I just spent Easter with my Greek family in Piraeus.
After all the doom and gloom in the media I expected the worst - derelict shops, depressed faces and general chaos.
I couldn't have been further from the truth.
When I looked upon the bluest waters of the port of Piraeus basking in the sun - Easter time is like British summer - I fully appreciated the richness of my fatherland.
The cafes were still bustling with life, gesticulating families strolling along the port and undoubtedly the most delicious Easter weekend I have ever had.
I grew up in Greece and know how important this festival is - it is their Christmas. Easter in Orthodox religion as in others is about passing over and renewal. My dad used to prepare the lamb for the spit at crack of dawn and we gathered together to commune and share in the feast.
Back in France and in the UK it feels like the message of Easter is lost irrespective of religion. It is a Creme Egg-stravganza or a marketing ploy for Waitrose or Monoprix to flog extra bunches of tulips.
This weekend it seemed as if rebirth was happening before my very eyes in Greece.
Their government may have taken away their riches - the city was dirtier and pockets definitely emptier - but it has not broken their spirit. If anything it has galvanised the country into action.
Yes everyone is feeling the economic pinch. Luxuries are for the moment out. No holidays. No big presents. But they really don't care.
The simplicity of the Greek way of living and the depth of their thinking are priceless and worth all their marble.
On Easter morning we took a freddocino overlooking the port, basking in the sun. My uncle and my beau smoked cigars and we had the most inspiring debate. We discussed the meaning of Pasqua, passover, logic and faith. We talked about the afterlife and the footprint of mankind.
My uncle's wife had then prepared traditional Pasqua fayre - roast lamb, salata choriatiki, garlicky tzatziki and special home made bread. All brought from Giagia's (Grandma's) local village near Olympia.
She came down to Athens by bus so goodness only knows how she lugged the lamb there. It was fresh from the land and would have only cost a few euros. But it was prepared and cooked for hours with loving care by the whole family.
Eggs are dyed red, decorated and then smashed with the words Christos Anesti - Christ is risen. The winner's remains intact. It was a perfect metaphor for their indestructible spirit.
It was a nourishing experience in every way. I look at our habits in France and the UK. They are based too much on the material, in my personal opinion. Kids are glued to expensive digital devices and conversation topics end up being vaporous. Who will win The Voice? Who cares?
Sitting in the land of Plato and Sophocles I know that my people will deal with this financial blow with stoicism and wisdom. They will draw on the ancient tools of democracy and philosophy to help them carve a way out of the mess. They will choose the right government in the imminent election and make the right choices for their future.
The Greeks deserve praise, not scorn. They have contributed so much to civilisation so far - socio-political systems and language - not to mention all the ancient sculptures and relics we proudly display in our museums.
I pledge that we all try and help our neighbours. Spend your next vacation there and I promise that you will come back with more than a tan.
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