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(Scenes of Saphia in Greece.)
SAPHIA: Remember how I said Greece is a hub of communalism? Well, on this trip, the communalism began before I arrived. Every summer for the last three years, I’ve spent about a month in Greece with my boyfriend and his family. And every summer for the last three years, I’ve seen up close how everything, down to the smallest assumptions, changes when you live in a communal society.
This first evidence of communalism this trip came in the form of the discussion of our rooming arrangements. My boyfriend’s childhood bedroom is too small for the two of us. I suggested a hotel. This was out of the question. Instead, it was assumed that my boyfriend’s cousin, who is more like a second brother to him as they all grew up together, should give up his apartment to us. I was horrified, I pleaded with my boyfriend, please, let’s stay in a hotel instead. I don’t want to be a bother. My boyfriend, confused and a bit horrified at the idea of explaining to his parents that I’d prefer a hotel—a sure insult—instead entered into negotiations with his cousin. They bartered, three days, no four, three nights and four days, alright, that’s fair, but leave it just as you found it. Of course.
In return, my boyfriend would take his cousin out to dinner. My boyfriend relayed this all to me with ease, his stomach not in the least bit knotted up, as mine was, at the idea of displacing someone from their apartment, of being a bother. The question was never if his cousin would give us his apartment but rather under what conditions. The whole family was involved, after all—it was my boyfriend’s mother who had first told her nephew to give us the place. And when I ran into the cousin in the stairwell and showered him with thanks, anxiously scanning his face for signs of resentment, he merely smiled and said, τίποτα (tipota)—it’s nothing.
(Fade to outro.)