Reflections on No.28

A new year began yesterday!

At least, arbitrarily anyway – I turned 28.

For the first time, this year I’m feeling a bit….strange. A bit more ambivalent and unsure, a bit less excited about entering a new year. Part of this has to do with that number – 28 feels a lot more solidly ‘adult’ than even 27 or 26. The other part of this is life in Greece.. It’s becoming harder and harder to be excited about the future (This seems like it may be an increasingly global trend, but that’s a topic for another time).

In an effort to refocus on the positives, I challenged myself to gather 27 of the best moments from the past year.


Wedding tourism to the island of Kythera

13690855_10206907108062907_7597681142399982592_nWatching my oldest friend get married in New York

image-uploaded-from-ios-1My tiny (but growing!) garden of succulents and herbs

Writing for theTravelPorter, and challenging myself creatively

image-uploaded-from-ios-5Athens Half Marathon

image-uploaded-from-ios3First Thanksgiving in the US in ten years

P3263551Treasure hunts, literal and metaphorical

Greek Easter in the mountains of Pylio

image-uploaded-from-ios-2Athens Eating – discoveries are never ending!

Finding (& loving) a new Athens neighbourhood – from Kolonaki to Mets

image-uploaded-from-ios6Adventures in the kitchen, facilitated by various new kitchen gadgets

image-uploaded-from-ios5Diving into family archives

More reading – always more reading!

Palia Fava Finding our real ‘spot’ – a local taverna where they know our order and throw in lots of extra lemons because we’re ‘such good kids’

5Becoming a local – making friends with the butcher, becoming first-name friends with the proprietors of the neighbourhood ‘whole foods’/organic shop

Discovering Sherlock

Making things. Not as much as I’d like, but the creative gene has come out to play a little bit this year

Bookshelves; my books have a home!

Instagram – I’m embarrassed to admit how fun I find it..

Writing for theTravelPorter taught me a lot, including how to use SEOs. Life skills!

Prioritising good shoes – super sturdy hiking boots, etc, to prioritise adventures

Ancient Delphi (Re)visiting ancient Delphi

image-uploaded-from-ios1A visit from my best friend from university, and explorations on the island of Aegina

image-uploaded-from-ios-4Wedding tourism on the island of Kea/Tzia

Attaliotika Easter Baking
Family time – not enough (never enough), but good family time. In this picture, pre-Easter baking.

image-uploaded-from-ios2This view (morning or night) is a daily dose of perspective (spot the sea on the far left!)

That person


Ready for 28 – let’s do this!Kythera


Travelogue: Monastery, Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

It’s been a while, but I’m continuing the series recounting a roadtrip in the Greek Peleponnese, around Easter. This was my first time exploring this part of the country, and after the trip I’m totally convinced it’s one of the best places to visit in Greece. To catch up, the roadtrip started at Ancient Olympia, with the archaeological site in all its spring glory and the fantastic Olympia Archaeological Museum. The next stop was Voidokilia, Messinia, an incredible lagoon, great for nature (and bird watching!). Nearby, the city of Pylos (formerly known as Navarino!) beckoned with castles and fantastic views. The western Greek coast was occupied, at various stages, by both the Venetians and the Ottoman Turks – so the next stop on the road trip was the Castle of Methoni, followed by Koroni Castle.

The castle of Koroni covered a massive area, and was too gorgeous for me to restrain my picture-taking impulses.. After exploring the ruined church and neighbouring cemetery, and then taking in the view from the walls, we entered the monastery of the Panagia of Koroni. Koroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleInside the low walls of this monastery we found only a handful of nuns, and almost as many churches. This church pictured above, dedicated to St Sophia, is so far below the current ground level you can imagine how old it must be. There has been a monastery of the site since the twelfth century. Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle

Koroni CastleVisiting this place in the spring was magical – the nuns keep an incredible garden – but it was also right after Easter so the church was decorated with red and white, proclaiming that Christ has Risen.Koroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleA vantage point on the interior wall of the monastery gave a better sense of the scale of the castle, as well as how strategic that location must have been. Koroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleKoroni CastleWe explored the gardens, and little churches, and soaked in the view, leaving just as the sun was setting. Next stop – the Byzantine ruins of Mystras! Koroni Castle

Koroni Castle Koroni Castle


Well, this month is moving right along, eh? (I’m trying to be cool about it!) Here’s some of what I got up to this week:


The ‘untranslatable’ emotions you never knew you had, BBC
One positive point for globalisation: maybe it can help us expand our emotional vocabulary? (But where is the Greek ‘kefi’?)

A To-Do List for Today and Every Day, Mari Andrew, via Cup of Jo

The Data That Turned the World Upside Down, Motherboard
A serious must-read ; analysis of big data, collected from Facebook, etc., used in both the ‘Leave’ campaign in the UK and Trump’s campaign.

Advice to my Younger Self, Cup of Jo
In keeping with my New Year ‘non-resolutions’ to be a little more relaxed and focused in the present, this advice is reassuring. I especially loved Michelle Obama’s comments.

