Shadows, light and dark contrasts; Guinness from Ireland on a Greek island veranda with bougainvillea; what conflicts are depicted here?

Aah, but I am in the picture and know many, but not all, of the cultural forces at play.  On the surface I am celebrating Arthur Guinness Day (24 September) at my home in Greece.  Am I squinting at the sun or grimacing because I know that in about one month I will be leaving the island sunshine for the rain that brings the forty shades of green to Ireland.

The laid back lifestyle that I had been living on Paros for the previous ten years is scientifically proven to promote longevity.  Yet everyone who has ever dwelled on a small island through the long winter knows that island fever can drive a person mad.  Each year this island seemed to get smaller and smaller and my winter trips to the outside world such as Christmas in Prague became more exciting.  So now I had decided that the Irish people’s joy of life would replace my Greek neighbors who seemed to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. 

Someone looking into this lifestyle from the world of gainful employment in their home country might think: “So what’s the problem?”  But to someone who has left behind their roots after 50 years in one state, the conflicting pulls of family, security and comfort speaking your native language versus adventure, discovery, culture shock and making do on a small pension create countless dilemmas.


One of which is should I be drinking a heavy stout in light lager weather?

This was written as a Writer's Group assignment.  One of the countless activities available in Prague.

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