After more than two years here, these are some things about life in Greece that make me feel joyful:
1. The way there is a different type of sunset for each season. This weekend I saw a blazing red autumn sunset, throwing up shades of pale purple, gold and blue.
2. Not freezing in terror whenever someone on the street tries to talk to me and being able to navigate around the city all on my own at all hours of the day and night.
3. Not shaving years off my life every time I visit the post office.
4. I may complain about Greece's lack of multiculturalism, but over here I am unique in a nice way. I am the first Asian most Greeks I meet have had a chance to interact with. It makes me feel like I'm getting the chance to give something back in my life here.
5. Apples that taste and smell like apples, pears that taste and smell like pears, grapes that taste and smell like grapes. Not the fruit of a British supermarket that all tastes and smells generic.
6. The big, blue sky.
7. How I feel safe no matter where I go in Athens or at what time.
8. Taxi drivers who know about Home Country politics and want to know my point of view.
9. Snacking on little paper bags of pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead of fried potato chips.
10. Having enough Greek to learn recipes from Mr Zeus's ancient grandmother, and being the only person who she will teach those recipes to, claiming amnesia when anyone else asks her.
What prompted this post? I found some old emails I had written when I was 21 and was astounded by how much I wanted to leave the UK even then, and how completely unhappy and angry I was. I was so full of rage, rage against this, rage against that, rage because my favourite hairproduct had been discontinued.
I was 21, and I can't recall at all what my skin was like, what my body was like or what my eyes were like. I was lost somewhere at the bottom of a well of unhappiness. Where did I get the time and energy to write such rambling, page upon page emails about really stupid things, like how my hair never looked right, or whether it was really morally awful that a man had kissed me on my cheek at a nightclub and should I tell my friends about it.
I read these emails and thought it was such a shame that I was so miserable back then, tied down like Gulliver by hundres of tiny, tiny little issues, all combining to stop me being true to myself and living my life. No wonder I was so unhappy.
I strongly believe life in the UK was eating my away from the inside. My God, I am so glad I left. I am so glad for the life I have in Greece and I am so glad for Greece giving me a little piece of herself to call my own. I am so glad that this is the first time and place in my life where I am being myself, and I believe that's largely down to the sense of acceptance I have felt over here.