Friday, 24 July 2015

Greece in Crisis - Boiling a frog

I have often used this phrase when thinking about our life in Greece: it's been like boiling a frog.

A frog sitting on the handle of a saucepan, which is sitting on an electric hob, which is glowing red.
"Frog and saucepan" by James LeeFormerIP at en.wikipedia 
The idea is this: if you put a frog in a saucepan and gradually turn the heat up, the frog fails to notice the change and stays in the pot eventually being boiled alive. Although it seems that the premise is scientifically wrong, it is a very strong image that conveys exactly the issues we are facing in Greece at the moment. 

For the last five years change for the worse has been constant. Schools have slowly been deteriorating, unemployment has been increasing, the roads have been falling apart, hospitals have been closing. It has been happening slowly, but steadily. 

My husband and I often talk about leaving, but obviously have not done so yet. People back in the UK ask us why (if I'm honest sometimes we ask ourselves why) but it is hard to explain. Our quality of life, which is more than hospitals and queues at ATMs, is great here. We live in the countryside, in a wonderful house that we own (and that we certainly couldn't afford anywhere else). We have a large garden and a wonderful view. We wake up to birds singing and go to sleep with the cicadas' sound. We work close to home in jobs that we both love. We have the time to spend with each other and our kids. Our two boys are growing up with some extended family, more than they would have for sure, if we lived somewhere other than here or South Africa. 

We have stayed through the steady decline and we have often argued about when the right time to leave might be. Because the problem is, we could get trapped. Moving countries with two kids (and dogs) is expensive, and we would ideally like to do it not as poor economic migrants, but by making a positive step for our future, by being able to choose, by being employable. 

And so it goes on... The change, so far, has been gradual. Saying that, I cannot help but wonder if we will soon be in hot water... 

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