Suddenly dumped, a heartbroken American ex-pat stays on in
Greece, confronting culture shock, crisis, and the charm of Mediterranean men
as she redefines the true meaning of home.
When Ava Martin’s new husband unexpectedly ditches her
months after they’ve relocated across the world to Greece, the heartbroken
American ex-pat isn’t sure where home is anymore. On the verge of flying back
to the States with her tail between her legs, she makes an abrupt decision to
follow her gut instead and stay on in Greece. She soon discovers that the
tumultuous, culture-rich Mediterranean country is coloring her life in a way no
place else can, changing her forever. But is it where she belongs?
Ava’s newfound independence throws her into the thick of
Athenian reality, where she has brushes with violent police riots and gets a
taste of both the alluring islands and the city nightlife. Despite pressure
from her mother, uncertainty over her impending divorce, and unresolved issues
with her long-estranged father weighing on her, she’s determined to make it on
her own. With the help of two very colorful Greek friends, she laughs and
learns while facing culture shock, language barriers and the charm of
Mediterranean men, until a life-threatening medical emergency back home in
sleepy Ithaca, N.Y., forces her to decide where she truly belongs – and what
Within a minute, I found myself face-to-face with the Greek
police. I raised an eyebrow noticing that they also happened to be three
handsome twenty-something rookies, each sporting the typical young Greek
masculine look: short, dark brown hair, and scruffy, day-old facial hair.
Dressed alike in crisp, navy blue uniforms and black combat boots, they stood
up at the sight of us. Two had stopped swinging their koumbolois, a string of rosary- like beads that Greek men carry
around, oftentimes clicking and petting out of habit. The third police officer
put down his iced coffee, which Greeks called a frappe.
The officers eyed me up and down as the ticket officer
caught them up on the story of my transgressions. I yearned to catch some
meaning, but the Greek sounded like Greek to me and too fast.
“Mr. Panos say you left your wallet at home,” one officer
said in perfectly clear English. Finally, there was someone who spoke my
language well. Perhaps, there was hope. “You walk in Greece with no diavatirio.” He cleared his throat
before he corrected himself. “Passport?”
“All of my ID cards were in my wallet and I was in a rush,”
I said, wide- eyed. “Besides, I’ve been living here for seven months now.”
He looked unimpressed. “Name?”
“Um, thirty.” I bit my lip wondering why that mattered.
“Really?” He narrowed his eyes at me. In my rush out the
door, I threw on a pair of baggy jeans, a green T-shirt, and my blue Converse.
I looked like a college student; adults my age usually dressed to impress. But
I hadn’t been feeling very adult lately, to be honest. It was clear that this
officer thought I was a complete liar. My hopes sank.
“Thirty, yes,” I confirmed.
The officer glanced at his two co-workers who gave him a
look I didn’t understand. He composed himself to return his attention to me.
“Married?” he asked quite professionally.
Silly question but it was a common inquiry even among Greek
strangers, so why not from a police officer?
“Yes, my husband isn’t in Athens this week.” I resisted the
urge to add something about the fact that Greg was never home lately. But I had enough sense to realize that
airing my marriage’s dirty laundry probably wasn’t going to make the situation
The officer lifted his dark brows with interest. “He is a
Greek?” “No, we’re both American. I’m from New York and I’m here with Greg
Brown, my husband.” The officer shot me a glance, his lips pressed flat. Did he
not believe me?
Then it came to me. “Oh, I never changed my last name. He’s
Brown and I’m Martin, but we’re together…together forever,” I heard myself say
in a singsongy voice.
He looked at the bus officer then back at me, his face
emotionless. I cupped my hands together in front of me. “He’s in Rome, I
think.” My voice began to crack. Why did I have to say his name? Why did I have
to talk about us? Maybe, I just gave
up too much information. I talked too much sometimes. In any case, Greg and I
had hardly talked, Skyped, Facebooked, Vibered, Whatsapped, or even e-mailed
for the past two weeks. I wished he could’ve helped me but he wouldn’t have
even answered his phone if I had called.
“How we know you say the truth?” The officer’s blunt
question jolted me back to reality. “I promise,” I said, realizing that it
sounded entirely lame. “I swear. I’m American, and lately, I’m behaving like a
total moron.” As if promising and swearing to be an American moron could be a
legitimate argument. I flinched. Gosh, I’d put me in jail.