1. From your childhood, what do you miss most about summer vacation?
When I was a kid, we spent every summer in my dad’s village which is near Kalamata (you know, like the olives) in the Peloponese. At least two of my fathers’ siblings and their respective families would be there at the same time. That’s a whole lot of cousins.
We wake up around nine, eat breakfast, grab our bikes and ride around with the other kids until lunchtime. We cycle to Ai Georgi, whose stream takes root from the mountain. We have competitions to see who could stay in the longest (maybe one minute). The water comes up to our ankles. That’s how cold it is. We climb into the small cave and wonder about the gap in the back. My father claims he has gone through it; apparently, it doesn’t lead anywhere special. On the tree outside, we can read all the names carved into the tree: our fathers, our grandfathers…. We cycle to the cemetery, past the waterfall, past the flowers, past the mosquitos. We find graves with our surname and wonder how we’re related.
At lunchtime we zoom home, up and down hills, legs flailing. We shovel a few bites in and then insist it’s time to go… until someone mentions ice-cream, and then suddenly we are patient again. After lunch, it’s siesta time. We grab our bikes again but we aren’t allowed to shout until we’re not in earshot of the village. We go to the local kafeneio. Tsitsani has one video game. We play Mortal Combat. I always lose. Across the street, we buy tiny tubs of Merenda that come with tiny spoons. In the afternoon, we beg random relative, no matter how distant, to buy us more ice-cream.
Around 9pm we go home for dinner. Everyone laughs and talks and drinks wine. They let us have some or we have Ribena and pretend. Tomorrow we are going to the beach. Maybe Golden Coast, hopefully Voidokilia which is a secret paradise. We want to pretend to surf and see the Caretta Caretta turtles and hike up to the cave. Just before midnight, we go back into our old stone house. We clamber up the stairs, never forgetting the story of the Italian that was killed there by Nazis, wondering where the blood that scared our aunts and uncles had dried. We are not tall enough to duck under the beam. We sleep in a large room next to our parents’ wrought iron four-poster bed. We vow that this year, we will write on the old door in the back too. We want to join the Nazis’, our parents’ and our cousins’ stamp on the legendary door.
We don’t. Someone gets rid of it before we are old enough. We don’t go to the village anymore.
2. Are you going anywhere on vacation this summer?
In a few weeks, I am going to Naoussa, Paros. It’s one of my favourite towns, white and quaint and sweet. Paros is far superiour to Mykonos. I am going with my mother for a wedding and I’m very excited! Paros has the best fucking loukoumia on the planet. YOu can have it with melted chocolate, with ice-cream, with honey…
In August, I am going to Kardamyla, Chios. A lot of my friends are from that village. It will be packed. It will be awesome. Last time I went was just after I got back from Asia in 2008. Sunshine, Pixie, Zari (my three best friends) and I were still catching up. I fell off a fort (as you do) and hobbled for the rest of the holiday. My friends laughed and took photos.
In September, I am going camping in Elafonissos. I have never been but I’ve heard it’s spectacular. It should be quieter by autumn. I’m looking forward to drinking wine on the beach and chilling the fuck out.
3. What foods do you like to barbecue?
Anything but meat. No, I will not eat the mushrooms you barbecued on the meat grill. Carcass juice, yo. Gross.
4. How do you celebrate the fourth of July?
I grew up in Greece so, needless to say, 4th of July doesn’t mean much to us. Once though, when I was a kid, the Athenian Golf Club (of which my father is a member) held one such celebration. THERE WAS FREE ICE-CREAM, PEOPLE. Apparently, I went around collecting all the balloons and tried to sell them to guests. Genius. What went wrong?
5. What’s your favorite beverage to drink in the summertime?
I haven’t decided what my Summer ’11 is going to be yet. Last year it was vodka martini (potent and messy and awesome) but I’m a good girl now so I’m looking for something a little less wild. It’s possible it will be vodka with a dash of lime.
Oh. I just realised beverage does not equate to alcohol. My bad.
Back in ‘Nam, my favourite drink was nuoc mia (sugar water) which is made with sugar cane juice. It is divine. Similarly, I adored tamarind flavoured water in Thailand. I overdose on water in the summer. Greek summers are scorching. At the beach I favour Corona.
Let’s face it, I’m a whore for alcohol no matter the season. I’m an alcowhore, if you will.
6. What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer?
7. In the car: windows down or AC?
I try to have windows open as long as possible but that isn’t long at all. It’s not worth arriving at your destination all sticky. NoteL I do no sweat. I am a lady.
8. Have you ever had a summer fling?
I think so. It’s never as dramatic and romantic as it is on screen though, is it? I’ve never hooked up with a tourist or anything. Hmm, first challenge of Summer ’11?
9. Do you wear sunscreen?
Nah. I should because of my scars and whatnot but I always forget. Usually I wear light sunscreen for the first few days at the beach and then it’s oils. Don’t lecture me. I’m getting older and I”m starting to think of my skin. Having been out of the sun for almost two years though, I am determined to tan recklessly at least one more time.
10. Do you have any favorite summertime activities?
You wake up at noon, maybe later. One by one you gather on the balcony. You eat fruit and yoghurt. You make your first frappe of the day. Within a couple of hours of waking you are at the beach. You melt on the sun-loungers. You oil up. You play backgammon. A lot. You eat cheese-pies. You drink beer. In the late afternoon, you take your salted self home. You take turns to shower. Someone starts cooking. Someone sets the table. Someone cracks open a bottle of wine. You sit at the table with your family and whatever strays are visiting this summer. You tell jokes, you laugh, you debate, you yell. A little before the day ends, you and the rest of the kids start getting ready. You wear skyscraper heels and mini dresses. Someone picks you up around one in the morning. You go to clubs that are on cliffs: banging tunes, beautiful people. You’re shown to your table and agree on a bottle. Within an hour your hips are swaying. Within two hours, everyone’s arrived, everyone’s hugging, everyone’s smiling. Within three hours, you’re up dancing on the tables. Around six am, you figure out the finances and bounce. Maybe you stop at a beach on the way home. Maybe you strip and go swimming. You get home. You pass out. The next morning you do it all over again.
What do your summers look like?
Questions via Chelsea!