New Country, New Start – WIPpet Wednesday

There’s actually some dialogue in this week’s WIPpet – not a lot and some of it is in Greek, but I managed to find an extract from The Butterfly Storm that included dialogue and didn’t give much of the story away.

New starts can be challenging but in these 22 paragraphs that start on page 13 (for 2013) Sophie is relishing the fact that she’s left the UK behind and moved to Greece to be with Alekos. In the scene before this extract Sophie’s been picked up from the airport by Alekos and his mum and dad (Despina and Takis), and they’ve driven through the hot and manic streets of Thessaloniki and away from the city before finally arriving at Sophie’s new home. By the way, kapoozi means watermelon in Greek.

Alekos nudged me awake from where I dozed, rocking against his shoulder, my arm still encircling the cool, green skin of the kapoozi.

‘Home,’ he whispered. His breath tickled my ear.

‘I didn’t mean to fall asleep,’ I said, rubbing my eyes. The glare from the sun distorted my view. All I could see of my new home was a silhouette. The car slowed between open gates and crunched over gravel. Takis parked neatly in the shadow of the restaurant next to two other cars.

‘What do you think?’ Alekos asked. I scrambled out of the car after him. I shaded my eyes with my hand and savoured the elegance of the building with its arched windows, red-tiled roof and pale, caramel-stained walls.

‘I had no idea it was this beautiful,’ I said.

Alekos grinned and hooked his arm around my waist, pulling me towards him until I was pressed against his chest. ‘Are you happy?’

‘Happy doesn’t even come close,’ I said. His eyebrows scrunched in confusion. I kissed him. ‘I’m so happy I met you.’

He’d changed me. He’d made me question what I wanted, what life meant. He had dragged me out of the 9 to 5 rut. There was no normality about this place. Estiatorio O Kipos the sign above the restaurant entrance read. Alekos said it meant The Garden Restaurant. To me it meant a new life.

Takis dragged my luggage from the boot. Despina had disappeared inside and I heard her calling to someone. Alekos smiled and beckoned me towards the garden and sunshine.

Beyond the terrace there was a bar with the same red roof and warm-coloured walls as the restaurant. Olive trees lined the far edge of the garden, their intricately woven branches shading the seating below. I imagined couples getting cosy beneath the trees once darkness descended. The garden’s centrepiece was a fountain encircled by a wooden bench. The place was so quiet I could hear the trickle of water.

I’d swapped housemates for Alekos and his family, a flat above an off-licence for a bedroom above a first-class restaurant, a kitchen windowsill of ailing spider plants for a garden the size of a football pitch, and noise and traffic for fields that merged with the sky.

Aleko, pes tin Sophie gia tin dulia,’ Despina called from the restaurant steps.

Ochi tora, Mama.’

I looked at him. ‘What is it?’

Tipota. Nothing.’

‘Go on, tell me.’

He shrugged and pointed. ‘See the bar?’

I nodded.

‘That’s where you are going to work.’

‘I’m going to what?’

‘It’s decided. You won’t have to find a job. Mama thought it’d be easy for you.’

‘I don’t know enough Greek – any Greek yet.’

A couple of new WIPpeteers have joined us in the last week or two, so if you fancy jumping on the bandwagon and sharing your work in progress then why not join in too? Just select a section of your WIP that relates to the date, add your link to the linky that K L Schwengel hosts over on her fabulous blog and enjoy reading all the other wonderful WIPpet Wednesday posts – yes, it really is that easy.

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  1. “I’m going to what?” Yeah, that’s what I would have said, too! I love how descriptively you write. I have never been to Greece but can picture the scene so vividly.

  2. That would be rough, trying to work in a bar when you don’t speak the language! Greek sounds like a fun one to learn, though. I think Sophie must be very brave to make a move like this.

    • Greek is fun and a beautiful language to both read and write but it is so hard to learn (well, that’s my opinion anyway). Sophie is brave to move countries but she’s also in love… :-)

  3. I love this Kate! Such beautifully depicted scenery. I felt as though I were right there with the characters. I sensed Sophie’s unease at the end of the excerpt, that she’s unsure about working in the restaurant as she doesn’t know the language. I loved the line ‘I’d swapped housemates for Alekos and his family’ etc., just the great way you have Sophie comparing everything in her mind. I’m exactly the same. :)

    • Thanks Elaine – that line ‘I’d swapped housemates for Alekos and his family…’ really sums up how Sophie is feeling about her life right at that moment. It’s great that her unease came across too.

  4. Chuckle, chuckle. Everything is so lovely and idyllic, and then you get to the last line. It’s like the scratched record in a movie.

    • Yes, a move to beautiful and idyllic Greece with Alekos and his family may or may not be all it’s cracked up to be…

  5. There’s definitely no doubt that you’re setting Sophie up for some problems here. The calm before the storm?

  6. I don’t think that’s “nothing”, Alekos! “Wait, what?!” would be my reaction, too!

    I love the descriptions of the house, and the comparison between Sophie’s old life and new. It sounds gorgeous!

  7. Nice Kate! You do dialogue so well. I love how you capture her excitement, anticipation, and nervousness all at once.

  8. Living with and working for the inlaws… I’m so glad she is in love with Alekos.

    Your descriptions are beautiful and I have a great sense of this place from the WIPpet. It’s also such a contrast to your earlier WIPpet set by the English seaside.

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