The Long Way Home


I must confess; I’m in love with Brooklyn.

There is something enchanting about Brooklyn evenings that few other neighborhoods in New York City possess.

My bias is not with out an excuse; I’ve lived in the same neighborhood in south Brooklyn ever since I moved to New York from Athens five years ago. Except for a brief stint living in Manhattan in the East Village and the Lower East Side (which I still love), most of my time has been spent south of Prospect Park.

I owe my love of this part of city to my original host and friend from college who introduced me to this multi- ethnic, multi cultural and multi layered microcosm few (thank goodness) still know about.

Simply put it’s a gem.

Nestled in between Prospect Park and the Greenwood Cemetery, this still unspoiled part of Brooklyn is a place where you can say hello to the corner bodega owner, chat with your neighbor while they walk their dog, and see familiar faces walking around the streets on a lazy, Sunday afternoon. I wave to the store owners catching a glimpse of the action in the street every morning when I go to work, but I never think of taking the time to truly explore further.

From what many locals tell me, the neighborhood hasn’t changed that much over the years. Originally an Italian immigrant neighborhood, it is now peppered with a spectrum of nationalities, languages, cultures and religions. A true cultural crossroads. But I needed to know more.

Summer nights are a perfect excuse for a long walk.

One evening after an event in the Greenwood cemetery I took this rare opportunity to take the long way home.

As the sunset burst into a beautiful tapestry of colors; shades of pink, salmon, purple and yellow adorned the early evening sky. The aroma of evening primrose and soft wet soil wafted through the air… I was transported. For a moment I was lifted away from the worries of my New York life and felt like I was walking through the streets of my old neighborhood in Athens. I instantly felt carefree; but the real treat didn’t arrive until the sun set; revealing thousands upon thousands of fireflies signaling to each other in their own mystical code.

I closed my eyes took a deep breath and floated with the sounds of stories being told of the families living in these neighborhoods, of meals shared, travels taken and lives changed forever. This was the first time in my years living in New York that I was absolutely in tune with my surroundings.


Living in such a high strung city, we are used to boxing ourselves in. We end up shielding our bodies and minds from the cacophony of noises, lights, tall buildings, strong aromas; all  of which accost our senses in invasive ways.  We choose to be numb to the big stuff and forget to take a moment to really observe the more subtle aspects of this city. During my walk through my neighborhood, all of that outer noise instantly vanished, and I was able to just enjoy the long walk home.

To what comes next-

Picture by Robert Valenzuela ( @3rd.night)

I have had a recent lull to my writing, in stark contrast to the frenzy of past months. My spring feverish ideas and thoughts left freely from my brain onto the page. I truly enjoyed my every day post commitment I set out to complete back in March (birthday challenge) . Truly nothing has kept me more on my toes, than my yoga/ exercise practice and my writing.

As of late I’ve had what many would call a freeze of my creative flow. I don’t know if this is a set back or a regroup, but for what its worth, I would not be a particularly good blogger, if I didn’t share this stagnancy with my small yet powerful and encouraging audience (share my posts with your friends!).

I’m feeling a little stuck.

There are a plethora of things I want to share my thoughts on, but in this growing cacophony of opinions and thoughts my mind is becoming overwhelmed with the opinions of everybody else, to really be able to be a valid voice in the mix. The reminder that depression, and suicide is so openly discussed, took me back to my days of battling depression, and how I was able through very lucky circumstances and good people to get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, pull myself out of dark cavernous thoughts, and figure shit out.

I battle with self doubt, body image issues, self esteem issues, and the list goes on. Yet here I am writing about it, even though I’m still stuck. I often promise I will share as much of myself as possible it’s the only way to write.

There is definitely a chaotic order to the way I convey my thoughts on this blog, and I appreciate those who’ve followed and continue to follow my musings, poetry, analysis and reflections.

For now I will leave you with a small gratitude list. When you get stuck, make one too, it helps.

