This is to let you know that I have failed to complete the NaNoWriMo 2018 Challenge. What exactly is this, you might ask and rightly so. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a challenge that started in the US about ten years ago and has since spread to every corner of the world. Every year thousands of people vow to complete the arduous task of writing 50k words within a month, i.e. a short novel that has about the same length as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
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?
Life is too short to fall for people who don’t love you loudly, or for relationships that don’t set fire to your soul. Our time on this earth is impermanent and in those years we must love fearlessly. The person you’re meant to be with will challenge you, will push you, will drive you crazy. Make you happy and confused and show you what real, complicated love is, all at the same time. The person you’re meant to be with will terrify you because they make you feel something greater than anything else. So this is what you need to know about love – you must always chase the person who scares you. Don’t settle for comfort. Love wildly.
The quote above appeared on Instagram account humanlovers back in August underneath a black and white photo that shows a couple in a passionate embrace, followed by countless similar photos with their own melodramatic captioning. [Who all these couples are and why they’re allowing third parties into their most cherished private moments, we shall never know.]
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.”
There are times when I look at a friend (my friend, not just someone that I met one time) and literally cannot recall their name. Luckily that’s pretty rare… but it does happen. I can’t remember celebrity names, athletes’ names, restaurant names, clothing brands, etc. In case I haven’t made it clear enough, remembering names is not my forte.
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.