By Em Barry
This isn’t my first time traveling internationally, but it is my first time in Greece. It’s a wondrous feeling to turn around and see a huge mountain in the not-so-far distance and to see how small things, like water and power conservation, compare to life in the US. Personally, I think it would be in everyone’s best interest to travel outside the country and get knee-deep into a different environment, you tend to learn a lot.
Of course, I was very excited to be seeing the stray cat population. The few internet videos I saw would say the cat population is out of control, and there are no efforts to spay/neuter, but from what I’ve heard, that’s not the case, and being in person, that is quite evident. There are many tipped ears, a sign of a sterile feline, and many well-fed and cared-for cats. Of course, there are the occasional bad cases and battle scars, but such is the way of an outdoor cat life. What’s most interesting to see is how the Greek people live around the cats. They tend to ignore them but don’t treat them as pests. Cats will be walking down the street like it’s nothing, all the while accepting some pets. I wonder what needs must be met to cultivate such an attitude. I’ve worked a lot with foster cats and TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release), and for the latter to be successful, there needs to be willing caretakers. But alas, Americans will often see the stray cats as a nuisance and wish to drive them out, but that does not solve the problem. Perhaps experiencing this sort of lifestyle could influence choices and changes I could make in my own future communities.
The food has been spectacular. When I was younger, I was rather picky about what I wanted to eat or try. But being a young adult, many of those picky habits have faded, and I can really enjoy new foods. There’s a lot of simple but rich flavors in Greek dishes that I was not expecting. Admittedly, my taste buds are pretty weak, so I miss the subtle things, but from what I can, it is very good!