This time two years ago I was dipping my feet into these crystal clear waters and escaping the rat race of UK life.
Well. That’s not entirely true. I went to work a summer season for a small sailing company on the Greek island of Lefkada…never having set foot on a boat, unless you count one moored up to Bristol Habour with a bar in it which brought about a whole new meaning to sea legs.
I applied for the administrators position after finding it advertised on an internet website, on the back of yet another argument with my boyfriend at the time. Two days and an awkward phone interview later I had been offered the position and had packed my bags. My parents and friends and family thought I was insane…in retrospect insane is a kind word.
The advertisement stated that the small but expanding English run family business was looking for an administrator to the principal of the sea school. Someone to help design websites, organize files and generally be the office dogsbody. Fantastic. Sign me up and call me Popeye. If I can be an office dogsbody in the UK sure as hell I can do it in 30 degree heat.
Oh, I thought my life was going to be a sea breeze.
The reality was quite different.
Do you know what they don’t tell you about working in the tourist sector abroad? It’s that you work ten times harder, do ten times the work and get paid ten times less. The luxury is the weather and…well. The weather and the cheap wine, which I can tell you is a lethal combination and was ultimately my downfall.
I have never been able to handle my drink well. Combine that with heat, with unlimited bar tabs and the holiday atmosphere, I was a catastrophic mess. I’d like to look back and think I was a brooding, dark and mysterious drunk genius, likened to Edgar Allen Poe. Spending hours alone at secluded table at the yacht club, whispering to myself. In reality however, I was a cross between Lindsay Lohan and Anna Nicole Smith, with probably less grace.
See figure above. This was the beginning of the end. This particular night, I got so drunk on a mixture of Jaeger bombs and wine that I fell down concrete stairs, tried to sleep with my boss, adamantly refused to be taken home or subdued and tried to climb out of the car window, flashed my boobs and ordered a drink with such gusto that even Paula Abdul would be left red-faced. Rinse, repeat and puke again several more times in the next few months.
It really was the ultimate car crash of a holiday season that lead to a circling depression that eventually saw me running back to the UK on the next plane with my tail between my legs and a still ever present hangover.
I suppose on the two year anniversary of my Greek Island Dream Death it has left me feeling a little nostalgic and a little bit…entirely baffled by the whole experience. Especially now, with my own little girl rapidly growing in my buddha belly…I can only think one thing.
I wish I’d stayed at bloody home and just spent the summer reading Homer’s Odyssey instead.