Hello dear people of the blogosphere, how has your week been? I hope you had wonderful experiences despite everything.
What’s Happening in Bee’s Life
It’s a little more than a month that I am 50 and I have to admit I’ve never felt better.
Yes, where I had my operation still hurts; I still get tired more easily, and the fear is there that the cancer comes back, but something inside me has loosened up.
Of course, I had a lot of time to think about things in the last 8 months and face some of my fears. One of those fears was that I would not become 50 years of age. I might have written about it before. This thought/fear came about when my mother died, and my soul tried to deal with the trauma.
I wanted to die too. I had enough. But something inside didn’t allow it. It told me to get on with it despite everything. The only way I felt I could do this was to give up my desires/dreams. At the same time, I knew that wasn’t possible. It was like two different “powers” did battle in my mind. Ever since that day, I experienced life in a kind of battle between my wishes and the urge not to wish anything.
It made every single decision in my life difficult because I was waiting for another “power” to tell me what to do as I could not tell myself. I suspect it’s hard to imagine that. It still is for me.
When my mind decided that survival was only possible at the cost of my desires, I suddenly felt/imagined/knew certain points in my future life when things would change for me. At 50, there was the feeling of an end. At the same moment, I dismissed this feeling thinking: “You can’t see in the future, silly”. However, all of those points came to pass.
Now imagine on the backdrop of that to get a diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer that has spread to your lymph nodes in the year you are going to be 50. It was terrifying, to say the least.
I spent January, February and some of March pondering how to get through this. Does this feeling of an end, I had as a child, mean my physical end? Does it mean the pandemic? Does it mean a change in myself, a renewal? Does it mean being through menopause?
In the end, I decided that it means a psychological change/end. This prison sentence of not allowing my desires/not being me is ended. I’ve done my time paying, and now it is time to live. To live to the full and not to stop myself anymore.
In these three months before my operation, I realised that I love life. For almost 40 years, I struggled with thoughts of ending my life. And just two years before I thought: “If I’d get cancer, I would not take treatment. I just let it grow and die in peace!” But when it came to it, there was this:” Hell, no, I haven’t fought for my mental health and my life all these years to give up now. No way!”
I felt I owed it to my 12-year-old self who fought so hard to survive to keep going and to make the best of the rest of my/her life. And that is what I am doing. And will be doing no matter how long I have.
I cannot describe this feeling of freedom to you. I cannot find words for what it means to be without this shackle. I just cannot describe how fabulous I feel.
Fabulous, grateful and humbled.
Life is good
And now, please, come away to Greece with me.
1. Introduction to Greece
Last weekend, Channel 5 or Sky Arts showed many ABBA documentaries. I was a girl in the ’70s, and my first cassette was from ABBA. I love them! But what I found funny was the documentary about the musical “Mamma Mia” which of course plays in Greece. Just a week before “Come Away with me” goes to Greece.
I have no connections to Greece other than a picture book I had as a child in which a family who emigrated to Greece rescued a donkey. It was black and white, called “My Donkey Benjamin” and I just loved that story. Turns out the main character doesn’t 😦 . We also ate a lot in greek restaurants when I was young. Germany had/has a big Greek minority which came in the 1960s to help build cars, empty the bins and do other jobs the Germans didn’t want to do.
But I’ve never been to Greece. Never wanted to either. Maybe I will one day, though. So, let’s have a look at what Greece has to offer with this playlist.
2. An Artist of Greece
Holy moly, you could write a whole year about artists of Greece. After all, they created a ton of classics. Even in modern times like this article on culturetrip shows.
I, however, want to introduce you to Venia Bechrakis, who was born and educated in Athens. She also studied in the US. She combines photography, painting and video art which is inspired by performance art. She had exhibitions inside and outside of Greece. You can find some of her work here on the Zoumboulakis Galleries page.
3. A Climate Activist of Greece
Ok, this video is quite old, and he does not live in Greece anymore, but I think this gentleman is fun and does good things for the environment in general. Please, find out more in this video.
