I’m late in posting this, but it all started with the thought of warmth. The winter months get more and more taxing on the body as I age, not to say that I don’t feel as healthy as I ever have, but the smell of the sea and the feeling of being weathered in sun and salt is very comforting on this very cold, rainy lonely day.
It’s getting harder and harder to take the harshness of winter. It’s getting more and more immediate; this need for a beautiful beach, clear blue sky, and crystal clear mediterranean water. I’m finding myself longing for that medicine of salt, sweet air, good food and merriment. I’m comforted by my memories and look forward to the moment I can set foot on the beach and just sink in.
Till then… it’s windy and strange out there tonight.
Dear Readers… today begins my 27 day challenge (March 1st 2018) to mark my 40th birthday. I will be posting one picture and one story every day of this month until March 27th (my actual birthday). Join me on this journey of travels, experiences, and images. This is a project I’ve been meaning to share with a lot of you and this is the best time to start. I hope you enjoy the perspectives, the insight and the stories behind the images I will be posting. Walk with me through this 27 day journey and I hope at the end we will have a stronger bond.
Day 1. — March 1st 2018
Coney Island, New York. It was a cold rainy day but something compelled me to go, and shoot pictures with an amazing photographer and new friend, who shared my vision of the story I want to tell. Photography has always been part of my life ever since I was a teenager. I left it for a while and now I am re- connecting with this art form I have immense respect for. This image and story, is about where I’m going; what I’m willing to shed and let go of; and what weighs me down from the past. You see, I always used to look back because I needed approval, I used to look behind me to see if I was moving in the right path, but now that is no more.
We make choices, we make mistakes, we make a pact with ourselves about the kind of life we wish to lead. That path may not be straightforward or easy but it is out path to walk. At the start of this new trip around the sun, I realize I am holding on to heavy, unnecessary baggage that no longer serves my purpose or the journey I wish to take. Join me, walk with me, but not behind me, because I will not look back.
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.
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?
(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.
You 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.
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!
She would cross the street and just close her eyes and say to herself its ok, no one will miss me, no one will notice I’m gone. On the subway just before the train arrived, she would stare at the tracks for moments thinking… what if I jumped? She would dream of death every day after she got home from the hospital. At night she would dream of bodies, plane crashes, her husband falling off a cliff, she saw the gun in her hand, while looking at her reflection in the mirror just before she pulled the trigger. She wanted to disappear. She didn’t always think this way. This morbid game was very new to her. Like a mental Russian Roulette.
The pain of her stitches pulled at her lower abdomen every time she would put on her underwear. She knew that this would take a long time to heal but it wasn’t the pain of the surgery that hurt her the most. It was the pain of feeling empty inside. She felt as gutted as her uterus. She didn’t want to leave the house for days. Food made her nauseous so she made due with rice crackers with soft cheese or plain rice. Her friends would come by and leave her soup, quiche, bread, rice pudding, fruit, anything that she might be inclined to even look at let alone taste, and she would leave in the fridge for days before taking a bite of each and throwing it out before it spoiled.
She and her husband tried everything, therapy, counseling, talking and more talking but he was unable to see her. He felt paralyzed, useless and eventually drifted into his work, the couch and his football games. She kept going to work like a robot, lifeless, expressionless, she walked the same path to her train station, walked down the steps to the platform and waited. She would grab the same cup of coffee and bagel from the corner cafe but never ate the bagel, it was almost an automatic gesture. She was on autopilot.
On the day her life changed forever, she was on the same platform on the same time as any other day when she heard Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together played a Capella by a distant male voice. She had heard that song a million times, hummed it a million more but still something this morning caught her attention. She felt the warm coffee in her hand as she walked closer towards the source of the sound.
I…I’m so in love with you….Whatever you want to do, is all right with me.
Cos you make me feel, so brand new. And I want to spend my life with you.
She walked toward the man singing the song and sat next to him on a wooden bench near to the end of the platform. A tall, thin framed older gentleman with a little gray on his temples, and a beautiful bright red hat sang with a mic and the tune playing in the background.
Since, since we’ve been to-gether,
Loving you for-ever, is what I need.
