Emma Andrikidis ‘21
Belmont High School, Belmont, Massachusetts
Looking out at the Mediterranean Sea, I delight in each bite of the kolokithakia tiganita my Yiayia had made for lunch. In the small fishing village of Methoni, Greece, my grandmother wanders through her garden each day, selecting plump tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, and eggplants from their respective vines. My Pappou voyages far into the Mediterranean Sea, hopeful that his worn yellow fishing net will bring him luck that day. Continuing this daily routine from afar, my Baba hand-picks produce at the grocery store and closely inspects fillets at the fish counter. Each ingredient he buys is intentional, and excess is discouraged. At home, my pantry consists of spare bits and pieces, usually resulting in lopsided, but carefully crafted open-faced sandwiches after school. Despite living 4,697 miles away from Methoni, the Greek values ingrained into my upbringing serve as a subconscious guide to my everyday life.
Each summer day in Methoni ends with a wave of satisfaction, a feeling rarely felt at the end of ordinary days in Massachusetts. In Greece, there may not be anything to show for at the end of the day besides the lasting memories that had been formed. Yearning to experience that same sense of fulfillment, I assured myself I would make adventure this summer. I found myself continually traveling to Walden Pond, a place I would visit often as a child, and sporadically every summer since then. After reading Thoreau’s Walden last year, I was reminded of how close I was to Walden Pond, and inspired by the notion that I was in control of my own life. When I would return home, I would revel in that same feeling of gratification that I felt in Methoni every night, content with the knowledge that I had spent my hours deliberately.
I like to think I spend my time with direction. So pleased am I that I grasp the concept that, as sung by Henry David Thoreau, “to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust." Without fail, I have read every piece of literature I have been assigned, using my time wisely. To not read it would be to cheat myself of insight that could have been gained. Most school nights I sit in the middle of my bed typing on my keyboard, as the notes of my father’s bouzouki, a type of Greek guitar, echo in repetition. I approach each task, no matter the scale, with the same sense of tenacity and diligence. On more than one occasion have I been playfully ridiculed by my friends for my ornately crafted birthday cards or elaborate planning of day trips. However, this does not diminish my understanding of the vital need to “live in the present."
Mesimeri, meaning midday, is a special time in Greece. A collection of moments specifically allotted to enjoying a meal with family, and when rest in encouraged. Without the luxury of a designated mesimeri, I have been compelled to put aside my own time to live presently. Whether it be a trip to my favorite boba tea shop, or merely to the local 24-hour CVS, I put aside the task at hand, almost always accompanied by a dear friend. During these outings, I find “eternity in each moment” and return to my obligations with a new sense of rejuvenation.
I have learned to find satisfaction in deconstruction. Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but many times the parts themselves are equally as outstanding. My life is made up of many parts, some more outstanding than others. For this reason, I will savor my one perfect lunch, trips for boba with friends, and long days spent at Walden Pond. With each new experience I find myself influenced by Methoni, and with this Greek wisdom I look forward to finding the extraordinary hidden within the ordinary.