Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Reflections: Lost+

Five years ago I boarded on a plane to London. I studied. I worked. I had fun. Then I had my heart broken and like a doctor, I prescribed my self an antibiotic in the form of an airplane ticket to New York. I went. I saw. I spent. I healed. I boarded on a plane to Athens. Having lived in Greece for almost a year now I feel a changed person. I try hard not to lose faith in me, in other people and in the system. As a result, more and more do I lose faith in me, in people and in the system. Except for when I don’t. At times I feel strong, yet weak; fortunate, yet a touch pessimistic; regularly lucky and blessed. What amazed me most is the bonding with the people – the variables of my micro cosmos, who turned out to be the driving force to my road trip. We have had together many joyful and some not so joyful times. We have shared love, laughter and silence. We have run up hills, taken long walks, drove miles, visited places, danced until dawn, sang by the fire, held hands, exchanged beautiful glances, raised our glasses. We have come a long way.

Never before did I feel so disadvantaged yet so privileged. Having learned what ‘live within one’s means’ feels like, I have come to appreciate the truth and the hidden grace behind life’s much acclaimed simplicity. At last, I shook off Lord Tennyson’s brutal line, ‘and faith unfaithful kept him falsely true’.

This is the tale of a girl who, against all odds, in the past twelve months has lived merrily within her means, rain or shine. In all its vanity, this has been a mellow year. You have hope in me now.

I started writing this blog post as a tribute to my beloved friends. Life’s unforeseeable circumstances resulted in the loss of my brother’s dearest friend, Fanis. This post is dedicated to his loving memory for all the joy he brought to my brother’s life. May he rest in peace. His warm smile, kind eyes and soft voice will dwell in my soul forever.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Thoughts on Greece's new Prime Minister

Right after the appointment of Lucas Papademos as the country's new Prime Minister, I was asked my initial reaction on the news. In short, I believe that Papademos, not being a politician per se, has the potential to provide fair leadership at a time when the Greek people, let down by their politicians, are reaching their limits. His job is to act as a mediator between the people of the country, on the one hand, desperate for political stability and, on the other hand, the country's international partners and the market, in need for signals of commitment.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Top 11 Presidential Republican Candidate quotes of 2011

The Washington Post’s Chris Chilliza’s The Fix has recently put together a list of the 11 best /worst political quotes of 2011. Inspired by his twitter appeal, I compiled my personal favorite list of the 11 worst Presidential Republican Candidate quotes of 2011. For those of you who might wonder why I get fixated on GOP (God’s Own Party?), the answer is rather plain. At the moment I am half the way around the world and GOP is (one of) my source(s) of entertainment.

1. 'The first thing I'm going to do is build a double fence' - M. Bachmann (H. Cain, on the other hand, will build a fence twenty feet high, with barbed wire, electrified. With a sign on the other side that says ‘it can kill you’)

2. ‘The third agency of government I would do away with - the Education, the Commerce and let's see. I can't, the third one, I can't, sorry’ – R. Perry (Ooops!)

3. ‘That’s the order: religion, morality and knowledge’ – N. Gingrich (followed by How can I trust you with power if you don’t pray?)

4. ‘That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks’ – R. Paul (in response to W. Blitzer’s question ‘He [30 year old man] doesn't have it [insurance] and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?’)

5. ‘You'd think by now they [politicians in Washington] would get the message. An earthquake, a hurricane. Are you listening?’ – M. Bachmann

6. ‘No, I will not. There is this creeping attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government’ – H. Cain (in response to ‘Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?’)

7. ‘I ‘ve never hired an illegal in my life’ – M. Romney (actually, he did)

8. ‘Social security is a Ponzi scheme’ – R. Perry

9. ‘We should be like 1900, we should be like 1940, 1950, 1960. I propose [..] we tide people over until we come to our senses and realize that FEMA has been around since 1978’ – R. Paul (arguing that the federal government should reduce FEMA’s role in disaster relief. In fact, ‘the greatest natural disaster to ever strike the United States occurred in 1900 at Galveston, Texas’ according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. More than 6,000 people died)

10. ‘Evolution is a theory that’s out there and it’s got some gaps in it’ – R. Perry

11. ‘Removing "Don't Ask /Don’t Tell" I think tries to inject social policy into the military [..] and that’s tragic’ – R. Santorum