Day 19. It’s the simple things.

It’s day 7 of voluntary social distancing here in New York and staying at home has been a challenge and a blessing. Now we have all the time in the world to focus on the things that we could never catch up on before. Time has become a loose and fluid entity these past few days. Hence why I’ve taken a couple of days off the daily challenge to just reflect and connect with my breath and my thoughts and write something different.

I’ve slowed down so much from my previous rhythms, that I’ve had so much more time to reflect on what really matters here and what doesn’t. There are opportunities in this global health crisis we can’t afford to miss. We’ve been either forced to stop what we were doing before but also take stalk of what the hell we’ve been doing to our planet to each other and ultimately our own health. We’re nothing next to this enemy within.

We’ve been told to stay home, help the collective good for once instead of the personal gain. We’re going stir crazy in our forced solitude, and all of a sudden it’s become a reflection on the little things. That is all that truly is on my mind these days. The grind has stopped and sharing a cherished moment talking to a loved one has taken ultimate priority over anything else.

I ( hope) know this too shall pass but we’re at a pivotal point in our existence and the space we inhabit and no amount of analysis will change it. Here’s a few things I’ve taken from the past

In the past week, I’ve cooked a home made meal for me and my housemate every night. I’ve listen to music and read a book with so much attention I forgot to stop at 2 am. I’ve stretched and moved with my friends in Athens who are also cooped up in their homes without any clear idea of when this will end. And all that I am craving is the little things that make life worth living.

The delicate and personal, the memories and the things we share with those we most cherish. The beauty of this planet and the connections we build. The smell of a home cooked meal and the clink of a glass of wine with friends in a shared tavern table just at the foot of the Agean sea. The crisp folding of a page from a book I can’t put down and the feeling of clean air against my face. Quiet mornings sipping a cup of coffee with my family before the day unfolds. No amount of technology can replace it although taking to friends and family daily is of utmost importance. The list of little things is like a treasure trove that we nibble at when all the supplies have been depleted. And here we are cherishing all that we took for granted. Living what we thought was a given and saying all we thought was understood.

Let’s hope we share on those small joys more often.

Onwards to day 20.

Gotham’s Magic- A love learned.

How to Seek for Novelty in the Familiar.

Grand Central 8:00 am

Living in one place long enough, you forget to see it with curious fresh eyes. You walk up the same train station, drive the same route to work, take the same street to your yoga practice, gym, dance class; go to the same cafe or bar for a drink with friends. None of this is bad per se. There is something beautiful, comforting even, about the familiar faces and places you encounter every day. Yet shaking up the pot ignites renewed curiosity in a place that has become part of your everyday life.

Prospect Park Winter Sun

I challenge myself to the newness of things in order to avoid getting into a much dreaded rut. Daily life is not often full of wonder, unless we make a concentrated effort. Practice, go to work, teach, give massages, come home, cook, write. Rinse and Repeat. I try to stay true to my commitment to novelty, curiosity and keeping a fresh eye on things I see everyday. The reason? I have to gaze at things with absence of predictive air, feeding my need to stay present so I don’t get lost in the same story line. So I don’t get lost in myself.

sunburst sunday rush

Routines, set schedules, predictable outcomes can be equal part comforting and a trap. Looking up at that special moment when all you want to do is bury yourself in the same thing over and over again requires a little extra effort. I say this because falling in love with a place you don’t consider your home requires effort, presence and a sense of wonder. Falling in love with it when it’s all you know is twice as challenging.

Brooklyn- Manhattan Q Train

New York is not an easy broad ( and for me she IS a broad— not a lady, or a missus, or a woman she’s a broad with whatever images you care to understand reflect that characteristic).

East Side light.

She is harsh, unromantic and somewhat uglypretty. ( a Greek word not really translatable “ασχημόρμοφη” ) a trait she shares with my hometown Athens, who’s femininity is always cast over with a shadow of the unkempt or wild. Taking her for granted and ignoring her nuanced beauty is easy to miss. She’s not glamorous or sexy like Paris or Rome but she’s enchanting, and when you take a moment to notice; she will make you fall in love with her. Unlike my love for Athens, which is in my blood, my love for New York has been peppered with anger, loneliness, pure joy, grittiness and forgiveness. New York is a cinematic love, Athens is a poetic one.

