Greece gives more than it takes. Forgiving and long-suffering, it shines its light with bright, warm days of full sun. It welcomes all and lavishes them with indescribable hospitality and a full table of clean, delicious food made with passion and love.
Each morning, I walk to Aria Di Rodi from my apartment. It takes ten minutes through narrow stone streets. I pass the restaurants that have finally closed for a couple of hours to reset. I see the evidence of the late-night service that ended only hours before, as the cats still eat the scraps thrown to the ground by the tourists from their tables. The chairs are neatly stacked so that the trucks can pass through with a fresh supply of produce, meats, and wines to fill their kitchens.
The morning is quiet and still. 8 am feels like 6 am because most places didn't close until 2 am or 4 am. The shops won't open for a few more hours when they will face the daily chore of cleaning the street in front of their shop. They sweep, wash, and mop the streets from what the littering tourists have left behind from the night before. They don't complain but accept the task and work peacefully with their neighboring shop owners, often taking turns washing each other's sections.
As I pass through the nightclub section, I see they have a larger job ahead of them cleaning the streets from broken glass, mountains of cigarette butts, and vomit. I can imagine the tourists starting out at dinner, then advancing to late-night shopping and migrating to the nightclubs and bars, leaving a wake of garbage behind them before they finally go to sleep.
The Heart of Greek Hospitality
I think about the tourists walking around the city, their shoulders burned from the beach. They have visited museums, taken walking tours, and swam in the sparkling clean Mediterranean Sea. They sit in cafes in the early afternoon, drinking Greek beer from large glass boots, their faces red from the sun and alcohol.
I think about the Greeks who own the shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs, who lovingly accept the tourists and generously offer their friendship. They don't hold grudges or feel bitter about their morning ritual of street cleaning, the constant requests for ice in their drinks, a better deal, or the mispronunciations of Moussaka. Each Greek is truly proud of their beautiful country and all that it has to offer.
Greece’s Enduring Spirit and Legacy
Greece gives more than it takes, and it has been that way since ancient times. Its stolen antiquities fill museums all over the world, and its language weaves through the language of each nation nearly undetected. Its math, science, and philosophy have influenced generations for thousands of years. From horsemanship to art, sports, democracy, theater, and libraries, Greece has shaped our modern world more than we would ever know. The generosity of a Greek is in its history as well as its legacy.
Inspired by the Generosity of Greece
I walk the streets each morning and feel inspired to become as generous as this homeland of my father. I want to give more than I take. I want to share my inventions, artfulness, and flavors with the world. I don't want to hold onto injustices or betrayals or become cynical toward strangers.
I want to be open and hospitable to everyone I meet and cherish their friendship, even if we only meet briefly. I want to invest in the people I love and share whatever I have. Even if they leave garbage in my streets, I want to love them anyway.