In April 2019, I was working at a beach bar restaurant in Perissa, Santorini which is located on the other side of the mountain from where I live and work now. My daily duties were to dice mangoes and pineapples for cocktail garnish. I would do so outside at the back of the kitchen while listening to podcasts about traveling and yoga. I wouldn’t often make my way to the front of the restaurant during working hours but one time I did to pick up a better knife from the bartender.
There was a group of men sitting in the corner between the inside of the restaurant and outside of the restaurant. Tranquilo being the only bar I knew on the island that didn’t permit inside smoking, the boys were blowing the smoke from their cigarettes strategically to the outside of the bar.
I caught the eyes of a dark brown eyed guy there. It was a very quick and temporarily gaze but it was enough for me to like him. It was something about his eyes that possessed a sensitivity and an intensity at the same time.
It turns out he was one of the bartenders at The Beach Bar from a few doors down. He had served shots to my friend Barbara and a couple from Calgary, Canada named Ted and Sasha, and I a couple of days before. I hadn’t realized it was the same guy until much later.
Well, it’s been five months now that we are together. We live together in this gritty little basement, in a windowless room that is the size of our two little twin beds. We have a bathroom with good water pressure. We have a mini fridge but no kitchenette. We have a fan that blows air in our faces in the middle of the night. We have one blanket that we share and most often than not, I end up stealing all of it. I consider ourselves lucky because we get to share our room with each other and be physically close to each other after work. Most season workers have to share their rooms with two, sometimes three other strangers. The rooms are usually windowless. Our neighbours sleep with their door open. Sometimes you are lucky and you get a balcony and some A/C.
It’s been the toughest year of my life and the past few working months have been emotionally draining. I ache for some stability and some freedom. Working everyday for five months straight was one of the dumbest decision I’ve taken in my life for my already fragile mental health.
However, I don’t regret it. Even the worst moments in my life I choose to never regret. And, well, I stayed believing something good was to come out of living on this island, despite its materialistic tendencies and money hungry people. In short, the worst kind of mentality reigns over Santorini in its tourist season with the majority of people trying to fuck you over at work, people spreading gossip because they are bored and people trying to ruin your happiness because they aren’t able to be happy with themselves.
I wasn’t wrong. I found the kindest and bravest of hearts here. I found someone who, just like me, believes in true love and harmony, believes in peace and believes in living a simple life not filled with artificiality.
Babe, I’m so proud of you. You’re an amazing person with a heart of gold. When I’m with you, I know everything will be ok.
Santorini, you witch, you’ve been a roller coaster. But you gave me what I used to be ashamed of admitting to myself and what we all fear at some point or another in our lives. However, we all need it and that is love.