How to Get Out of the Cycle of Outrage in a Trump World, Thrive Global
I’ll listen to almost anything Arianna Huffington has to say, but this piece is timely. Keeping up with every new development and feeling the accompanying feelings is just… overwhelming. Here’s how to break the cycle.

Macron the Maverick, Project Syndicate
Unplugging from the news is easier said that done – this commentary, about a candidate in the French presidential election, brings some interesting insight into the mix. ‘A Macron victory could launch a counter-trend to the populism that is sweeping the globe, by giving hope to all who are sympathetic to the left or right, but anxious about populism and hyper-nationalism.’

MoMA’s Ingenious Anti-Trump, Pro-Muslim Art Protest, Bluin Artinfo
Yet another reminder that resistance can come in many forms, and we all have


Saw this 2012 film about the campaigns leading up to the 1988 referendum on whether or not Pinochet should remain in power. It raises some especially timely questions about advertising and voter targeting.

Obama’s EPA Chief On The U.S. And Climate Change, On Point with Tom Ashbrook
I thought this was an especially insightful interview with Gina McCarthy, who speaks eloquently on the non-partisan importance of the EPA and what might be coming next.


Love is in the Air! What to Do in Athens on Valentine’s Day
My most recent writing for the TravelPorter – just a little cheesy.

+Preparing some travelogue + book review posts, coming soon!



A round up of this week’s:


The Detective of Northern OdditiesOutside Online
Loved this quirky portrait of an Alaska scientist, just as much about her as a person as the disturbing environmental trends her work reveals.

Refugees are already vigorously vetted. I know because I vetted them, The Washington Post
This piece was written by a former US immigration officer, who intimately describes the process refugees go through when applying for resettlement in the US.

U UP?The New Yorker
Miss you Obama.

How a Photo of Jewish and Muslim Kids Protesting President Trump Went Viral, Time
Yes America. ❤

This week’s more lighthearted ‘WTF’ moment, Business Insider


Global girl power, via Saudi Arabia (from NPR).

Something a little heart-warming – maybe we do have more in common than we think? Good job, Denmark.

I didn’t do the ‘love’ them on purpose, but it seems like a good one for this week.


John Lewis – the Art & Discipline of NonviolenceOn Being with Krista Tippett
These words seem more important than ever. ‘So you try to appeal to the goodness of every human being and you don’t give up. You never give up on anyone.’

Anti-Semitism in America, Fareed’s Take on Trump’s Travel Ban, ACLU vs. President Donald TrumpFareed Zakaria GPS
Great conversation, but also a telling example of a voice of reason drowned out by hurt indignation. (Thanks Theia!)

Busted, America’s Poverty Myths, Radiolab/On the Media
This series methodically tackles (and dismantles) America’s poverty myths. Worth listening to

Fortress America, Hidden Brain
Nuanced discussion of what we can (and can’t) learn from history, examining the case of the SS St Louis, the ship full of Holocaust refugees turned back from the United States in 1939.


Plotting when I can make these brownies.

Currently drinking a lot of this before bed (with my most recent kitchen experiment, homemade almond milk!).

Just realised there is a lot of subtext going on in these links. I’ll add just one more here – basically sums it all up: How to #StayOutraged without Losing Your Mind.

Extra hugs to everyone today, just because.

Around Athens in January

What a month. I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go, though it flew by a little fast for me. Some highlights from the first month of what will be, I’m sure, an ‘interesting’ year: I celebrated New Years in Greece for the first time this year, eating plenty of vasilopita (though without finding the lucky coin..), did a lot of wandering around a rainy and chilly city, and enjoyed some unseasonably warm days too. Time, though not enough, with friends and family, and an adventure to a botanic garden near Athens that I will devote a full post to later. Though things sometimes feel like they are spinning a little out of control, overall there’s a lot going well in my little microcosm – lots of be grateful for, but ready for February!

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Aunt’s incredible new year’s table

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A Christmas tree in the wild! 

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Sunset over Athens, view from Ymittos

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Kolonaki views

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Stumbled upon a procession for Epiphany.. 

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Brunch at Zampano!

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Still pinching myself that I walk past these sights everyday.. 

Vasilissis Sophias

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Snow in Athens! 

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Waking up to a snow-covered city.

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Snowman invasion in the National Gardens

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A rainy night in Monastiraki

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Summarises January pretty accurately I think

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New yummy discoveries in Koukaki – Fabrica tou Efrosinou

Women's March, Athens

Athens’ representation for the Women’s March on Washington

Women's March, Athens

Women's March, Athens

Women's March, Athens


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Adventures in cyber land at ‘Hybrids,’ Onassis Cultural Centre

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An adventure to the Attica Plant Park – stay tuned! 


Evening Kolonaki colours


Rain rain.. 

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Not all grey skies! 


End of the month walk along the sea


Alimos Bay

Sea Alimos

Happy February!