• by XpatAthens
  • Thursday, 05 February 2015
Apples and Oranges

I spent the past week visiting family in Canada. My mother celebrated a milestone birthday, I hadn’t been for several years and I found a great seat sale. So I didn’t really mind that it was the beginning of the winter freeze in Toronto…


I had a lovely week, visiting with family, catching up with friends, visiting my old haunts. Toronto is modern, progressive, multicultural, an ‘advanced’ global city.  My oldest friends live there, and there is a lot to be said for the system, the mentality and the possibilities of life there…

However, it struck me rather quickly that I felt like a visitor – a strange feeling given that I was born there and in fact have spent most of my life there… The feeling of ‘this isn’t my home’ was front and centre for most of the week, which surprised me as much as it confused me.

I became aware very quickly of how different life in a big North American city is compared to life in Athens. I felt a constant and consistent sense of ‘stress’, of movement, of having to get somewhere, of having 1000 things to do and no time to do them, a feeling of fervor and ‘nervous’ energy. For some, this could feel like ‘ambition’.  For me, it felt chaotic and made me tired...

In the end, you cannot compare Athens and Toronto – there is nothing remotely similar, the scales are too far off.  It’s like comparing apples to oranges; they are both sort of round – but the comparison stops there.  And, like apples and oranges, Athens and Toronto are both really great places. But this trip reminded me that I love living in Athens, I choose to live in Athens, and enjoy it for what it is, rather than complain about what it’s not.

So I quickly stopped comparing and focused instead on enjoying my short time in Canada. I needed all my energy reserves to keep warm in the -10 degree weather (!)

My flight landed at 6:00pm on Sunday – whereupon I jumped into my friend’s car, headed straight to MoMa for a glass of wine, and marveled at the relaxed pace and absolutely balmy evening temperatures. I felt well and truly home.

Until next time,


In this weekly space, keep up with ‘Jack’ as he navigates daily life in Athens… Anecdotes, stories, hits & misses, the good, the bad and, well, the rest…