She sat, lightly closing her eyes to the melody, letting the cool morning breeze caress her face. The man kept crooning and singing till the end of the last bar and then said “God bless you lovely people, have a beeuuuutiful day”. She clapped and stepped a little closer to his direction. “thank you that was really lovely, I don’t have any money but I do have breakfast if you want it”
“Honey… I don’t need your money, I’ve SEEN you walk up here for weeks lookin like damn ghost. And from the look of it you seem to need that breakfast more than I do” he chuckled.
“No offence but you need to eat!”
He smiled politely and offered his hand. He held hers with such delicacy, his fingers long and thin; a wedding ring on the right hand and a big aquamarine on the left. Her hands felt so small next to his.
-Hi… I’m Lauren. The coffee is pretty cold but I’ll leave you the bagel, its really delicious.
– Pleased to meet you Lauren, and if you insist thank you for the bagel, I’m Lazarus.
She smiled softly, and he stared strongly into her eyes. She felt his energy and his presence permeate the whole subway platform.
“That’s a beautiful name, Lazarus… so powerful and full of meaning.” I love your ring, its aquamarine right? That’s my birthstone. I’m a March baby.
– Well thank you fine lady, your name reminds of me of my late wife, Laura, and this is indeed aquamarine; its my birthstone too… I came into this world March 28th, 1945 two blocks from here.
She felt the wind change suddenly as the conductor announced the train arrival in one minute. She softly let go of Lazarus’s hand and left the bagel near his boom box. He tipped his red hat to her. ” Bonjour madame Lauren, have a beeuuuutiful day”. She smiled, and caught her reflection in the closing doors of the train and felt something shift inside her after what seemed like an eternity.
She hummed the tune again a little louder as she gazed at the vanishing train station from the train doors
I…I’m so in love with you….Whatever you want to do, is all right with me.
I first came across the beauty of South Crete in April 2006, as part of a yoga teacher training. I always felt Crete was too far away, too long, too much hassle to travel to, before I actually made the trek to the breath-taking beaches of the southern coast.
It’s admittedly a long trip (6-9 hours by boat but for the right price a mere 45 mins by plane from Athens). As a Greek who loves to travel, I must sheepishly admit that I’ve not seen enough of my own country. I am trying in small ways to change that.
Visiting Triopetra and Agios Pavlos changed my whole outlook on Crete and opened my heart to one of the most rugged, wild beauties of the Mediterranean and Libyan seas. Crete is a society, culture, and land quite independent of all other parts of Greece. It can quite easily sustain itself, with its rich diverse climates providing, avocados, bananas and tropical fruit, as well as cheeses, meats, grains and wild herbs never to be seen anywhere else in the country.
Crete is a mystery, a healing renewing place full of misfits, vagabonds and people who decided that the big city life isn’t for them. The locals are a guarded, strong-willed people. They are incredibly proud and protective of their land, and they have legends, stories and history to prove of their resistance to invasions of all kinds. After their hard exterior melts into a smile and when you get to know them, they are the warmest, loving people you will ever come across. They embrace you as one of their own, and even after a seven-year absence those same faces were happy to see me as I them.
Crete is a mystery, a healing renewing place full of misfits, vagabonds and people who decided that the big city life isn’t for them.
I stayed for four days in this beautiful paradise, far away from the overcrowded city and the aggressive mentality of urban living. I learned to let go of my phone, my worries, my watch and just be in nature; with the blanket of the stars as my backdrop.
Sfakia and Sweet Water Beach August 27th, 2017 : My first evening at Sweet Water beach I stayed at a wonderful newly renovated little boutique hotel in the center of town. After finding my dear friends who I had not seen in almost seven years, we watched the sun set and the evening sky reveal every constellation visible to the human eye, the moon, Venus, the big dipper all there in full clarity away from lights and buildings. I first experienced its grandeur in 2007 and my last time in 2010 during a yoga workshop I taught in Sfakia. I wasn’t prepared for the life changing experience I was about to have and I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with this magical land.
