The lockdown diaries: Learning from the Greeks

Photo by Luz Mendoza on Unsplash

For weeks now, the internet has been overrun with negative headlines and the word ‘coronavirus’ features in around 90% of all articles. Truth be told, I have found reading the news pretty stressful and am increasingly avoiding my smartphone.

Of course these stories must be told and the news must be made public, no matter how painful it may be. But at a time like this, our mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health. So today, I’d like to focus on the little kindnesses that make us human and make this whole crisis bearable.

Yesterday, my partner and I went on a rare food shopping trip into the centre of Leonidio – the little Greek town where we have been living for the past five months. And the kindness of the locals, people we know and strangers alike, almost drove me to tears.

The owner of one of the food and gift stores in town, Georgia, gave us a free loaf of bread, wrapped in cling film to keep the germs off. Then she offered to make us dinner for the following evening. Takeaway, of course.

Then, a lady in another shop, whom we’d never met before and whose name we forgot to ask, gave us a free box of cookies. People, just being human and kind to each other, despite the crisis and the lockdown.

And those little acts of kindness really made my day. A day that had been stressful because I’d just done the last freelance shift at a magazine I worked for, as freelance money dries up across the investment journalism industry. A day filled with worry as I faced the uncertainty of the future.

I have loved the Greek people for this from the moment we came here. For their kindness and generosity. For their drive to give gifts and make people feel welcome. And of course, for constantly feeding us delicious food!

We all need to learn something from their culture, especially at a time like this. We all need to hoard less and give more. We all need to be spontaneously generous to our neighbours and random strangers. We all need to stick together through this crisis.

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