Astor Place – Cooper Union
The witching hour- Soho

Living and learning to love a city that is not my place of birth is about a deeper kind of love. It’s about understanding the hustle, the grind, and the soul of this metal giant, as the facade of its deep felt inherent kindness and humanity. Some days it takes effort and patience not reserved for your average New Yorker …. but just like I’m not your average Athenian, I’m certainly not your average New Yorker.

Belonging to this city is a work in progress, and like most die heard New Yorkers will never miss a chance to state that: you don’t deserve to be called one unless you’ve spit blood, sweat and tears for it. Noticing it’s magic, however belongs to everyone regardless of socioeconomic status, birthplace, or location. Ive learned to love New York as I hade learned to love myself. She has become a part of me and I a part of her, and every now and then she enchants me, this gal of mine.

Brooklyn- home ( away from Home)

Day 1. Your First Memory

Μνημοσύνη- Mnemosyne the goddess of remembrance and memory.

What is memory and when does it begin?

I had a discussion with my parents last weekend about which memories we clearly remember as our own and which ones are the telling of others. We concluded that recalling our first memory was a much more interesting exploration of self.

After looking back at various random events in our lives, all of us recalled or brought to light our first conscious awareness of our surroundings; what was happening and who we might have been with.

Each one of us almost felt that somehow, in that moment our brain just woke up and started recording our history, like the light was turned on in our consciousness and we began to form memories, personalities and a self. For all of us it also was nothing dramatic or traumatic ( for others maybe) just a moment in time that stuck to our memory bank.

For me the biggest question of our discussion was:

Why is it that we can’t recall anything before our third or forth year of existence?

I’m sure there are plenty of amazing neuroscientists around the world who know the scientific answer to that question.

For those who are curious, pass the question along. And while we’re here;

Do you recall your first memory?

Did I miss the boat?



The coming of spring always brings with it moments of reflection, renewal, and shedding the old proverbial skin. Spring is about replacing, restructuring and doing away with many of the things we may have buried in our winter minds.

How do we measure a happy life? How do we measure a successful one?

How do we know that we are on the right path to self realization, and our “highest self”?

There are moments that all these thoughts keep circulating in my head, after many years of practicing yoga, going to mindfulness workshops and trying to figure out what is the best path in life, and am I on it?

I’ve been thinking where I’ve been and where I’m going, what I’ve accomplished, what I set out to do and didn’t complete, what roads I have traveled that lead to places I didn’t expect to go to, and what lies ahead as I approach my 40th year on this planet.

I spoke to a friend I’ve known for almost 20 years, and as I usually do;

I asked her… “are you happy?”

Her answer of course didn’t surprise me as I’ve thought exactly the same thing.

She relented: ” I’m getting older, I am very lonely at times, my parents are getting older. I fear for their health and well being, I wonder what it is I’ve really accomplished in this life. I’ve not had a family, and do I still have time to have one? I feel like I’ve missed the boat” she said.

As we approach those ages, where the “milestones” of accomplishment are not always visible;  we are unfairly placed against a timeline of who and what we “should be”. I related with my friend’s conundrum, as I’m sure many of us do. I don’t like this feeling of getting older having not reached those “milestones”. I am weary of my parents getting older and having to take care of them in their later years. I try to “snap out of it”; I told my friend, and remind myself of the journey that has led us all here. The wonderful projects I’ve participated in as an artist, a yoga teacher, a performer and now as of late a beginner writer, often allude me when I’m at a loss for what’s next.

It’s perfectly acceptable to face our fears, our loneliness, and our realizations of “have I done anything useful with my life? We are facing an age where the expectations weigh heavy. In Greece women my age “should” have had kids by now, they “should” have settled down and figured it all out, and the wild and free and unsettled energy that women have is often quashed for a more “sensible” family oriented path. Yet there are beautiful examples to the contrary.

I don’t want to be misunderstood as some “desperate wannabe housewife”, waiting for her turn to be realized. Women now more than any other time are allowed to be whatever the hell they want, do whatever they want, and navigate their lives in their own way, and yet there is something in all of us that wonders…

Have I done enough? Who will take care of me? Is THIS all there is? Am I successful enough? Did I miss the boat? 