This place moves you too connect with your higher self. Stripped of all noise and distraction this town is for when one is ready to be one with nature. Sleeping on the beach one evening is highly recommended. Just make sure you get plenty of bug spray and a good sleeping bag. The water coming up from the rocks is drinkable
On the last day of my trip I took the walking route to Sweetwater beach at 7:00 am. The sun was already warm and the shade provided some comfort on the way to the beach.
I left this beautiful place with my heart full and my mind at ease. It’s a destination not for the faint of heart. This place will change you and transform you in ways you may not immediately understand. For those wanting to go beyond the beaten paths of Mykonos and Santorini… southern Crete is one of the jewels in the crown of Greece.
I was away on a much needed vacation and will soon be back on a steady weekly blog posting journey with many stories, images and interesting topics to discuss.
My travels brought me close to dear friends, old lovers, new family members, young souls, old souls and new adventures. This trip to Greece was peppered with deep conversations, belly clenching laughter, revelations, tears, and hours upon hours of embraces.
Being home being with my people, with those I love is always a big boost of energy and creativity. There is nothing else like it, and you can’t duplicate it anywhere else. The colors, smells and tastes of Greece are unique to the soil, the air and the sea.
There is much more to come in the next couple of weeks.
The plan was to go to the Delaware shore for the weekend of July 4th, to visit a dear friend whom I had not seen in over a year. Being close to the sea is something that I miss, so I make due with going near New York City or Long Island beaches, even though they hardly measure up to the glorious Mediterranean. (sorry dear readers but its true– You will see for yourselves when I post from Athens next month)
I was all packed and ready to go when I got the message that she unfortunately couldn’t host me. Shit… I thought there goes my whole plan down the drain. Disappointment of not being with my friend was replaced with determination to at least take advantage of this long weekend to the fullest. If I have an idea in my head, I’m going to try my hardest to put it in motion. So I made a frantic search for hotels near by, booked the cheapest one I could find, in Dover (1 hour away) and left early Saturday morning for the Delaware coast.
I have recently become very fond of traveling alone. I find that people are more willing to share their stories, and even create new friendships when you’re a solo traveler. I also appreciate being quiet and doing exactly what I love which is discovering new places at my own pace. With that spirit in mind I set out early Saturday morning to drive from New York City, to Delaware. It took a bit longer to arrive in Dover due to holiday traffic, but the weather on Saturday morning was incredibly beautiful. I parked my car on Dewey beach just a little after 6pm.
The beach was quiet and serene; it felt it was there just for me. Most people had already gone, leaving it almost deserted. The sky was opening up with glorious hues of white, blue and pink clouds as the sun slowly started to set. I stayed as long as I could until sunset, left my beach bag in the car and headed to a near by pub for dinner. I sat by the bar ordered a nice meal and one cold beer. This being a summer touristy town, the restaurant was incredibly busy. I read my book, turned off my phone and just enjoyed people watching, until it was time to drive back to the hotel.
This was a trip of “saying yes” and allowing for whatever surprise or change to arrive without trying to stick to a schedule or force myself on a certain path. I had difficult winter and spring, so this trip was about letting go of all the schedules, and pre-planned agendas and enjoying each day to the fullest. I went to a different beach every day, and enjoyed a beautiful meal near the water’s edge.
The following morning I ventured a little further to Bethany Beach. After a long hot day at the beach, I walked along the boardwalk, listened to a live band and enjoyed the last pages of my book. Feeling quite famished I made my way to what seemed like a very expensive hotel restaurant. At first glance I didn’t want to spend money on a lavish meal, but in the spirit of “saying yes”, I compromised and enjoyed a small salad and soup at the bar. A lovely glass rose wine, (which the bar tender filled up twice without asking me!) lead to a great conversation with my neighbors at the bar. A group of friends had all come down to Delaware for the holiday weekend, they had known each other since they were in college and were now in their early 50’s. They had made this trip every year without fail. After the meal they said their goodbyes and I kept sipping my vino till sundown. After dinner my second ice cream adventure lead me to Maureen’s Cafe. One Scoop of coffee ice cream and one scoop of cookies and cream…. divine.
