Two decades ago, my uncle built a small two bedroom house on some land that my family owns on the island of Ikaria. My grandparents had four children: the oldest lived on the other side of the island in a house her husband built, the second oldest-my dad-moved to the United States, the third oldest lived in Athens where he worked as a professor, and the youngest lived in the house my grandparents built.
My uncle, the third oldest, built this small house on the island so he would have a place to stay when he visited from Athens. At the time his children were teenagers, so one bedroom had bunkbeds for them. The bedrooms were only large enough to hold beds, but in the small houses there was a bathroom, a shower, a small basic kitchen, and a living-dining room combo. It also overlooked the ocean, which was just minutes away on foot down a rocky hill.
Although the house was built to be a family get-a-way, when I arrived in September of 2016, it had no been used in sixteen years. The first few days were spent cleaning the interior, trimming the wild thorny bushes that had consumed the outside, and draining and re-filling the water tank. It was backbreaking work, but once it was done the house was finally livable.
We spent several weeks here on our vacation. There were some odd quirks, no doors on the bedrooms or bathrooms, sand mysteriously creeping in no matter how much we swept, a few bug critters every now and then, but there was so much to love.