Even the most confident women I know have admitted to me, after much objection to the contrary, that these thoughts cross their minds from time to time, for what is this life without, personal accomplishment, companionship, friendship, camaraderie and a deep understanding that we can beautifully navigate this life with others beside us.

Have you met your expectations?

Did you set out goals that you didn’t manage to accomplish?

Day 13. Friendship

Post 13 of 27– Friendship

Today I’m in a sour mood because I hear the word friend and friendship being tossed around a lot lately, by people who either are not understanding the parameters of friendship or abuse its meaning. Much like the word love… when overused; it loses its weight, its potency, and its value.

Friendship is a heavy word for me. It encompasses loyalty, commitment, care, sacrifice, love, trust, honesty, and humility. All the ingredients that any real romantic relationship should have minus the sex !  True friends are hard to come by, they are there for you when shit hits the fan, not just to be your fan. They are there for you when you feel dis empowered; not only to show their power. They are there for you when your dreams are bigger then theirs, they don’t look down on your success as their failure. They care for you, even though you are vulnerable and unable to care for yourself. Friendship isn’t a fan club, its not an opportunity for personal advancement or self promotion, its not about dependency. If your friends are only there when they need flattery and sugar coating then they are fair weather friends. We have all seen those.


Acquaintances I have many, but my friends are the trusted guardians of my heart and soul, even more than a lover or a romantic partner. Friends are my family, my rock. Those who’ve been around are there for lifetimes, and even though we may not see each other every day; we speak every day, on the phone or in a letter or in a picture. There is a deep bond that I share with the people I call my friends. Like soil they are cultivated over time. Like flowers they are cared for and appreciated in the good times and the bad. Like the custodians of my deepest secrets, fears and needs; they guide me when I need their counsel. They have proven their staying power and their worth, as I have done for them. Those friends who didn’t believe in me or cherish my friendship to them didn’t remain friends long.

There is a unwritten rule that defines all friendships and I’m fairly certain any fair weather friend would not stand for long against it. A quote by a motivational speaker I heard recently; is apropos to my rant about friendship today. Friendship is a most sacred bond, it’s a promise, it’s a pact, it’s a connection deeper than any of its kind.

So ask yourself:

“If friendship is the only thing you had to offer, who would still be your friend?” T. Shelton  

Day 12. Nostalgia

Day 12 of 27. What is Nostalgia to you?

When thinking of this feeling of deep longing, I always refer to a specific part of a poem written by the Greek poet C. P Cavafy in 1911.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.



It all starts with a pull. A tug in your heart and mind towards a place that you love, a place that you miss, the aromas that bring you to a certain afternoon with a coffee and the smell of jasmine floating trough the air. It’s the longing for your home; the familiar; the place that we all leave and sometimes take years to go back to. Yet the journey away is far more important than the return. The journey changes you, and even though you cling to images of your past and aromas that make you yearn for the things you miss the most; the journey away from all that you love, can and does change you for the better. Nostalgia is a deep pain that no matter how many places I’ve been, how many trips I take and how many places I’ve lived; it is as strong as the first day I left my home. I look at images of Athens and I just can feel the spring breeze wafting through the eucalyptus tree in my grandmother’s garden at 4pm after a siesta. I remember the feeling of the water after a long summer swim. There is no water like the Mediterranean sea and that is the smell of Nostalgia for me.

Nostos- Longing to return / Going toward the place you love

Algos- The sweet pain of separation from that place.

What does Nostalgia mean to you?


L.O.V.E – 10 things

This is a flash posting for all you lovers out there. It’s Feb 14th and for whatever reason this constructed holiday brings a lot of people to a depressed state, but not me. I have found that it reaffirms my belief in the things, the people, and the places I love. It shows me that whatever brings me joy,  also strengthens the love I have to share with others. I don’t need a red rose or a chocolate heart to tell me that,  and certainly not one single day. So here is my list of 10 things I absolutely love… What is love for you?