The last day, I sat on the beach thinking of all the wonder of traveling alone, having time to write, and read a full book and just enjoy each moment with no plans. Before my departure back to New York, I drove to the beautiful historic town of Lewes, Delaware . I walked along the harbor; watched the sail boats go by and took a long walk around the neighborhood. One last iced coffee and ice cream to go from King’s Homemade Ice Cream…
I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Happy Travels wherever you might go. Each street corner hides a story, and when plans change, change with them.
Αύγουστος 1993 — Κλείνω τα μάτια και αφήνομαι σε ένα υπέροχο ταξίδι αναμνήσεων. Τα πρώτα μας καλοκαίρια μόνες μας χωρίς τους γονείς μας, όταν ήσουν δεκαπέντε, δεκαεφτά χρονών. Τα πρώτα φλερτ, η άμμος να σου ζεσταίνει το δέρμα και εσύ με κοιτούσες λοξά με αυτό το ειρωνικό βλέμμα που λέει πολλά και δε λέει τίποτα συνάμα. Θυμάμαι να γελάω με μια παρέα φίλων μας που δεν ξαναείδα ποτέ από εκείνο το καλοκαίρι. Μαζευτήκαμε στη παραλία της Σαρωνίδας, κωλόπαιδα και χαμένοι στις ορμόνες μας. Μόνο η Σοφία έμεινε, από αυτούς τους γνωστούς-φίλους, που μοιάζει με άλλη ζωή πια. Όποτε περνάω από τη Σαρωνίδα για τα Λεγρενά τους σκέφτομαι άραγε που να είναι τώρα.
Αύγουστος 1995 -Κλείνω τα μάτια πάλι και βρίσκομαι στα πρώτα μου καλοκαίρια στη Μύκονο, στο Caprice μπαρ, μικρή Βενετία, να ξεπροβάλλει η πανσέληνος, τα νερά να χρυσίζουν μετά τη δύση του ηλίου. Χόρεψα πάνω στο μπαρ για πρώτη φορά στα 6 και τελευταία στα 36, και τώρα πια σαν τη παλιά μου ζωή, έχει κλείσει αυτό το κεφάλαιο. (καλύτερα βέβαια λέω μέσα μου, καιρός ήταν να ανοίξει κάτι καινούργιο). Γνώρισα το νησί από την καλή και την ανάποδη, την φωτεινή και τη πολύ σκοτεινή του πλευρά. Κατάλαβα πόσο γλυκό μπορεί να είναι ένα καλοκαίρι μετά από τη πικρία και απογοήτευση του χειμώνα. Καθισμένη με ένα κρασάκι στο μπαλκόνι μου στη Λια, με θέα τα Διβούνια, πάντα αναπολώ τις στιγμές που το νησί δεν ήταν τόσο γεμάτο κόσμο και ήταν “δικό μας”.
Εκεί γεννήθηκε η φιλία μου με τη Βίβιαν, τη “μεγάλη μου αδερφή”, εκεί μας υιοθέτησε μια παραλία που είναι πια ο παράδεισος μας, η οικογένειά μας και το “σπίτι” μας. Δε θα πω πια… τη κρατάμε μυστικό για όσους πραγματικά την αγαπάνε και τη σέβονται. Εκεί γνώρισα έρωτες και φλερτ, εκεί γνώρισα τους πιο σκοτεινούς και ύπουλους ανθρώπους, εκεί γνώρισα υπέροχες φιλίες που κρατάνε χρόνια… Ένας μικρόκοσμος πάνω σε ένα κυκλαδίτικο νησί.
Αύγουστος 1994 -Θυμάμαι επίσης αυτό το απαίσιο καλοκαίρι στην Άνδρο που αρρώστησα με το που έφαγα αυτή τη καταραμένη Φρουτάλια και ξέρναγα όλο το βράδυ, με είχε ρημάξει ο πυρετός, η παρέα ήταν ανυπόφορη, και δεν ήθελα να μείνω άλλο. Έφυγα την επόμενη μέρα, άφησα πίσω μου το νησί και τη κακή παρέα. Η κατάρα ευτυχώς δε κράτησε για πολύ, ξανά πήγα μετά από μερικά χρόνια και έκατσα στο πιο όμορφο μπαλκόνι του νησιού μαζί με μια φίλη παντοτινή. Μοιραστήκαμε τις ιστορίες μας, διαβάσαμε ποίηση, μαγειρέψαμε πανέμορφα γεύματα, και αγάπησα πάλι την Άνδρο σε όλο της το μεγαλείο.