  1. I’m grateful for my health. Two dear friends who I deeply care for are battling cancer. They are warriors, who absolutely give me courage to be even better and more resilient.
  2. I’m extremely grateful for my home here in New York. It’s a sanctuary and a quiet space, in this overwhelming city.  Every night I sit on my balcony; on these warm summer nights, and smile at how blessed I am to be here. I miss Greece and my home there every waking moment, but having the opportunity to travel and live here isn’t available to many of my fellow country men and women. Thousands of refugees are still in limbo on many Greek islands bordering Turkey. Children and their families are being torn apart as we speak at US borders. As we all battle internal crisis, so much turmoil is occurring on a daily basis. That forces me to think twice before I forget where I’ve come from.
  3. I’m grateful for rekindled and real friendships, from the embers of dead affairs. And I’m grateful I recently escaped a toxic affair before it created further damage.
  4. I’m grateful for Art. As I’ve mentioned in past posts and I’ll say it again, Art is the only thing that can and has created meaningful change. Art touches and effects everyone in small and big ways and is and will continue to be a huge vehicle for truth, change, and progress.

I’m still stuck with my writing, but I’m grateful I can share that too. When overwhelmed with life’s rocky path, be grateful for what you have to overcome it.

May all beings be Happy and Free.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu-

Tainted Fruit-

Mural by @FKDL– Bushwick, Brooklyn NY
The delicate insignificance of your smile
was quietly encouraged by you.
Overwhelmed by your self importance
you over estimate your value and weight.
Acting like an emotional cheapskate.
                                               .   .    .
Shameless self promotion causing the death of substance at your feet.
But you won’t admit defeat.
You would rather die than see the other side of the coin.
A Trojan horse infiltrating the souls of those who cross your path.
A monster in sheep’s clothing.
                                              .    .    .
Beware of my wrath.
It’s deadly and never misses the mark.
Cheap thrills don’t purchace a place in my heart.
It’s a stark contrast to a chorus of lies and ego boosting shots.
I tell the truth and it’s not pretty, I’m gritty.
I’m the real deal.
You try to steal my thunder but you fall and crack when you’re exposed to the light.
                                           .   .   .
And still… and still
I fall hard for my lesser self.
The one that believes you to be mighty and me a speck of dust on your shoes.
I lose myself in your world of titans and and one eyed thieves.
I neglect the divine femininity that will break it all apart into a million little pieces.
                                        .    .    .
I won’t be this, weak little thing for you.
My roots are deep and my fruit is luscious.
I’m a wild child I’ll stick to your subconscious like sweet nectar.
You tasted my juices and spit them out.
That’s not what I’m about.
Time is of the essence and in order to bear fruit
we must rise above low expectations.
But still… I fall…

What’s in a name

Gustave Mareau
Gustave Moreau- Helen of Troy



Helen… (illuminated, bright). A name also claiming its roots in the ancient Greek word for moon ( σελήνη) and in Homeric times had added meaning as “the one who is the destroyer of ships”.

It’s all in a name, passed down from generation to generation. And we carry the Helens before us; the ones who paved the way for us; the ones who’s names remain in the history books and the epic fables.

Helen fell in love with King Paris of Troy, causing the beginning of the Trojan War, as her husband Menelaus fought a bitter battle to take back his wife from the Trojans.  Helen was known for her unmatched beauty, and grace. Throughout history women carrying this name are powerful, uniting and dividing figures; heroic women, strong women, conniving and beguiling women, and above all controversial women.

It is a name that was handed down to me by my grandmother Eleni. Through her I honor her name and her legacy, and all the other Helens past. We embody history in our given names; they give us character, identity and a cultural connection. Every year I celebrate this given name I aspire to live up to; it brings with it a familial and cultural connection to my birthplace. Oftentimes names are just passed down from grandparents to children in Greek culture; as a nod to lineage and family connection, but most times these names carry a significance we don’t often understand.

Today is a celebration of light.

Cheers Eleni, Helen, Lena, Elena, Eleana.

What does your name say about you?

10 Things I love about Greek Summer

It’s drawing near… the sun is getting warmer; the skies are bright blue and the air is crisp. Summer is just around the bend. Islands are preparing for the season after a long, harsh lonely winter. The fresh influx of tourists; will bring work and inevitably their income with them. A whole country relies on the summer season to sustain it since tourism is Greece’s biggest ally.

There are plenty of blog posts about summer in Greece. Too many to count, but the side that we locals get to see, the secret side is what keeps us coming back for those precious moments with friends near the sea.

Summer in Greece is not only concentrated on the islands of course; which is sometimes the only thing most visitors either get to or care to see. Athens is not a place to be avoided at all costs. The open air concerts, the festivals, the art, the bars, and the hustle and bustle of the beautiful magical Athenian summer night, can’t be described in words; it must be lived!