  • Travel– I love traveling. It makes my heart feel full, my mind expand and my horizons broaden. Whenever I get to travel and see old and new places it makes me happy, content, complete and reunited with those I love around the globe.
  • Sunsets– Yes the Romantic in me loves them, and every chance I get to see one it makes me smile, take in the beauty of this world and reconnect with nature
  • Daybreak– Even better than sunsets are the first hours of each day. I love the colours of the sun rise; the possibility and joy they bring to each day and when those colors are bursting out of the sky,  it’s immaculate and beguiling as anything else I can possibly think of.
  • Friends-  Yes I love them more than life itself. They bring me joy, they comfort me in sorrow, they keep me grounded, they love me as I am, and in no other way. They give me love when I need it the most, and they share the best and the worst. They lend a hand when I feel lost, they laugh at me when I’m silly and stupid, and cry with me with I feel like shit. Friendship is as sacred as all the gold in the world and I would not trade it for anything.
  • Family– my mother and father. They are the backbone and the anchor of my existence. They let me fly and grab my hand when I fly too close to the sun ( Ikaros beware!) I have learned patience, humility, perseverance and gratitude and I’ve also learned from their mistakes. They are not perfect and no one is, but they let me see their imperfections and for that I love them more.
  • Springtime in any part of the world- In the depth of winter when were all depressed and needing more sun, spring brings such joy at the end of a harsh winter season… flowers, aromas and colors come to life. No wonder the ancient Greeks dedicated the myth of Persephone and her return to her mother Demetra upon being abducted by Hades the god of the underworld.
  • Cooking– I grew up in a household where food was a conversation starter, a party focus and the star of a family gathering. Cooking has become the connective tissue between my time here in New York, my traveling around the world and my home in Greece. Food speaks, it connects, it builds relationships and cooking for others is my greatest joy.
  • Reading- A good book, poetry, an article that will enrich my knowledge a letter from a friend. (that last one is probably my most favorite)
  • Music- I’ve made music lists in the past but there is always a song, a melody a verse in my head. I wake up to music, I fall asleep to it, I drive with music, I cook with music, I write with music. Music is my mistress, my companion and my friend.
  • ART.  I kept this for last… because its a multi part last item on my list. Art with a capital A and all that, that entails. I grew up as a dancer so movement and dance is my biggest love, but visual, performing, architecture, film, writing, and anything that can be placed under this category is one of my biggest loves. In this last category I will include some of my favorite artists who inspire me and make me want to be a better artist.
  • Ohad Naharin— One of my favorite choreographers of all time
  • Edgar Degas– Yes the one the only. His paintings and sculptures of dancers were my constant inspiration as a young dancer.
  • Kiki Dimoula– Greek poet. Her work is haunting, loving, laconic, and deeper than any other poet of her generation.
  • Zaha Hadid– Architect and an incredible artist. She constantly broke all boundaries in art and design.
  • Marina Abramović – she is an incredible performance artist who time and time again has challenged her audiences, the status quo and the performing arts world.
  • Os Gemeos– Brazilian street artists who have painted murals all over the world. Incredible talent and beauty!
  • Ino- Is a Greek street artist who has become renowned all over the world. His art is haunting, inspired, classical, modern and everything in between. Check him out!

What of L.O.V.E?  Love is everywhere, unbound, immeasurable and abundant. It’s not just in a card or a bouquet of flowers, but in everything that we choose to do. It is our navigating system, our driving force our medicine, our pain, our connection to every other person on this planet. For what are we without Love?

Happy love days everyone. 



2017 Fuck You…. And Thank You TOO





You were quite possibly the most abysmal, disgusting, disappointing, disenchanting, disillusioning, dysfunctional, dystopian year. Oh you know what you’ve done. You started out ever so shy and unassuming, but you rocked the boat so much we were collectively puking in our barf bags.  And you know what?? Thank fucking god. It was the best and worst thing that could ever happen to us, them, me.

Only a few days remain in this epic fail of a year. Politically it’s a nightmare around the world, and more so in the United States. People are suffering more than ever before, and there seems to be a collective confusion about everything that is surrounding us. Yet despite all that, I must sit down and be brutally honest, not only with myself but with you my dear, loyal and amazing readers. This was the worst and best year of my life. I began it with a notion that things could be better, and I was greeted with slap after slap after slap and a bunch just in case I had any other positive ideas. At some point I felt like I was in a 10 round fight with Muhammad Ali. (What an amazing boxer huh?). In the end of it all, I must confess I am finishing the last few days of this rotten year with a far different and revived image of myself and the world around me.

