So, on Sunday 2nd June, I took a very delayed plane to Athens, a city and indeed, country, I’d never been to before. The reason for this trip is all down to my freelancing. I came out here to talk with Express Publishing of the ELT world, seeing as I had done a couple of exam practice test books for them, I wanted to explore the possibilities of future work. To my amazement, the company arranged accommodation for me, just a few minutes from their offices in Athens, picked me up from the airport and even paid for my trip to the Acropolis. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality. Needless to say, the meeting went very well, and I have huge hopes for the future. I was then taken by Danny to see some of the city, and I thank him for putting up with me and even having lunch in the Plaka.
Today, I ventured out on my own, and visited the island of Aegina, taking the ferry from Piraeus. Absolutely stunning. I visited the Temple of Aphaia, which was beyond belief.
The main thing for me was how hard it was to get over what I call my ‘anxiety’. I say that, because it’s probably totally different to other people’s anxiety, and I guess that’s what mine is. It’s incredible. I’ve been places on my own, I even lived in other countries on my own, but somehow, this seemed different. And all I can put my finger on is after my father died two years ago. I was in a different country when it happened, and at that precise moment, I was alone. My OH was there at the airport In Berlin, but my first knowledge was completely alone. Since then, I’ve only travelled abroad with him. There are, of course, trips alone to see my mum, and then earlier this year, I went alone to IATEFL in Liverpool, staying on my own in a hotel. That was strange. And this has been strange, being alone in a foreign country. Even my body issues have become worse here.
I say all of this not to get sympathy, but to stress that mental health issues can linger after a traumatic event, even if the person doesn’t really notice it. I don’t know if my body issues have become worse since my Dad, or if they are the same, but I think I can safely say that my ‘anxiety’ is definitely heightened. So this has been a big thing for me. Even leaving the apartment in Athens to for our for the day on my own was a struggle to do. And in the end, I didn’t care how my stomach pointed out in front of me, but it took a while. And my mum always said I’m a worrier, and my goodness, it’s true.