Thursday, June 13, 2013

Recollection of a great night

Riding through the narrow roads, the sun setting in the distance, traveling up and up, my ears pop as we ascend the mountainside.  After the sun goes down, the only remaining lights are from the cars, the surrounding villages and city of the Chania in the distance.  I hear people in the distance and see other cars parked on the side of the road.  We stop and get out.  Walking uphill and arriving at the outdoor celebration there is a brief moment of judgmental examination and feeling out of place, but before I can even feel this awkwardness, it goes away.  We are greeted by smiling faces and are surrounded by sounds of joy.  People offer food and drink.  It seems they have an endless supply of it.  There is a wholesomeness of the spinach and feta in a philo pastry, a saltiness of bread with anchovies, and a perfect combination of yogurt rice combined with the roasted lamb that easily pulls away from the bone.

This is a social occasion.  Conversations are loud, passionate and genuine.  The locals near us are friendly and hospitable.  They want to get to know us, but also share their wisdom.  Why can’t I remember what I learned in Greek class earlier in the day? What is Greek for ‘I understand’? Through collective efforts, the limitations of language are overcome and we communicate effectively.  Everyone exudes happiness, but it is not a feeling of cheap blissfulness.  I am overwhelmed feeling that I was able to have a sensual experience unlike anything I have ever felt in my life before.  After much food, drink, laughter, compassion, discourse, and celebration, it is time to head back to the institution.  We pile into the cars tired but happy.  Feeling slightly hungry and not yet ready for sleep, I enjoy a plate of succulent stewed lamb and share mutual feelings of satisfaction with my classmates while we reflect on a great night.  Finally, I crawl into bed, close my eyes and sleep.  At this moment in time there is nothing else in the world that I could want or need.

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