This summer I got to spend 2 1/2 weeks with a beautiful young woman! Did I mention I got to spend 2 1/2 weeks with a beautiful young woman in Greece?
I told both of our daughters that when they turn 20 years old they get to pick a "Dream Trip." (Our daughter, Alyssa, turned 20 years old this past June.) Anywhere in the world, just her and me... Sounds pretty incredible doesn't it? Well it was!
You see, I am Greek. It comes from my mother's side. It is the part of my heritage I connect with the most. Both sets of great grandparents immigrated to the United States via Ellis Island. Both sets of grandparents settled in the San Francisco Bay area and both sets of grandparents established and ran restaurants. See! Food is in my blood!
Like me, Alyssa has always dreamed of visiting Greece. We have relatives in Athens and the islands. My grandfather's family comes from a southern island called, Samos. When I was about Alyssa's age, I backpacked all through Europe for nearly 7 months! It was a life-changing experience. I realized my dream of visiting Greece then. The six weeks I spent island hopping culminated in a visit to Samos. It was my "dream," to visit this island, just like it was Alyssa's...
Thanks in large part to Facebook, I am now connected to several Greek cousins. As I have posted in the past, if you're family, you are "in." This is how Greek's roll. A very helpful cousin, arranged meetings and helped book a room and car, sent directions and even itinerary suggestions! Our Samos relatives welcomed us with open hearts, arms and homes. We had a magnificent and magical time!
English is not common place in the village of our people but kindness is. Kindness flows as freely as the waves that lap the Grecian shore. We connected over food too! we were welcomed with true Greek coffee and delicious cherry spoon sweets. (Spoon sweets are sort of like sweet preserves and a very traditional Greek delicacy that are a gesture of hospitality.) Later, we had a glorious al fresco lunch with salads, barbecue and Samos wine. We got to see the house where my great grandmother lived too! The feelings that came flooding in as I crossed that threshold were powerful! We returned a day later to gorge on loukmades (like little donuts served with cinnamon, nuts and honey) and more Greek coffee before dinner in a nearby fishing village. We ate and laughed while the sunset and the sky turned from gold to dusty-rose to violet.
Do you, Dear Reader, have a "Dream Place?" I only have one word for you, "GO!" Life is quick and life is full of the unknown. Eat that yummy something. Tell someone they make your heart sing. GO to your dream place...
Avid home cook and passionate instructor