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November 17, 2023


I believe that to be an immigrant is to be an outsider, to some extent, for the duration, and in my experience "fitting in" takes. time an effort, no matter how great it would feel to be seamlessly accepted. (That even happens within this vast country; a close friend moved to Cape Breton 25 years ago; she and her family are still described as "the Campbells-being-from-away".) For many recent immigrants, Canada is an almost surreal respite from what they have been living with. "Where did you come from?" I once asked a new neighbour. He responded, "Hell". It was Bosnia.

Completely agree that getting away from the touristed areas is essential. Thank you for a glimpse of this fascinating neighbourhood.

This made me recall, from when I was living in the Milton Park co-op Montreal in the early 1980s, Lucia Kowaluk pointing out one of the larger food stores on St. Laurent and saying she didn't shop there as they'd supported the junta.

Beth, I love your drawing of the big-coat man at the café table. If you had gone over and shown it to him, I'm sure he would have appreciated it and started an interesting conversation. He looks slightly familiar - maybe a Greek intellectual I've met somewhere.

Thanks, Natalie. We had such a wonderful trip and met some very interesting people.

Weve both been thinking about you -- how are you doing, really and truly?



This post brought back memories, perhaps oft-told stories. Thirteen years ago I edited a book - American Ikaros; The search for Kevin Andrews, by Roger Jinkinson. - about an American writer and poet who immersed himself in post-war Greece. Andrews' main work, The Flight of Ikaros, was described by Patrick Leigh Fermor as "one of the great and lasting books about Greece."

What left the strongest impression were the roots of the present-day disturbances, a period when the country lost a tenth of its population, endured a four-year civil war, suffered "the Colonels". And still the problems remain. As I swam off the island of Karpathos - quite near to Rhodes - the troubles were a million miles away. Life was agreeably primitive. Doing the book created the historical links since nobody in the village of Diafani talked about the forties and fifties. Can't blame them.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.