August 1993– I close my eyes and leave my mind to wander to memories of summers past. Our first summers alone without our parents, when you were fifteen, seventeen years old. The first flirtations and hanging out with boys, the sand warming your body, and you were looking at me with that ironic gaze that says everything and nothing at the same time. I remember laughing with a group of friends who I never saw after that summer. We gathered on the beach in Saronida, little shits that we were, lost in our over active hormones and feeling that we knew it all. Only Sophia is left of these friends, and acquaintances, in a life that seems like a dream now. Whenever I pass by Saronida bay I think of them and wonder what they might be doing now.
August 1995– I close my eyes again and I’m transported to my first summers in Mykonos, at the Caprice bar in little Venice, the full moon rising, the water glistening with its reflection and the sun casting a beautiful gold glow over the water’s surface. I danced on that bar at age six and age 36 for the last time. Now it feels like a lifetime and part of a long gone chapter of of my life. ( I’ts better that way I say to myself, we are due for a new chapter anyway) I got to know this island through thick and thin, in its glory and its demise, through its most shining beauty and its darkest, most evil secrets. I understood how sweet a summer can be after a very bitter and disappointing winter. As I sit on my balcony near Lia beach, overlooking Kalafatis Bay and the Divounia mountains, I reflect on the past and the present of this amazing island and all the craziness it holds in its heart. I always reminisce of the years it was “still ours” and not so full of crappy tourists.
There is where my friendship with my “big sister” Vivian was born in the summer of 2009. There is where we were adopted by our bohemian, beach family, where we discovered out paradise and our “home”. I won’t tell you which beach it is, its for the tested and the loyal few who can respect and love it. There I met with lovers and summer flings, and dark conniving people, and amazing friendships that last a lifetime… A whole microcosm in a small Cycladic island.
August 1994- I distinctly remember that wretched summer in Andros island. I got horribly sick with food poisoning after eating their local delicacy Froutalia. I was throwing up most of the night, and the fever had me chained to my bed when everyone else was at the beach. The people I was with were unbearable, so I left the next day leaving behind both the island the the bad company forever. Thankfully the curse on the island didn’t last long. Some years later I went to visit a life long friend, and as we sat on her balcony, cooking, drinking wine and reading poetry, I fell in love with the grandeur and nobility of this shipping beauty of the Cyclades.
August 2016- I visited the island again with two of my sister soul mate girlfriends. Two incredible women who I can safely say are the most fun, incredible company for any island adventure, because lets be honest, you should only go on vacation with your soul brothers and sisters.
August 2009- I met the group of friends, the beach and the location that would change my life. That year I met the island that would change everything about how I saw Greece and its rugged, untamed beauty forever. Southern Crete, Sweet water beach, 20 friends gathered that night; they swept me away, I flirted after two years in a very difficult and dead end relationship, he kissed me passionately, I let the waves and their laughter take me away; they insisted I change my plants; stay a few more days. I stayed all night until the dawn, I let you touch me and hold me and I knew full well that we would never meet again. I will go again this summer, to the same tavern on the sea, with my love, inside my heart and all around me. I will walk the whole way from the main town to that magical beach from the rocky dangerous mountain path, take off my shoes, my clothing and turn off my phone and let the Libyan sea hold me forever. Many things have changed since that summer in 2009, yet one thing remains the same… There is a double Greek coffee with a little sugar and a home made sweet waiting for me at Despina’s cafe… (She’s promised me a spot in front of the sea and I can’t wait to get there)
August 2004 Olympic Games in Athens- Before that summer, we were 400 strangers. After four months of rehearsals under the hot Athenian sun we were a team, a family, a community. We danced together, we laughed and cried together, we were proud together. I had a horrible time taking that damn white thick paint off my face and body at the end of each rehearsal, but it was the most beautiful journey and experience of my entire life. I remember not caring that the stifling August sun was beating down on us at the rehearsal space in Aspropyrgos, because somehow we all knew we would be a part of something so historically amazing and memorable, we would be talking about it for generations to come. The Olympic stadium, lit up the warm August nights. We lived through an experience that brought us all together as a country body and soul, and for the first time in our lifetime we were really proud to be Greek. I still keep in touch with some of my fellow volunteer performers after 13 years, I do hope they are all well and happy.
August 2017- Counting down the days…. to meet up at old side streets, to feel the hot summer sun on my skin, to go mad with the sound of secadas after an afternoon at the sea. To share drinks at my favorite spots in Athens, to walk up to my old apartment in Petralona and reminisce. To siesta with the soft wind blowing through my window, after a brilliant meal near the beach with friends. This year will be the most beautiful summer of all, close to friends of a lifetime, close to familiar neighborhoods, with my people, who fill my soul, close to friends who make us forget and remember every August and every summer before.
Cheers and Happy summer to all.