Things that happened in 2017

I met a man who thought he could destroy me emotionally and mentally, ( hah! think again ). He made me doubt myself, he publicly humiliated me again and again, he wanted to pull a handbrake on my spirit and push me over the edge, but quite honestly he did me a huge favor, cause when you hit rock bottom and an asshole is pushing you further down; you wake up to the fact that you’re the only strength you have. Then you get up and walk away, walk off the court and NEVER look back. I learned the hard way to put my self first. I have since met many beautiful people through this journey; some of them gorgeous men of incredible honor and stature. One piece of shit man-child allowed me for the first time in years to see my value to honor my body, to enjoy flirtation, truly love again, and to open my heart and be loved, all thanks to my shitbag ex. THANK YOU

I was harassed by my Greek family online and continue to be dragged in the Greek court system by my two uncles and aunts who for whatever reason think I give a fuck about them and their petty little lives. I now cherish my immediate family, a few chosen relatives, and my friends more than any other time in my life. People who stood by me over the years have become closer than my “blood” family ever could. The unbreakable bonds I’ve built with friends in Greece and the U.S are stronger than ever; you know who you are. We continue to love each other, console each other, grow with each other and are show up for each other. You my dear friends ARE my family and always will be. I cherish you to no end.


I saw the inside of a hospital emergency room three times and visited countless doctors. I suffered so much pain I thought I was going to die. I hit my head leaving a noticeable scar on my face; and now I find it to be the coolest thing about it. I underwent an abortion 8 weeks into a pregnancy that tore me apart. It broke my spirit like nothing and no one ever has. I decided to speak about it publicly and on this blog; connecting to amazing people who supported me, and showered me with their love in ways I can’t even describe. I connected with other women who’ve gone through exactly what I went through. Despite my lingering pain, that never could have happened If I had not gone through this path, no matter how devastating and difficult. Undergoing this procedure was a way of connecting with my mother and my trusted friends who were there for me every step of the way. I have received more love than any one person can handle; I am eternally grateful to all who were there for me. My health and my body have now more than ever become a vehicle for my expression and my steadfast commitment to health and wellness. I will continue to grow and develop a new holistic view of women’s bodies and health because of what I went through this past year.


I reconnected with an old love… after 18 years of not speaking.  My old College boyfriend and I spoke after many years of silence. I never thought in a million years that I would ever see him again or get to meet his amazing loving and beautiful wife and children. He is a great man with a gorgeous family. His wife and kids are now part of my extended family and I love them all dearly. My old beau, who is now my dear friend; has lifted my spirits though the deepest gutter of my sadness and I’m glad 2017 brought us together again, even through the darkest of times.


I fell in love with New York… again after very determined plans to leave her. She all but pushed me out her doors in 2017 when I came to a stark realization that for now this fucked up city is my home, thanks to two very special people who have showed me their view of this metropolis like no one has ever done before. My Daybreaker family is part and parcel of this insane city, and getting up at 3 am to meet them and be part of their lives and they part of mine has been a gift unforeseen three years ago. Yes, I miss Greece like hell; I will go back one day, but for now; NYC is my home. I share my love of New York in my writing, and will continue to do so in the next year. My new friends here are my family and my life has become all the richer for it. New York as crazy and frustrating and overwhelming as it has been in the past five years, is also be warm and welcoming and loving in ways unimaginable to me a year ago.


I write more and more in my blog each day. 2017 has been the year I’ve truly dedicated more of my time to writing this blog. Writing poetry, writing prose, and sharing my thoughts with a wider audience almost every week.  I’ve stood on stage and read my work, I’ve shared my moments with more friends who are far away, who resonated with what I was sharing, and I’ve received lovely feedback from incredible people. My writing experiments have been published on other blogs, and my short stories are slowly becoming a big part of my creative process. I have been continuously writing this blog since November 2012, and I am committed to growing and developing this in the years to come.