4. Food of Greece
Ah, I used to love the food of Greece. My family often went to Greek restaurants and later my friends and I did too. It’s the place I had my first baked beans. No, of course, not the ones from the tins. Proper broad beans in a deliciously garlicky tomato sauce baked in the oven. I am hooked ever since. That is the reason why I learned to make them instead of buying tins.
Unfortunately, now as a vegetarian Greek cuisine is more difficult. However, what would a vegetarian do without halloumi, feta or sheep’s cheese of which there are many in Greece?
So here a little introduction.
British TV chef’s love Greece too. I watched Jamie doing Greece, Paul Holliwood bake in Cuyprus (yes I know its not Greece but partly) and Rick Stein spent a lovely weekend in Thessaloniki.
Greek cuisine is down to earth, a little exotic and darn right delicious and so I thought I offer two more sources to do some Greek cooking yourself:
The Olive Magazine offers 10 Best Greek dishes and links to recipes here.
And for the vegetarians of you this post:
Ah, I can’t wait to try some of these.
5. A Poetess of Greece
I would say Greece is the origin of European poetry and probably literature in general. We heard of tragedies in school and of the essays of classic philosophers. But when you speak of poetry and Greece, you need to mention Sappho. And so I let Kings College do just that.
A modern poetess Is Eleni Theocharous, who is well-known in Greece but you can’t find much about her in English. I wish I could find some of her poetry. That’ll be my challenge for the next year. But here some information at Gutenberg.org.
6. Mental Health in Greece
Ah, sorry, I am getting a little tired. Please check out this article to find out about mental health in Greece.
7. Some musicians of Greece
Well, anyone who experienced the 70s does know Demis Roussos I assume. Ah, German housewives loved him. I suspect the rest of us made fun of him even though today I do not despise his cheerful music as much as I used to. Then there is the famous opera singer Maria Callas. The Greek love to dance and sing and so it is no surprise they have lots of interesting musicians. Please check out some here.
I hope you enjoyed this little excursion to Greece. I certainly did.
And where are we going next week?
Come Away With Me 2020 Musical Challenge Country for Monday, December 7th, 2020
Blimey! December already!
I am taking a rather random route around the world, but sometimes it makes sense. Next week we venture further East into Turkey. Please find musicians from Turkey on the Last.FM page.
As for the suggestions to take part:
- Join in! No matter where, when and with what. No matter if you have cancer or not! You missed the first week? Don’t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
- Send us the link! The ping-back option does not always work so please leave a link in the comments of the post on the day you take part.
- Tag your post either with ” Come Away With Me Musical Challenge”/ #CoAwWiMeMuCh” / “Come Away with Me 2020 Musical Challenge” o/“CoAwWiMe2020MuCh” / . You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure. If you add #blog and #music with your hashtags it will get you more readers.
- No matter which music or country the prompt favours you create with it whatever you please. This is supposed to be a fun challenge and no chore.
- I post a prompt for the next week with every “Come Away With Me 2020 post” I write.
- If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.
I am fundraising for McMillan and you can still donate here (UK only until January 2021) and download Bees McMillan Coffee Morning German Christmas Download (PDF file) (no it’s not in German but about German recipes and Christmas )
My goal is 200£ and so far you brilliant people have donated 10£. Thanks!
Just one more thing before you go: The hospital that is treating me is fundraising for a dedicated breast cancer unit which would allow some same-day diagnosis and better premises for patients and staff.
Please, if you can spare a little money hop over to their Just Giving Page and give as little or much as you can. Or share the page on your social media. So far the campaign has raised about half the amount needed: £418,648 of £800,000 (October 2020).
Your support means a lot to me! Thank you very much.
Thanks, my dears, for staying with me until the end.
I appreciate your presence.
Please stay safe, stay kind and remember that you rock!
6 thoughts on “50 & Fab and Come Away With Me to Greece”
I’m so happy you’re in a good place Bee. You really have been through the wringer. Here’s hoping that 2021 is much better.❤️
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Thanks. I hope 2021 will be better for everyone on this planet ♥️🙋♀️
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I’d love to visit Greece.. maybe once I’m back on a sailboat.. ⛵
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You go, lady!!!! 🙋♀️
Reading your words made me smile! I’m so glad you’re happy and loving life!
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That’s wonderful! I do my best to keep the momentum going 🙂
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