I believe in signs, those messages that come to you in a way that you can either choose to believe or not believe. Depending on how positive or negative they are, goes my tendency to believe. Simple huh? Our journey in Greece was filled with signs, primarily road signs, but nevertheless, they led us to good places. I believe, I believe!!
Our longest journey from our Marathon "home" was to my grandfather's village, in Central Greece, near the city of Lamia... well sort of near the city of Lamia. My dad's dad, a gentle soul, whose name I am still proud to use as my middle name, and who keeps this fair-skinned, freckled-face, green-eyed Greek, tied to her real roots. My papou lived quietly, and enjoyed the simple things. I thought of him often during this trip, as we enjoyed χορτα (greens) almost every night, as they are in season. He used to walk for miles in the summer picking bags of them (dandelion greens) for us all. At that point in time, the palette of the young Kalliope didn't appreciate them, but today... yum!
As we prepared for this next adventure, we were given a few more details by my dear aunt, my dad's eldest sister, who is keeper of so much that our family holds dear. Basically, she confirmed the direction, the city and told me that along a road from Lamia to Gardiki, there is a gravel road, that is a street named after our family. Here lives an uncle, who is a priest and his wife. He may or may not still be living. OK... check. Off we go.
Three and a half hours later, we are on some road between Lamia and Gardiki, and a road sign, a new road sign, shiny and bright appears, with our family name on it. Really, no kidding. It happened just like that... a sign.
At the end of the gravel road was a church and house, and in this house was the priest (looking quite healthy with many years to go by the way...pfth, pfth, pfth) and his wife. We approach the house, and say who we are. They open the gate and we are immediately with family. They know who I am. The last visitors they had from their US clan was almost 18 years ago, but they ask about everyone.
In the cool shade of their courtyard, we sit together and do our best to share stories. They pull out photos of my papou. He grew up next door to where we were sitting, the house is no longer there, but it's nice to be this close. The wedding photo of my papou and yiayia, are all laying on the table in front of me, in this little street, OFFICIALLY named after my family.
The sign makes it official. The connection makes it real. I believe!