February 6, 2024

An American Family in Crete

An American Family in Crete

Veteran FC Barista and lifelong iconoclast Jason Brick moved his family and his writing to the Greek Island of Crete for a year to learn about another people and their culture. We were delighted to hear about his Odyssey and eager to find out what it was like, so Jack interviewed Jason recently and got these comments and photos back to share with you, our faithful Coffee Clubbers. Please share your Comments and ask Jason any questions you may have. He’ll be back.

Jack: What in the heck are you doing in Crete?

Jason: I’ve brought my family to Greece for a year so we can experience what it’s like to live in a country and a culture distinct from America. We’re on the island of Crete, which is off the coast of mainland Greece—the land where people 2,500 years ago created democracy.

Jack: That’s wonderful to hear, especially because of the turbulent and divisive times we live in. You’re in Chania, right?

Jason: Stalos, actually. It’s a small beach town near Chania, in the way Hillsboro (my home town in Oregon) is near Portland.

Jack: How’s the weather? You’re in the Mediterranean so I guess it’s pretty nice and sunny and warm most of the time.

Jason: The weather is gentle, though this morning we had a thunderstorm. Most of the days have been high-60s, low-70s, with a light breeze. We have to watch for sunburn, but it’s comfortable most of the time. 

Jack: What are the people like?

Jason: The people here are gentle, kind and patient, happily (or so politely I can’t tell the difference) watching me struggle with my limited Greek, then giving me the answers I need in strong English. They joke with my son Gabriel, and are chivalrous with my wife Rachel. They smile and joke. Even my butcher makes puns. 

Jack: Crete is renowned for its food and the Mediterranean Diet.

Jason: We’ve heard there’s a McDonald’s in Heraklion, a few hours from here, but as you can see we enjoy the outdoor cafe atmosphere. There are tons of little places like this to eat and drink. If I have a complaint, it’s that the food is also gentle. I spent my food-formative years in New Mexico eating Hatch chilis, and my last international travel year was in Southeast Asia. So I like my bites to have some authority. Cretan food is delicious, but their “spicy” packs about as much heat as a Big Mac. 

Jack: I expect you’ve done a fair amount of touring and sightseeing. What are a few of your favorites?

Jason: Balos Bay, not too far from home. You hike half an hour through a landscape that feels like a moon, then you’re in this bifurcated bay with perfect swimming and astonishing views. 

Jack: That island looks intriguing.

Jason: It can be a day-long adventure.

Jack: What else have you done?

Jason: Venetian Harbor, the old city of Chania. I’ve been a professional wordsmith for 25 years now, and I can’t do it justice. You can walk or you can rent a three-wheeled e-bike or a Segway. Another favorite was hiking in Mili Gorge and seeing the abandoned ruins of a once-prosperous watermill grain town. There’s this beautiful beach in a canyon where the swimming is great — but goats will eat your food and clothes if you’re not careful.

Jack: Sounds like you’re having eventful times. We can’t wait to hear more.

Jason: It’s all been an adjustment for me. I’m not a gentle man, and I tend to stack my time pretty heavily. I’m a bit of a fish out of water with life here, but it’s growing on me. I dunno if you’ve ever been here, Jack, but you should definitely visit Crete. 

Jack: That’s a superb idea. Can I stay with you guys? 🙂 Let’s talk again soon!

Jason: antío gia tóra!

#crete#greece#interview#jason brick#travel

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