THANK YOU all for your support over the years and for reading my ramblings.


For more information on the pictures and artist featured in the piece please check out !

Fuck You… Photo by : Albertus Joseph


November 30th, 2017  23.57

(Military Time– Yes that’s how it should be written)

I’m sitting in my beautiful living room in my pajamas and a cup of tea… and I have to take pause and give thanks.

d19902528d21bcf06fa43ccfc4e89cf1-art-deco-typography-typography-design.jpgYou see, today marks the beginning of my fifth year in New York. It’s technically tomorrow December 1st, the day I actually arrived in the airport and set foot in the city for the first time to live since October 2000 when I left to study in London. For all intensive purposes my mind and my life changed on November 30th, 2012. It was the beginning of a different life. A Life I had no control over, and would not know its future or what direction it would go.


I still don’t know.

One thing is for certain, this fifth year has begun with a realization of how grateful I am for all the changes, the upsets, the doubt, the anger, the tears, the laughter, and the joy that I have felt these past five years. I have learned more about myself in these five years in New York than in any previous stretch of my life. I started to grow up here. I have become more of a woman than ever before, and I have shed and embraced  my girlish self.

There are many other anniversaries on this day that are also an integral part of who I am and who I will choose to be in the future.

Today also marks the fifth anniversary of this crazy idea of my amazing friend Karen (an American living in Greece), had; that I write and chronicle my adventures in New York City.  I’ve grown as yoga teacher, a traveler, a Greek who has an American mother and Greek father, a Greek who has an American Life and a Greek heart. Five years of a personal diary, turned blog, turned heart and life opening confessional, and a place where love, lust, secret desires hidden in poetry, spoken word and life truths maintain their home.

I am starting this next year with the realization that I’ve made many wrong turns, many mistakes but also have met some amazing people full of heart and soul. I have reconnected with my friends in Greece in ways that are so hard to express, and also wonderful to experience. My dear friends have become my family every time I return to Greece. I have also had the honor to meet some incredible people here, through my community at Daybreaker and also fell in love, had my heart broken, fell in love again, had my life turned upside down and learned life lessons that have shaped how I see the world.

I am truly blessed because I navigate with a compass that is composed of my heart and soul and desire for new and wonderful experiences. Despite the rising tides, storms and harsh winds, this journey was and continues to be one of absolute deep connection to my own true self.

These anniversaries continue and so is my commitment to writing about my adventures and observations about my New York. This city has done its best to chew me up and spit me out, yet I’m still here so I love this saucy minx. (sorry lady liberty)

Recently I was blessed to meet and walk the streets of New York with incredible people who’s heart and soul is connected and interwoven with the dirty, passionate, loving, chaotic and proud streets of the Lower East Side, East Harlem and Williamsburg. These amazing people have opened their hearts and lives to me and I feel so honored to have seen the city through their eyes. I am hardly a native New Yorker, but after my newest project took form (stay tuned! for future blog posts) I feel a little closer to this city and its people. Thank you to Jerry and Jonathan and Nandini who have given me small and large moments of their lives here and who took extra care to show me what their hood, their lives and their family has been all about.

In the past five years, friends and family have visited here, shared my passion for dancing, theater, music and food. I’ve learned that no place is more diverse, electric and over the top like this city. Whatever you want to try, experience, and dive into; it’s here for you.

I look forward to the next chapter. The next level of this ever changing ever loving ever breathing organism that is New York.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and  has seen me through the good times and the very bad. You know who you are and what your presence in my life means to me. Thank you to those who kept reading my poems, my prose my confessions, my deep dark secrets, and my stupid observations of Gotham and its harsh beauty.

Thank you to those who encouraged me to keep writing when all I wanted to do was disappear and let go.


Here is my ode to NYC on this fifth anniversary. Baby you’re looking fine…. and I still love you.

I’m in a New York state of Mind… tonight.

Eleana Kouneli– Almost Native New Yorker. Greek with a passion for travel. American with a passion for Greece. Lover of all things food, Yoga and art related. Thanks for your continued love and support!

In-between, cultures


Cultural Experiment-

I grew up Greek with an American mother and Greek father in Athens, Greece, in the late 70’s early 80’s.

