The better part of my adult life has been taken up with the questions, thoughts, and conversations that have culminated in this book. Just as my field notebooks are littered with the scraps of letters to faraway friends, this manuscript contains for me memories of people I love and many more I wish I had come to know better. Their contributions to this book have been fundamental.
Upon my arrival in Athens, the unflappable staff and committed language instructors at the Athens Centre served as my welcoming committee. Eleni, Frosso, and Koralia exercised my Greek and validated my research plans; Dora Papaïoannou became a friend and confidant. Caroline Littell followed my life in Athens from that excruciatingly jet-lagged first week to the bittersweet end nearly two and a half years later, and she graciously lent me her flat when I returned during the scorching summer of 1998.
Many kind folk took time out from their busy schedules to guide me in Athens. I am especially indebted to the generosity and interest of Fotini Dimitiadou, Tasso Gaitani, George Kindis, Eftyhia Leontidou, Merope Michaeleli, Eleni Pambouki, and Haris Symeonidou. David Turner schooled me on Orthodox thought and practice. Chloe Dondos and Eurydice Spiropoulou helped me transcribe and translate interview tapes, often adding their own insightful commentary in parentheses. Dimitra GefouMadianou introduced me to the Department of Anthropology at Panteion University. With Marina Iossifides I enjoyed helpful expatriate anthropological conversations. Joanna Skilogianis, conducting related research toward her doctorate at Case Western University, was a source of support and inspiration. Nia Georges, Peter Loizos, and Ritsa Veltsai have been valuable interlocutors at various stages. I especially thank Michael Herzfeld for the generous help and encouragement he has provided me over the years since