Monday, February 28, 2011

Building a house - In Greece: Part I

I'm ridiculously excited to start this series of posts, because this, let's call it 'project,' has been incubating for the last twenty-some-odd years. You've all heard me gush about how much I love Greece, and especially Kefalonia, the island where my dad is from, and about how I loved spending summers in Greece as a kid, yadda, yadda. I'm hoping to take you all through this journey, as my family and I build our dream house on our dream island - and hopefully help and inspire others who are doing the same. And since Forbes voted Kefalonia as the fourth most idyllic place to live in Europe - I think we're right on track. Since I'm a couple of years late in covering this process, I'll break up the first few background posts within the next couple of weeks. Then I'll keep posting as we progress, blogging from Greece in August, and hopefully show you a semi-finished house by then! I think I'll start this story here:

Every summer in Kefalonia, we'd stay at my grandparents' with my cousins from Chicago. My parents, and grandparents would have their own rooms, and my sister, my cousins, and I would all bunk up together in the 'living room' on cots, couches, whatever, we didn't care. I put this 'living room' in quotations because there was no real living space. It was merely a room that connected both bedrooms. The house was terribly designed by the British after the major 1953 earthquake that leveled the island, but we loved it. My grandparents' home was a modest two bedroom home. There was the 'new kitchen', which was almost never used because it was always too hot, and the 'old kitchen' which hadn't been updated since 1953, but because it was built separately from the house, it was always a cool getaway from the scortching summer heat - and it was THE hangout spot. I should mention that there was one inside bathroom and an 'out-house' bathroom. The point is that no matter how old or ridiculously squished we were in this house - some of my absolute best memories of my childhood are these summers we all spent together.

For as long as I can remember, my father has always dreamed about building his own summer home in Kefalonia, as an investment, but also as his legacy. You see, it's not enough that he's from a Greek island, but to have a view of the beautiful Ioanian Sea is necessary to make this dream complete. For a number of reasons this 'project' had been put off for far too long, but somewhere along the way, it also became a dream for both my sister and I. It's important for the two of us to carry the same tradition, taking our children to Greece as often as we can, and enriching them with the same experiences we had growing up.

Tune in next week for posts about the land, and where we are with the house today.


  1. Ohhhh! I'm so jealous... My wife and I went to Greece back in the summer of 2007 to shoot a wedding. We spent the first night in Athens (not that great), but then headed to Kefalonia for a few days where the wedding was held. Man was it beautiful. We ate dinner in the Argostoli square, which was what made me fall in love with the culture. The fact that the whole community comes together, young and old, to share great food and conversation was so awesome. I've told my wife for the past 3+ years that I want to sell everything and move to Kefalonia. I'm not Greek, but my olive skin fools some people there, as they always tried to speak to me in Greek. I should fit right in!

  2. This is such a wonderful 'project'. I have found memories of my childhood trips but they were always within Canada and almost always to the Rockie mountains. But lately we have wanted to build or buy a summer or winter home somewhere beautiful. I can't wait to see the finished 'project' and look forward to the journey your family is taking.
    Now I am going to be dreaming of houses all day!
    Much Love,

  3. I too have memories of summers in Kefalonia.summers of living on top of each other in the small family home.Of meeting up every year with friends from around the world.
    Now I have grown up and wanting to impart that legacy to my children,my husband and I are in the middle of buying property to create a new adventure and new roots..Hopefullywe can realise the dream and depart every august from a wintry africa to a glorious summer in Kefalonia.
    I look forward to your next installment

  4. Thanks for your comment Andromahi. Do keep checking back, as we're in the final stretch of the house and should be done soon. I'm so happy you found my blog then, and please update me with your progress!