The queue starts here. The challenges have been many and they keep coming. But this is what life is about. This is what makes it fun.
But before this. I have now had my parents visiting for 10 days. Some will say 10 long days, but they have passed so quickly. From early morning to late at night. Because Greeks eat dinner pretty late, maybe at 11 o’clock. Not really my thing, so 9 o’clock will suffice thank you very much. We obviously went to Porto Heli to follow up the project, but we also had some time to go sightseeing in the area. I cannot wait to show guests all of these spectacular places. Back in Athens we ran from one meeting to the next and many decisions were made. Everyone is happy.
Well, back to the queue of challenges. As well as some day to day difficulties such as finding out which washing program to use on my washing machine, there have also been some other challenges. Both in theory and practice. I like to think. People tell me not to think so much, but this is impossible. Such is life. I should have been a philosopher or something but this sounds very boring. It is a lot more fun to create something. Change something. And give someone good experiences.
I moved to Greece in August last year. Full time. So I also needed to pay taxes to this new country. I am not the only one, though it sounds like it in the media. I had to sell all my things in Norway but at least I got to keep my valuables compared to other people travelling around Europe.
According to EU law a citizen of the EU (and Norway) can move to Greece permanently. But not according to Greek law… And I thought Greece was still part of the EU. Anyway. I now have a Greek residence permit after having been twice to the police station and waited for six hours. The station by the way looked more like a builders container than a police station. There were police cars outside so I knew it was the right place. I was told afterwards that the six hours I waited was pretty short. Haha. I am also registered with the tax authorities. That took a lot longer! It did not however help that a big monsun rainstorm flooded the building and crept closer to all the stacks of paper everywhere by the minute. I was wondering many times if they had got any computers here. They do. But they don’t really use them so much. Paper, paper, paper. Back and forth. With and without lawyer and notary public. A whole bunch of public offices which at least has resulted in several good friends. My conclusion is that I have now experienced what my grandparents experienced in Norway long before my time. And that is pretty interesting in itself. Welcome to Greece my lawyer said.
Establishing the company took six months. And with great efforts by my father who has done this before. Both in Greece and India for instance. Good luck to the one who tries doing this without this experience. I begin to wonder when Greece will go forward, and maybe return to its glory days as a business nation. But I have faith (not the religious kind). Otherwise I would not have been here. Tourism at least has soared even through the worst crisis days. And it continues to do so.
I like the Greeks, but they are hard to understand sometimes. They want to go forward and get back on their feet but they are also in favour of keeping a little of the black economy. Because if they were not to use cash then the authorities will know how they live their lives. I sort of understand, but maybe they should start by deleting their Facebook account…
One thing impresses me a lot about the Greeks. And that is how they take care of the migrants on the Greek islands. Sadly they often end up on the streets of Athens as Greece has no money to help them further. The EU is closing all the doors but the Greeks open their arms. Humans are obviously more valuable here. And this is when I start thinking. How is this such a big issue? Why hasn’t the EU with all its bureaucrats thought about a problem like this before? Throughout all of the world’s history of war there have been people on the run. I and many Greeks think this is pretty hopeless. Yet again the EU is leaving Greece to face the problems. Financial or humanitarian. Everyone has their own view on this issue, so I will leave it there but I must say that I am so impressed with the people who fight for other people. They are strong individuals. And they are needed.
Debate. Turning on the TV and there are at least 10 Greek channels with debates on. Financial crisis or human crisis. The Greek debates are on a different level. I have never seen so much heated discussion and so much make-up as on Greek TV. I hope they find the solutions. I will have to intensify my Greek language course so that I understand all of it. There is hardly anything else on!
I will end this blog post with another Greek coffee, and think about what a great country it is to live in, where people care about each other and where the sun always shines. I also wonder when the next time will be when I have to prove that I am not an elephant. (Greek saying, as you always have to prove you exist). Another paper to carry with me around town then – thanks!