I am a person who loves colors. Whenever I have to choose between a pair of glasses, new clothes, or a new purse, my choice is always the most brightly-colored. This has become instinctive throughout the years, and it is only recently that I realized it is directly related to my native country. I was born and raised in the center of Athens, Greece, and despite this, I have spent all my summers by the sea. The smells, the images and the sounds I grew up with in both the city, but also the countryside, have really shaped my personality. Yet I always took them for granted, and never realized their true worth.
On several occasions, destiny has led me away from Greece. The most recent one, however, was the one which made me appreciate my origins the most. It was during one of my visits in Athens that I stopped in a small, humble, white church by the sea, very close to my home. The sun was bright; the sea was a bit agitated but crystal clear and turquoise.
I entered the church; I lit my candle and headed towards Saint Marina’s icon in order to pay my respect. As I was approaching the icon, a perfume coming from it hit my nostrils. It was a mixture of various aromas: jasmine, rose, lavender and lemon flowers. Such a familiar smell diffused in the air! So many childhood memories resurrected. I stepped outside and was hit by the brightness of the white color on the walls. I took a moment and filled up my senses with the sound of the splash of the waves, the contrast between the blue and the white and last but not least the smells of the sea salt and the flowers.
I kept the aftertaste of these feelings vivid during my return to the country I was living in back then. Thanks to them I was coping with the long, dreary and dull winters. This deprivation of the sun, the colors and the smells that make Greece so characteristic made me appreciate what was missing from my life, and for the first time I understood the true beauty of it all.
These are mutual sentiments shared by all Greeks, since we decide to stand by our nation through thick and thin, and would never disregard the experiences and pleasures this land has to offer. I cannot explain the love I feel towards Greece, since it is something ingrained in my soul.