This is how I would start my autobiography as the tale of a cultural experiment. My whole life has been a journey of deeply relating to and feeling left out of  being a Greek, and ultimately being shaped by my somewhat American (whatever that is) upbringing.  Essentially I’ve always been an in-between person. I never fit in, and always held an outsider’s perspective. At first what felt like a detriment later proved to be an advantage.

In grade school I was bullied because of being a “little American” in Greece. In high school I was considered strange for being a Greek in U.S high school in the 90’s. And after Graduate School, upon returning to Greece after 11 years of being away, I decided that I would start defining who I am without all the labels, and cultural fixations set by others. It took till my early 30’s to feel absolutely comfortable with my dual existence.

I’m sure my parents had absolutely no idea how I would turn out, but one thing I must applaud them for is their steadfast insistence to language and cultural exploration. My mother only spoke to me in English even though after years of struggle and study she speaks Greek very well, and my father although fluent in English, only spoke and wrote to me in Greek. That being said, I spent all my childhood summers in the United States instead of some island or Greek village, as so many other Greek kids my age always did. That would set me apart from those who had never left their home for another country in Europe let alone the United States. I had my first passport at 3 months old and have now a collection of both Greek and American passports that fill a whole drawer.

It took till my early 30’s to feel absolutely comfortable with my dual existence.

After many awkward years, I came to realize that instead of this misplaced half breed who didn’t fit in anywhere, I was at a cultural and linguistic advantage.  I was given this gift of cultural fluidity and dual citizenship few people enjoy. I feel at home and comfortable with both cultures; I understand the quirks and idiosyncrasies of feeling and acting like a Greek when I’m in Greece, and as an American when I’m in the United States. What I’ve recently discovered is that I can quite easily blend and transform myself to any culture and place as long as I observe and try to understand it. I’ve become a cultural chameleon of sorts.


I started this journey of blending and relating to others so I can fit in, while in College;  in upstate New York. As the only Greek, American who had truly grown up in both cultures I was somewhat of an anomaly, so I related to the outcasts and misfits in my school more frequently than the “it” girls and cool people who would play sports, hang out with the gorgeous students and enjoy College “fame”. I met the kids from ABC (A Better Chance) house in high school in Amherst, most of them from New York City neighborhoods who were insanely smart and were given an opportunity to study at a very “clean cut”, and academically challenging high school.

I was given this gift of cultural fluidity and dual citizenship few people enjoy.

I instantly related to them; they were not born or raised in Massachusetts and had a other worldliness that I was drawn to. I too was this strange Greek girl to them; not your typical American kid, and I found myself being embraced by my new family.

After leaving the United States, coming back to Greece was yet another transition and adjustment. I was seen as a foreigner, an outsider, until I proved myself again to be able to blend, adjust, absorb and accept local cultural, societal and colloquial demands.

In between two cultures

After 13 years in Greece, I’m back where I started;  always with this idea that I’m balancing between two cultures and two ways of life. This time I absolutely love being a part of both. There are times I don’t fully embrace or condone American culture, especially now in the current political climate, and similarly I don’t agree with how things are in Greece, but instead of being angry at the shortcomings and Greekisms of one place, and the bravado and “bigger better faster” attitude of America, I try to pick and choose what best defines me from both places, and love both countries equally with their shortcomings and flaws.

DNA and cultural Identity 

With all the questions and curiosity behind my multi-cultural and multi-ethnic background, I recently took a DNA ancestry test. I had been wanting to do this for a long time, so I was very excited to share the results here. I was pleasantly surprised as well as reaffirmed in what I already knew about my heritage. I am loving each and every part of who I am and try to embrace all the tiles that make the mosaic of my life now and for years to come.

If your curious about my results check the link below!

Eleana’s Ancestry Test 

In all honesty I’ve become a nomad and find a home wherever I go, but the place I deeply love with utter abandon and will always have in my heart as my true home is Athens, Greece.  Stay tuned for the next blog post dedicated to my beloved city.

For more information on Ancestry Tests and if you are curious to do one of your own

check the link below and use my referral for a small discount!

Take a leap into your Ancestry Test:

23 and Me