I first got into podcasts when I started training for a half marathon last summer. Despite loving all the energy I’d get from my music playlists, running long distances could get quite… lonely. And you can only listen to the same Lizzo album on repeat for so long.
This year, instead of writing down resolutions, I decided on a few words and expressions that I would like to carry with me throughout the next twelve months. Besides having specific, more tangible goals, sometimes we need a quote, some sort of mental guidance to see us through our days, both good and bad ones.
It has been a challenging fall, a challenging year. Some ups, some downs and a handful of detours. Nevertheless, 2018 was full of new opportunities and learnings as well, the most important of which I’d like to share with you here:
2018 was one of the few years to find me without an endless resolution list. As shared on the blog earlier this year, the only tangible goal I set for myself was to read 35 books. Twelve months later, I’m more than happy to announce that I not only met my goal, I went above and beyond – I read 40 books during 2018, not counting three or four that are still lying half-read around the house.
Soul mates. Other halves. Isn’t it funny how in a world that champions the individual, we were potty-trained to believe that we’re incomplete and have thus to spend our lives looking for the person that will make us feel whole again?
In the realms of Greek culture, food is the sixth love language. From the extended family coming together around the table for a Sunday feast to celebrating life’s milestones with friends over dinner, from my grandfather offering me the ripest, juiciest tomato of his crop moments after it has been cut off from the plant to showing at your heartbroken best friend’s door with a box of sweets from her favourite neighbourhood bakery, food is always a good answer to showing and sharing love. Not only romantic love, platonic and family love is rooted in food as well, ideally carbs.
Sicilian food tastes like what I imagine food in heaven is going to be like. If not, I’m more than happy to rot in hell. [Provided that there will be abundant supply of sushi.] As Matthew Fort writes in Sweet Honey, Bitter Lemons, “Sicilian cooking embraces contrast, discord, counterpoint, counterpunching, variance and the absence of delicacy … the dishes are as bold and baroque as any flamboyant building.”
When meeting someone who knows the word flâneur, it feels like reuniting with an long-lost sibling. So imagine my excitement when I came across a store with that name in the heart of Athens, in the picturesque and usually tourist-ridden area of Plaka.
[Thanks to all the friends and family who sent me a photo of the storefront when passing by or messaged me to tell me about this. All 7.452 of you.]
Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari is a book that I keep revisiting over conversations with friends. Ansari addresses the pleasures and perils of modern romance in an honest, humorous, insightful and quintessentially millennial manner. His references expand from celebrities and Reddit threads to social scientists like Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer; as a result the book feels like a lighthearted read that has done its research.