Once June starts approaching, and that may be as early as March or even February (Ο Φλεβάρης κι αν φλεβίσει, καλοκαίρι θα μυρίσει.), Greeks start their little seaside drive-by’s. These are preliminary appetizing mood-lifting expeditions that may or may not lead to sunbathing, swimming and water sport or other beach activities. Given that beach visits don’t come to a halt till October or even November, that leaves two months, December and January, during which the holiday state of mind isn’t all that active. Mind you, those are the months Christmas claims.
East coast mentality is settled with the idea of prescribed holidays taking place in a perfectly constructed, pool manicured environment in a relatively far away place for a short period of time. A summer holiday is typically one a couple or a family takes. While it is viable to go on holiday with a friend or friends, it does involve a great deal of negotiations and compromises given the high costs of the idealized, well marketed and much coveted “perfect holiday”.
Greeks living in the US get intriguingly perplexed with this double meaning the word “holidays” starts to be associated with. Exotic vacations seem appealing at first. Their short duration is the first turn-off. The lack of nightlife and the lack of flexibility (not to mention the terrible coffee or lack of any coffee poolside) start from being a nuisance to end up killing the holiday spark. Those determined to get the full experience get to spas, snorkeling and more exclusive sports such as deep sea diving, kite surfing etc in the summer. Such activities can be great fun even though they don’t last anywhere near as long a tavli-sunbathing-frappe-decorated experience in a celebrity DJ beach in Myconos. And that is why Greeks living in the East Coast go back to taking their holidays in Greece. And that is why they whine over the lack of leave.
However this is not in the least what they are truly whining about. Their true pain is their inability to settle for a life without the constant reminders of summer and all that it implies back in Greece. The proximity to a beach, the weather constantly switching back to summer mode throughout the year and above all the abundance and openness of friends. It’s not status, or spa relaxation or wild partying East Coast Greeks are craving. It is the positive reassurance that even if there’s tons of work to do and problems to solve, you can always pop in for a quick swim at your hairdresser’s summer house. It may not be as perfectly manicured as Fairmont,yet it gives you the holiday feel you crave to get all worked up and in the mood for life.