Αύγουστος 2016 Επισκέφτηκα το νησί εκ νέου μαζί με τις αδελφές ψυχές μου, δύο υπέροχες γυναίκες που μπορώ να πω είναι η καλύτερη κοριτσοπαρέα, γιατί για να είμαστε ειλικρινείς μόνο με αδερφές ψυχές μπορείς να πηγαίνεις διακοπές. Με περιμένουν και φέτος να σαρώσουμε τις Κυκλάδες.
Αύγουστος 2009– γνώρισα τη παρέα, τη παραλία, και τη τοποθεσία που θα μου άλλαζε τη ζωή, και συνάμα γνώρισα το νησί που θα μου άλλαζε τα πάντα. Νότια Κρήτη, Γλυκά Νερά, 20 άτομα παρέα, με παρέσυραν, φλέρταρα μετά από δύο χρόνια σε μια δύσκολη σχέση, με φίλησε, αφέθηκα στο κύμα και στο γέλιο τους, επέμειναν να αλλάξω τα σχέδια μου, έμεινα όλο το βράδυ μέχρι το πρωί, σε άφησα να με αγγίξεις αλλά ήξερα ότι δε θα σε ξαναδώ ποτέ. Θα ξαναπάω φέτος στο ίδιο ταβερνάκι, μαζί με την αγάπη μου μέσα μου, και γύρω μου. Θα περπατήσω την ίδια διαδρομή μέχρι τη μαγική αυτή παραλία. θα βγάλω τα παπούτσια και τα ρούχα μου και θα αφεθώ στην υπέροχα μαγεία του Λιβυκού. Πολλά έχουν αλλάξει, ωστόσο κάτι παραμένει το ίδιο… με περιμένει ένας διπλός μέτριος καφές και ένα γλυκό στη Δέσποινα… (μου το έχει τάξει και το περιμένω πως και πως)
Αύγουστος 2004. Πριν από εκείνο το καλοκαίρι ήμασταν 400 ξένοι μεταξύ μας. Μετά από 4 μήνες πρόβες, γίναμε μια ομάδα, μια οικογένεια, μια μικρή κοινωνία. Χορέψαμε μαζί γελάσαμε μαζί, κλάψαμε από υπερηφάνεια μαζί. Πάσχιζα να βγάλω αυτή τη γαμημένη μπογιά από το πρόσωπό μου μετά από κάθε πρόβα, αλλά ήταν το ποιο όμορφο ταξίδι που έχω ζήσει. Θυμάμαι να μη μας νοιάζει το λιοπύρι του Ασπρόπυργου, γιατί κάπως γνωρίζαμε όλοι ότι ήμασταν μέρος μιας ιστορικής βραδιάς. Το Ολυμπιακό στάδιο, έλαμψε στις ζεστές μέρες του Αυγούστου. Ζήσαμε με εμπειρία που μας ένωσε όλους ψυχή, και σώμα. Ομολογώ ότι ίσως για μία και μοναδική φορά στη ζωή μας ήμασταν όλοι υπερήφανοι ως Έλληνες. Κρατάω ακόμα επαφή με μερικούς μετά από 13 χρόνια, ελπίζω όλοι να είναι καλά.
Αύγουστος 2017 μετράω τις μέρες… να συναντήσω τα παλιά μονοπάτια, να νιώσω τον ήλιο και να με τρελάνει ο ήχος των τζιτζικιών το απομεσήμερο όταν κοιμάμαι μετά από ένα υπέροχο γεύμα πάνω στη παραλία με φίλους. Να ερωτευθώ τη ζωή ξανά μέσα στις καυτές μέρες του καλοκαιριού. Φέτος θα είναι το πιο όμορφο απ’ όλα, κοντά σε φίλους παντοτινούς, κοντά σε γνώριμες γειτονιές, με ανθρώπους δικούς μας που μας γεμίζουν τη ψυχή και με παρέες που μας κάνουν να ξεχνάμε και να θυμόμαστε μαζί.