On this day 26 years ago

Sunday Blog 130 – 7th April

Diary Entry, 7th April 1998, 11 Olibiados Street, Thessaloniki

It’s the morning. I awoke at 4 feeling distinctly queazy after dreaming about eating a mouthful of dried Earl Grey leaves and then trying to get rid of them by washing them down with water.

Anyway, that plus the very vivid dreams I’ve been having over the last two nights finally forced me to buying a kit, which is sitting next to my breakfast plate showing PREGNANT!!!!! Egads!

How on earth will I tell the Tall One?


I remember one reason it took me a so long to buy a pregnancy test was the cost. I took my meagre drachmas from my teacher’s salary to visit the corner pharmacy to get a pregnancy test. Did I imagine the staff member raising her eyebrows at the foreigner? The Anglida? See her thinking “How typical!” Or was that just my outsider imagination?

I remember taking time to puzzle out the consumer information leaflet all in Greek, waiting for the result after peeing on the stick. Sounding out the words, looking at the diagram. One dot is negative, two dots positive.

Two dots appeared. Bright. Much brighter than the leaflet. Miraculous dots to me. I remember my 33-year-old face in the mirror, sitting atop its ticking biological clock body. My face was wild, lit up with joy. The yelp of excitement ricocheted around the empty bathroom. 

I still have this quote written out and attached to this journal:

For generations, women accepted the role of legitimizing humans through marriage to a man. They agreed that a human was not acceptable unless a man said so.

Clara Pinkola Estes. Women Who Run With The Wolves

That night I met Zoe’s dad, I could have stayed home. Kept away from the Salonica nightclub full of ex-pats, travellers and locals who like to hang out with foreigners (aliens). There were so many nights I stayed home, often preferring a good book to the techno beats, having to shout inanities over the music, feet sore from standing, wallet emptied round by round. I was 33 after all.

Maybe my teacher buddy Chris wouldn’t have come out that night so he could be the bridge that introduced us.

“You’ll like Ilias. He’s been to Australia.”

Those words wouldn’t have been spoken. Perhaps I would’ve returned home to Perth in December 1998 as planned, without my beautiful watery stowaway, my daughter, in utero. Perth in December heat after nearly a decade of wintry orphan Christmases.

What, then, would I have done with my empty, aching womb? How could I have enacted my millennium plan of becoming a solo mama? Turkey basting my way to parenthood?

Or what if I’d stayed with in Greece with Ilias? Swallowed the caustic dose of bitterness and resentment daily? Squashed my life down into the only size and shape Salonica and Ilias allowed women to take? Let my daughter be fully bilingual, while I forever stalled and stumbled through the tangled web of Greek language?

But yes. I’m glad I entered the nightclub that night. I’m glad Chris was there to make sure I met Ilias. And I’m glad I fled with two heavy suitcases and one beautiful half-Greek toddler, back to our charmed Australian life.

Photo – 10 September 2023 – me at 11 Olibiados, the flat where I did the pregnancy test. My beautiful 25 year old daughter is taking the photo. We’re just there on a quick trip to visit her father. It all worked out, even though it didn’t.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *