(always late) Arrival to Ithaka


Glimpse into my life: A few days ago I finished university. I am now waiting for my graduation ceremony and there is a lot I am planning for the future: an MFA degree, as much travelling as possible, lots of writing and some work experience, of course. It is the very first step, a small victory allowing me to try for the next one. How much does it feel like one, though? – enough about me!

There is always a bittersweet taste when something ends, especially a part of your life you enjoyed as much as I enjoyed university. Of course, there is always someone with that typical saying  at the tip of their tongue: “one thing ends and another one begins”. Well, as much as this sounds helpful in the movies, in life things tend to get a little bit more complicated than that. There are people, places and habits you leave behind and the separation can be hard.

So this Sunday afternoon we are talking about the irony of dream-chase. I read a quote by Neil Gaiman recently and it instantly brought tears to my eyes because I now know how truthful it is: “the price of getting what you want is getting what you once wanted”. I usually forget quotes even the ones that really impress me but this one felt like a punch in the stomach and I don’t think I will ever be able to let it go. So let’s talk about it Let’s examine the tones of wisdom hidden in every word. 

Being people, we are made to evolve. We are made to change day by day, minute by minute and that change depends on our experiences. We’re not goldfish, we learn even from the slightest experience. As we change, our dreams alter so do our priorities and our values. That is very healthy and we should be open to it. It is  after all the only way in order to become better. But we also become more and more afraid because aside of the brilliance of independence, the always-growing strength, the depths of human affection and the beyond-the-sky levels of actually being when falling in love, we discover the edges of our pain tolerance – and there’s no such thing! -, the fear of being less than enough, the certainty that we never were enough in the first place and the realisation that life has a way of trapping us like mice inside our own choices, our own rights and wrongs, inside our minds. 

All the above make our dreams change. You wish you would dare to be that childhood fantasy of yourself and it now seams completely… impractical? Even crazy! Who are the brave ones who will dare to be it? The “brave ones” or the idiots, who will end up regretting their lack of reason in their decisions?

And so, when you reach the mountain top. It now looks like a different place than the one you once had in mind. It’s not. It is usually exactly that. It’s you! It’s your eyes that look at it differently now. With a little more fear, a little more practicality and maybe – if you’ve been smart enough to understand the paths this journey led you through to get you right here – with a little more wisdom.

So, since you’ll always end up in the wrong place because your desires will always be one step ahead of you, just try for the best and appreciate what the steps you took to get there gave you. That’s why the beautiful quote we discuss today is not pessimistic at all, when you read it a second time. It would be a curse to be completely satisfied with what you have, because the only true gift humanity was ever given is no other than curiosity!

p.s. Sorry I’ve been away! Exams were a lot to handle. I’m back to stay!

Relevant recommendationC.P. Cavafy discussed what we are talking about today lots and lots of years ago in a beautiful poem, if you haven’t read Ithaka, you can enjoy it easily. Google it!


Have a magical day,

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Unsolved mysteries inside

It’s happened to you. It’s happened to all of us. For some it’s a smell, a song, a color, an object… anything, really! To me, it’s usually light. The way the sun comes in from a window. It instantly takes me to another place without me expecting it and forces me to get in a mood. Firstly, the mood I had in that particular memory – it kind of feels like time-travel – and then instant and inescapable nostalgia. I know you’ve experienced it.

You’re at a friends house having dinner. You taste the chicken pie that looks delicious and all of a sudden it tastes just like the one your grandmother used to make when you were a kid. The memory strikes you hard. You suddenly feel as careless as you were at that moment, playing with you cousin in the back yard. A feeling of light sadness follows. You guessed it. Today, we talk about memories

memories bridge.jpg

Memories are a huge part of life. They are past experiences that form our actions, our choices and the biggest part of ourselves today. People since the beginning of time have been trying to find ways to keep memories alive for as long as possible. They did it by telling stories, painting portraits, writing books and then printing them so anyone could have access and for the past century memories are recorded in cameras: photographs and video so they never die. Is that enough to keep them alive, though?

Even if you experienced something with an other individual, the memory of that incident will be completely different in their mind than it will be in yours. Memories are to a great extend – if not completely – subjective. They are formed inside your head and they are mixed with you perception of reality, you feelings, your personality and you past experiences. Researches have shown that the more you talk about something you experienced, the stronger the memory of it gets in your mind. So, you are more likely not to forget about it in the future.

A lot of people believe that we are our memories, that our lives are actually a collection of past moments. But is that so? Since everything has passed and all we’re left with is the present, are we rally a pile of memories all together or is it a little more complicated than that?

memories  pile of pictures.jpg

At some point, bad things will happen. You will not be who you were, neither will I. At that moment, don’t sit around remembering who you used to be, missing your life back then. There’s always a way to make it better. Benefit form your experiences and don’t repeat mistakes – if you can, if you do repeat… don’t be afraid to try again! –

We might be just a collection of moments or we might be our present self and nothing more. In the future we might not even be… at all. No matter what, be grateful for where you’ve been so far – because it’s made you, you! – and work for where you’re going to be in the future. Get to work! You have so many new memories to make.

have a magical day,



glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

Midsummer insomnia accompanied by a symphony of thunders

just a recommendation: listen to Message Personnel by Francoise Hardy while reading

There’s something erotic about rain in July. It’s been raining all day. It’s never enough… All along I’ve had a fear. From the moment it begun… What if it never rains again? What if the land dries from the cruelty of the sun?

I wanted to go to bed. I have a lot to do tomorrow but there’s no chance for that. I tried. The sound of it keeps me awake. I can’t keep myself inside. Maybe if I pulled my bed in the balcony, it would work but… it’s heavy and I won’t miss this smell for a few hours of sleep.

bird before rain.jpg

For the first fifteen years of my life I hated the rain. What wonderful moments I missed not enjoying this… If you are a person who can appreciate things that provide you with good company such as music, a pen, pillows and chamomile, then you surely know the value of the smell and the sound of rain. But in the summer that value is instantly doubled. We are, after all humans, the greediest of animals. We need to miss something in order to appreciate it. And when it arrives just for a night and you have no idea how long it will be until it comes back, you don’t risk missing a minute of it. You stay awake to take it all in.

Maybe if we saw everything like this storm, we would be happy. Some great philosopher back in the times of Renaissance, whose name I can’t recall, said that happiness is only a matter of imagination. He claimed that we can only create it for ourselves. Is this it? How close can a sudden July storm be to answering the great mysteries of life? I guess very close or… not at all. It depends…

I’m sorry if that was all boring but I had a shitty day and great expectations – as I always do –  but none of them met reality – as they always do –  and I was sad and a unbearably lazy but still after all… it rained.

How could I not shout it to the world? Have a magical night


glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic!”

If you love Tennessee Williams as much as I do, you already smiled because you recognized the quote from a Streetcar Named Desire. Don’t we all have a few drops of Blanche DuBois somewhere inside us? A little dreamer who can’t go along with the world around them and aches to escape in their own way…

i don't want realism

I am still wondering though… What really is “realism” and what separates it from “magic”? Aren’t there parts of one in the other? Let’s define realism as everyday life and everything that goes with it – the struggles, the routine, the alarm that goes off on Monday morning etc…. I am not by any means implying that getting up at 6:30 a.m. on a Monday is poetic, don’t get me wrong but… smiling to your neighbor, who also just got out of his apartment with a thermos in his hand, their hair still messed up and an expression that looks exactly like yours, is kind of poetic. It’s what I call “magic” because even if that only lasted for a moment, you’ll both forget it in the next sixty seconds and get on with your days, it was enough to make you feel you’re not alone.

Magic is hidden in the details. The people who know how to find it, find happiness easily. So learn to enjoy the little moments and learn to observe and appreciate. Bring along the people around you and get them to smile more. And if they’re still grumpy complaining endlessly about that alarm that has to go off on a Monday morning, that’ ok. You can always rely on the kindness of strangers.

(I am winking at you at the moment)

have a magical day!

glance at the sky

by Elena Ktenopoulou