of like a "Come on Greece, give me a reason to stay". It's too bad that Greece let you down and all of us as well.

I won't bid you farewell because I will continue to visit your blog and the good thing about blogs is that they have no boundaries or geographical restrictions. We are all citizens of blogland (some have crappy Internet services, like us in Greece; others don't, like the ones in North America, *sigh*).

I will wish you KALI EPISTROFI (Safe passage home) and KALI TEEHEE (Good Luck)to you and your family. I think in terms of your son's schooling (if I'm not mistaken will be starting 7th grade) the timing is perfect.

NA 'STE KALA (Be well)!

Good luck with the move and I hope everything works out for you all in Canada. Don't forget to blog now.

BTW I came across another Canadian's blog. He and his family took the same decision last year and moved back from Kozani to Canada.He gave almost exactly the same readsons as you for their decision.

http://daniel.dtmno.org/blog/

SW: I am surprised, really, that you lasted as long as you did. Eight years is a long time -- and then again a very shorttime once you fall back into a working routine and you begin to forget the strikes, the smog, the dead end commanding most of everything in Hellas... You are brave as much as you are determined; anyone who willingly leaves behind an organized, functioning state (granted, with problems) to re-settle in Hellas is possessed by true pioneering spirit. I wish you and your family the best of luck and may all your plans come through as you want them. Think of us, stuck as we are back here in the belly of the Balkans, and keep up blogging. Once you're settled and return to your keyboard, I hope you'll visit Phylax Blog as a guest Author to post a round-up of your thoughts about Greece and life in this country. I am really, truly happy for you.

Good luck on your move.
My husband and I also moved from the European continent to the North American one for economic reasons (but to the US and not Canada).
Life is certainly easier.
Good luck again. Your blog will change perspectives, but I do hope you keep writing.

I second the first commenter's statement and all well wishes thereafter.

Dear SeaWitch,

First time commenter, although I've been reading your blog faithfully since January.

I have been here in Athens the last 6 months trying to find a job, and failing spectacularly, and I, too, am (very sadly) going back to the states in a few weeks. Greece shoots itself in the foot (both feet and hands and heart, actually) by not appreciating the "good" people who want to honestly eke out a decent living here and make a happy home for their families.

I wish you the best of luck - you'll be surprised at how bad the "reverse" culture shock can be. On the other hand, every time you want to shop on a Sunday you'll be happy! Paying bills over the internet! But no ouzomezedes by the sea on a Sunday afternoon either :(

Take care, και καλό ταξίδι. I will definitely continue to read your blog.

Katerina

Just wanted to add my good wishes to all the others. I've really enjoyed reading your Greek blog and have really liked the woman whose personality shines through her writing. I'm glad your son is looking forward to the move - we mentioned the possibility of moving countries to our children and you could probably have heard the wailings over there in Greece. So we stayed put ... I hope everything works out for you all and look forward to learning as much about Canada as I learnt about Greece from your blog.

Wow! I go away for a few weeks and the entire world changes. Congrats on your decision - believe me I know the feelings you must be going through. Bes tof luck with the move, and if you are ever in Toronto you guys are more then welcome to stop by for some Pastisio, Spanakotita, Greek Coffee and a loud conversation ;-)

As Seawitch's twin sister, I am soooo excited about seeing her, my brother-in-law and my nephew again. It has been a long time. But I couldn't help but also feel saddened after reading thislatest blog as well as the subsequent comments by all of her devoted readers. I love Greece--for a vacation. It is truly steeped in culture, history and scenery. But each time I was there, I said, "Greece is a great place to visit. I just wouldn't want to liver there."

I am so proud of my sister for stepping outside of the "North American comfort zone" and trying out a new culture. I know that everyone she met and everything she experienced will deepen her life's perspective.

I promise each of you that I will glue-gun Seawitch's hands to the keyboard to ensure she continues to blog. It appears as if she has gathered quite an intelligent, funny and appreciative fanbase. (You KNOW that's got to be plumping up her ego to astronomical proportions!!!)

Seawitch, I think this was your best blog to date. I can't wait to greet you and the rest of my family at the airport with much love, hugs and kisses. I've missed you all terribly.

And to everyone who has posted here, thank you for giving Seawitch a bit of sanity during her time in Greece. I think that if she didn't have a blog and like-minded people to share experiences and ideas, she'd have imploded by now!!

I disagree, I think most people consider Greece a great place to live, not just visit. Unfortunately the job opportunities in many sectors are limited and there is a lot of bureaucracy (Greece is considered the most expensive in EU-15 to open a new company). These problems need to be overcome by the government although I don't think enough progress is being made on that front.

(Un)fortunately many Greeks do well economically by relying on connections, black market transactions or taking advantage of family fortunes without being interested in the common good, or growing their companies. Needless to say, it is not only the government's fault.

Although each can have his/her own opinion, all I am trying to do is make readers who don't know enough aware of the situation in Greece. Such people could get confused thinking life in Greece is terrible for no reason.

EllasDevil....

RE: http://saveourseawitch.blogspot.com

That is hilarious!!!! I especially liked the Evita comparison.

I think you would make a great contributor to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart...or maybe even the Colbert Report.

You're not a celebrity til Ellas Devil devotes a blog to you. (When am I getting mine???? I'm nicer to you than Seawitch ever could, or will, be.)

Seriously though, your writing and commentaries posted here and elsewhere are always worth the read. Thanks for giving me a good laugh today. I need it...the Seawitch's arrival is imminent...and my team of Swiss psychotherapists haven't arrived yet to help me deal with the stress.

Nikos_G...

I don't think Greece would rate very high on the charts of countries people would most likely want to live in and raise their families. They always love to visit there...but they hang on to their passports just in case. I suspect there are probably just as many ex-pat Greeks as there are Greeks living within Greece's borders.

The government is not stable. It is not business-friendly. And it's definitely not operating on 21st century technology.

On the plus side, it has a wealth of cultural, historic and scenic treasures.

I love Greece. I just can't live there. (And I've been to about 15+ countries.)

Will the famous Seawitch make one last comment to us before "Wheels Up" I wonder?

"It is our sad duty to inform you that the SeaWitch, 'spiritual leader of the nation' departed from Athens International Airport at 13:35 this afternoon."

Our loss is Canada's gain...

Hey all you Greekies, we got our Seawitch back!!

Now, take off you hosers!

Go with God, Sovereign...From an African in cyberspace.

Oh wow, lately it seems like everyone is going back - you're the third Canadian I've heard this news from in the past month or so.
It'll be great to hear about your experiences from the other side.

Wow, Seawitch! I'm late to the show as life has been too crazy to read blogs but, man, am I jealous of you! I want to go home so bad. I'm so fed up with life here. The main reason for leaving the States remains the main reason that Greece is better: the difference in levels of violent crime. Pretty much everything else sucks.

And the latest thing to tick me off? My kids' Christmas presents are stuck in the port of Piraeus because some "blankity blank" crane operators are afraid of losing some of their income/benefits through privatization. The poor devils only average 96,000 euros/127,000 USdollars a year. How can they possibly survive?

Sorry, didn't mean to make this about me. I am very happy for you. Just a bit jealous. Sounds like you are settling in well. Best wishes to you. Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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