When we arrived at Nick’s place. We were shocked! We couldn’t believe how lovely his house is. It’s a very stylish Greek house located in Emporio, south of Santorini, neighboring with a beautiful church. As we walked into the house, the more we see, the more excited we got. It’s a house full of stories and memories. We couldn’t possibly believe that we were staying at this house, for free.
Nick is a local, lives with his parents who are also Greek. He’s an active CouchSurfing user who hosts travelers from all over the world. He bartends at the bar near the beach and goes to travel whenever he saves enough money. Nick’s Mom is an artist, that explains all the cuteness in the house. There were her paintings, collections, arts and crafts … we can spend an entire day just wondering around the house. Being an artist myself, I was uber excited when I saw the paint brushes and the easel.
What a great way to start our trip in this dream island of Santorini. We had our own room, he gave us the key, we went in and out just like our own home. He works and night, sleeps in the day, we barely saw him. 3 days later, he told us that his parents were coming back from their vacation tomorrow – MUMY IS COMING HOME. All in a sudden, we got a little nervous and started wondering what they were like. We decided to leave early in the morning and come back late at night that we wouldn’t get in the way and trouble them in any way.
The day after, when we came back from a long day touring Oia, we were completely shocked again: There was a hand-written note along with rose petals in our bed from Nick’s mother Katerina. It said that we were welcome to stay home if we want and won’t bother them. Meanwhile, we noticed that there were two pillows with pillow cases and two blankets neatly folded in bed (Before there was one pillow without pillow case and one blanket, Catherine took the pillow and I took the blanket for the previous 3 days).
Nick told us his mother was excited to meet us. We were deeply touched.
The next morning, we woke up and were welcomed by a beautiful smile from Katerina. I gave her a pair of earrings I made to thank her while she’s preparing breakfast for us, she was delighted and put them on immediately. They looked good on her. The oatmeal she made was the BEST oatmeal I have EVER had. No kidding. I don’t even like oatmeal.
She told us that she goes to the mountains and picks her own tea leaves sometimes . I tried a very strange looking one, it had a very particular strong taste, not necessarily my taste, but definitely worth trying. And I was fascinated with the fact that she not only pick her own tea leaves, she also pick her own herbs, and grow her own chilis.
That day was our last day in Santorini. We cooked a very nice meal to thank them, for everything. Katerina helped, she made salad and bread from scratch. I made onion chicken braised with wine and garlic fish, Catherine made tomato fried eggs. George opened the wine and prepared the table. We shared our culture and stories over delicious homemade food and laughter, the only thing that’s missing was Nick’s presence. He had other plans that day or it would have been perfect, he’s the reason we were sitting together. George told us the history of Santorini and how people suffered during the financial crisis, it brought us to tears. Nick has a little sister named Maria, she’s a flight attendant. Katerina told us a lot about her and was very proud to show us Maria’s photo book created by her photographer boyfriend. She is beautiful, just like her mother. Katerina even insisted to have us pick one of the hearts Maria made, that was so sweet of her and we couldn’t thank her enough. I picked the blue one with a stem and a flower, I thought it’s special.
Time went by fast, we had to leave and catch the ferry to Paros not long after lunch. They were so kind to drive us to the port and see us off. They told us that we are welcome any time, we’ll always have a home in Santorini whenever we go back. When I turned back to wave at them, the look on their faces reminded me of my own parents . My eyes got a little too moist.
A piece of me has left in Santorini.