7.30am at Sweet Water Beach in Sfakia- Crete

Here is my list of 10 things that make a Greek summer complete.

  1. Go to the beach early, and stay after sun down — always. (on those rare occasions that you sleep at a beach… wake up at dawn and take refreshing morning swim)
  2. Go with friends, leave with more friends.
  3. Eat at a small tavern, preferably overlooking the sea. Pick the small unassuming places not the ones featured in Conde Nast Traveler (sorry but it’s true).
  4. The secret beaches are usually the best ones.
  5. The secret beaches are the hardest to get to — for that exact same reason.
  6. Leave your fucking mobile phone off and enjoy the sea, dive in, stay in and live in the moment.
  7. Athens by night- The capital at summer time is the most beautiful sight to see especially from above… (I’ve featured a picture of this before but I’m going to do it again since I love this shot taken by a dear friend last summer. 7.b See some art, go to galleries, walk around the city and see some up and coming street artists. Go visit some of the theaters in Athens, and see some wonderful dance and theater at the Athens Festival , or go to a play in the ancient  Greek theater of  Epidaurous . img_3733
  8. Leave your ideas of what you think Greece is at home, and come with an open mind, an open heart and a lot of extra free time, cause we do things slow and at our pace here; so don’t rush us. And above all make sure you see it with the guidance and the eyes of a local. You will miss a lot of you come and leave as a tourist.
  9. Learn to listen… and use all your senses. The deafening sound of cicadas, on a hot summer day, the sound of the breeze at the top of a mountain overlooking the sea, the sound of coerce sand underneath your feet as you walk on the sea shore, the sound of seagulls flying along with you on a sailboat, the crackling of freshly caught fish on a grill, the taste of real sea salt over a sweet ripe tomato.
  10. Last but not least. As much as it pains me to say this, and fight me on this particular part. Mykonos (even though I have a home there) especially between the months of July and August, is not Greece. As much as I love that place, summer transforms it into a virtually unrecognizable version of itself.  It becomes what tourists want in order for the locals to make as much money off it as possible.                                          Way too much of its market, is targeted towards rich tourists with absolutely no love or understanding for the island itself. Mykonos and Santorini are not the only islands of the Aegean. We have over 2600 of them, of which roughly 200 are inhabited! (dare to take a road less traveled). Explore smaller islands, with less amenities or five star hotels, or all in one spa treatments or expensive sailing boat trips or overpriced gourmet meals. Dare to go to places that are quiet, serene and not about how much money you spent on the same hotel that the Kardashians stayed in. Go on a sailboat and find out about the wonder of the Aegean sea through its secret alcoves and abandoned villages. Eat locally, buy from local shopkeepers and find ways to support the local economy.

Greece despite what the tourist, travel and lifestyle magazines tell you, has a lot more to offer than a western experience with a different language. It is a country with rich traditions and hidden treasures. Island hoping as glamorous as it sounds doesn’t benefit most local economies, and leaves the hotel owners richer and the locals much poorer. So if you want to really explore Greece this summer; visit it as a traveler not as a tourist, and you will experience a much richer country than you might think.


Words Matter

Des mots faciles des mots fragiles
C’était trop beau

Paroles Paroles by Alain Delon and Dalida

Choose your words wisely. 

It’s a matter of principle, it’s a matter of how we see the world and how the world sees us. Even though so much of communication is non verbal; choosing the words we use carefully is of utmost importance. There is an art to knowing what to say and how to say it, and if need be not saying anything at all.

Words matter; they can hurt or they can heal. A lot is revealed by their tone, their phrasing their intent. The more I write, the more I share through both Greek and English; I’m often called upon to sharpen my pencil and my mind. One wrong word and the whole meaning is altered, the whole feel of what is meant to come through is derailed.

Sometimes silence is the only answer.

The words we use for and about others matter. How we describe others, how we talk about them, what energy we share through verbal communication is as sharp and affecting as any weapon. One word can uplift whereas another can dismantle and destroy. How we express ourselves matters; how we speak to others matters, and how we communicate matters, because as words go, lots can be lost in translation.

Words are slippery and deceiving and like little children need guidance and boundaries to thrive and shine on and off the page. Words have weight, they sting and jab, sooth and caress. Each syllable contains an energy; and knowing how to use that energy is as valuable as any amount of currency, because words are also currency.

