I had already started shoveling smaller rocks
“Wait, there’s something cool under there!” I shouted abruptly as my sister shoveled fossilized debris alongside me in pursuit of glistening gemstones or tiny seashells.
In Corfu, Greece, our second home, my sister Larissa and I have been fortunate enough to have built a relationship exclusively on the adventure of the place. We’ve been partners in crime since childhood, exploiting the rocky coastline of its concealed treasures.
“It’s too big,” my sister sighed, but by then I had already started shoveling smaller rocks out from around the boulder that had seized my attention.
“We can get it.” And we did—painstakingly dislodging seemingly ancient stones, we pulled out this rock, which seemed to weigh one hundred pounds to our small body frames. Inscribed on the speckled gray surface (the shade typical of Grecian rocks) appeared an intricate seascape—there were curved waves carved methodically, with a visible beach and the Sun shining down on the blissful bas-relief of an afternoon. All of this was in raised stone seamlessly attached to the otherwise bland rock exterior. My sister and I looked at each other swiftly, and resolved to lug the tonnage across the dirt road to the fence of a neighboring house.
“It’s beautiful,” my sister remarked when we had carefully nestled the rock in the long, thin beach grasses.
“We’ve got to keep it safe,” I decided. But the rock clearly couldn’t fly back to the US, and it was too heavy for us to carry any further. So we left it by the fence and took the plane back home the very next day, never relieved of curiosity about the inexplicable artwork which seemed to have been crafted by Mother Nature herself. The next year on the beach, though, the rock was gone—we were convinced it had been stolen, but, in truth, a particularly turbulent winter meant the sea had reclaimed it.
Thinking back on that enchanting day, I don’t know if I can say with certainty that the rock was as impressive as we perceived it. It’s a common thought that pieces of art seem less masterful now compared to what I remember from childhood. Just like the precious memories of simpler times when the concept of Santa Claus was viable and homework lasted five minutes a night, the masterpiece rock is enshrined nowhere but the memories collected and preserved among the my childhood’s happy memories. The beauty of this potential inconsistency is that, regardless of truth or details, the day fills me with a sense of wonder. That inspiration is for me the most striking part of being a kid—I’ve found the better I cling to this idea of ephemeral curiosity, the happier I become.
I want to preserve this curiosity about the world. As a result, if I could choose to live anywhere in the world, I would choose to live in my ancestral homeland: I would buy a house in Corfu, Greece. Not only is this area a prime, beautiful area for real estate, but it is also a place where I could live a lifestyle unmarred by the damaging effects of the overly-automated outside world. Even as sometimes I can understand palpably how quickly Greece is gaining similarity to the rest of the outside world, when I look out to the underdeveloped mountaintops and humble tourist shops in the small village of Kassiopi in Greece, I not only see home, but also see opportunities for exploration and the simple wonderment of childhood. In Greece, I am given free rein to be more active, as I walk frequently to the local market, and cars are not as common. I have the serenity and drive to get work done, even when I live in a small room in the second floor of a beach house, but also don’t experience the same crushing stress I do at home, as whenever the beach calls me to turn over a few shells beneath the sand and wave-rounded rocks, I find time to capitulate.
Greece is my ideal location because I have a personal, longstanding connection to it, and an unbridled affinity for the values that it represents. While Greece will continue to evolve in the coming years, on the whole, I find its philosophy refreshing. The country in general rings with thousands of years of intellectual development, and its present inhabitants maintain the axiom of “kefi”: in life, the most important thing is the joy you have, and, by extension, the joy you are capable of giving.