© 2011, Laura Riggs; Fira in October
This was taken in October 2011 in Fira, on the Greek island of Santorini. Tourists had left for the season, and many of the hotels were closing for the year. I stayed for a week, not only for the beauty but because no transit was running in our out of the country. Citizens were on strike due to the proposed austerity measures to alleviate Greece from massive debt that would potentially force the country to exit from the Eurozone.
I met a local man, George, who offered to take me on an island tour for an afternoon. There was nothing romantic about our connection; he was more like a big brother looking out for the stupid American woman traveling alone. We rode from one end of the island to the other, and everywhere in between, stopping for lunch beachside, then ended the day drinking ouzo in a bar with other locals. For the first time in many years, I felt “home” – like I belonged somewhere.
Seven years later and the country to just starting to recover. The economy is exceptionally fragile, as they are in the midst of a migrant crisis, being the first country that refugees find as they escape the war in Syria. Since leaving Europe at the end of 2011, I have felt like a part of me is “missing,” and I hope I’ll feel at home again someday soon.