Even though so much of communication is non verbal; choosing the words we use carefully is of utmost importance.

Recently I had an exchange with an old lover. I was very cautious about how I wanted to respond to his communication. The right words were not appearing to me in order to carefully convey what I wanted to say in response to his contact. I mulled over it for quite some time before I realized that any words I used were a waste of time, energy, and ultimately I would never properly convey verbally what I desperately wanted to say; so I said nothing. Sometimes keeping one’s words to oneself is the wisest choice.

Words matter, words are fragile and delicate and can bend and break after they have been uttered. Words mean nothing; and they mean everything, and sometimes there aren’t enough words to describe a feeling.

So sometimes silence is the only answer.


Liquid Courage

You drew me to the water’s edge and let me taste your smile.

I laughed at all your silly moves, your stupid jokes just made me swoon,
The way you adjust your shirt, was magical to me.
I stare at our reflections wondering what radical world I live in that gets to have you in it.
I’m in too deep this strange mystique is making my body overflow.
Love is like a river flowing through me.
Paint brushed skies and lines. Bridges to your heart are paved with golden light.
I just might need a minute to breathe.
Like ivory and ebony you play my tune perfectly.
Something’s come over me… it’s making the broken parts seem whole again
once again I can see the beauty within me.
My body was made to be next to yours,
a pull so profound it’s like breathing.
You make my heart swell and my chest expand
and then I remember to take a breath again.
It’s like cheating death.

Achilles Heel-(Αχίλλειος Πτέρνα) – Greek Version


Καθρέπτες αντανακλούν σκοτεινά πρόσωπα που χάθηκαν σε απομονωμένες γωνίες και πονεμένες καρδιές

Ξεσκεπάζουν μυστικά και άβολες ματιές και χαμένες ευκαιρίες

Χείλη σφιχτά και κλεμμένες… τρομαγμένες ματιές

Κουρασμένα βλέμματα χάνονται σε φωτεινές οθόνες, εκτρέπουν, αποφεύγουν, απορρίπτουν.

Παίζουν το ρόλο ξανά σε μια παράσταση που κανείς δεν θέλει να δει.

Και το μόνο που βγαίνει είναι μια άφωνη κραυγή.


Πως μετράς μιαν αγάπη που σκίστηκε στα δύο;

Δημιουργήσαμε μια ιστορία που κατασπαράζεται με τη πρώτη ευκαιρία

Είναι ξεκάθαρο ότι σκόνταψα σε μια φαντασία



Δε δέχομαι άντρα σε τιμή ευκαιρίας.

Δεν ακροβατώ πια μεταξύ φθοράς και αφθαρσίας

Μπροστά στην μετριότητα δεν στέκει το τέλειο αλλά η ουσία.

Δεν δίνω πια σημασία σε αυτά.

Πόσο θα αντάλλαζες τη βόλεψη σου για μιαν αγάπη αληθινή;

Μάλλον δε θα μάθεις ποτέ.

Η απορία παραμένει στεγνή.


My Achilles Heel (Αχίλλειος Πτέρνα)

Αχίλλειος Πτέρνα (Achilles He(A)el)  — photo by Robert V. (@3rd.night)


Reflections of faces getting caught in dark spaces, with wounded hearts.

Secrets revealed in awkward glances and lost chances.

Pursed lips, and stolen glances.

Tired eyes staring into illuminated screens, reflecting, deflecting, rejecting

playing the part in a show that no one cares to watch.

And all I want to do is scream.


How do you measure my love and then tear it apart?

I created a love story and it fell short from the start.

It seems clear that my imagination got the best of me



I no longer can settle for three forths of a man.

I can’t stand (on) mediocrity in the face of perfection.

That no longer holds my attention

Any more.

How much of your comfort would you give up for love?

I guess you will never find out.

It’s never too late

@dirkartnyc (Freeman’s Alley- NYC)

It’s never too late …

The writing is on the wall.

It’s never too late to stand tall after a fall, that broke your spirit, broke your heart. Tearing you apart into a million little pieces.

It’s never too late to make a new start. It’s never too late to create art out of your passion.

Your horizons are open, take a chance, take a stance.

It’s never too late to be strong even though you know it’s wrong, to endure so much pain, and remain true to you.

It’s never too late to let go.