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The Year

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I’ve been writing this blog for a long time now. Several years of my life have been documented in the 70 some posts that are Meet Me in Thessaloniki. In the last year or so, I have found myself in a difficult moment of life. Most of my dear Facebook friends will quickly tell you they are annoyed with the mass amount of ‘all things Greece’ dumped onto their newsfeed from yours truly. 

You see this year was supposed to be thee year. The year I have been waiting for since 2009. The one I dreamed about, envisioned over and over. And now it’s gone. Poof. It only exists in what one day will likely end in a movie script that I will indeed try to sell as a turning of age story of a girl looking to be loved in the way she can love. (Just for the record- it wins a few Oscars). The lovely heroine would of course be played by Jennifer Lawrence, because who doesn’t love her? and obviously she and I are dead ringers for each other (insert sarcasm and a genuine mix of all seriousness). 

2014 is the year I was convinced that I would move back to Greece. Since 2009 I said I would live in Thessaloniki again, I would come back for good one day, and I thought that would be in 2014. I had an interview with the school I attended while in Greece. I was a shoe-in. Or at least I thought I was. 

For the record, dear readers, or random bored human out there reading this because they liked the colorful design and my snarky attitude about J-Law- I am not an over-confident person. When I say I was a shoe-in, I genuinely mean it. I was over-qualified for this job. My heart was prepared for it. I was prepared for it. I did all but pack my bags 6 months early, and it’s a good thing I didn’t. 

God had other plans. That’s one thing that’s changed drastically since I first started writing Meet Me. I so questioned my faith back then, I was in search of something bigger, and I looked in a lot of wrong places for it. Not now. I can look in my heart for the biggest thing- God. 

For anyone who has read this blog, they know that I fell in love when in Greece, with a man named Kosta. He was everything to me. I saw him every time I went back to Thessaloniki. I would lose time over him repeatedly because I was so in love. And then he had a girlfriend. A girlfriend he cheated on, with me. I am not proud of that, especially now, when I try to set an example for the young women in my life that I lead. 

But I would justify it, I would continue to pursue my heart because he was my true love. He was mine! Or at least the invisible stamp that I had all over him said so. But as I told him the news that I could be moving back home to Greece after these five years away the words, “I’ll be married next year,” just rolled from his lips. It was a dagger. 

Had I not known better I thought I was just stabbed. How could he? How could he replace me? It was a flash. Everything after that moment. His face flushed with regret, tears. I congratulated him. What more can a girl do? Apart from call up her best friend after ending the skype call and ask her to take the bitch out. Which I did do. Immediately after getting off this call, I was plotting how to get him back. Thinking about ways we’d be together again.

And then it happened. Three days later I got the news from Greece. ‘It was a very difficult decision this year, as there were many outstanding candidates’. Another dagger. I knew what had happened. Oh and was I pissed?! God did this. God did this because I wouldn’t do it for myself. Had I gotten that job in Thessaloniki, there is no question in my mind that I would have broken up Kosta’s marriage. It would not have been a matter of if, but when. 

That is the most disgusting and ugly thing about me today. I’m pretty sure of that. I was more willing to fight for him than search for a man who would never put himself in a position to cheat. God did this. God protected me from my sin and from myself. God gave me an opportunity to be better. I’m going to take it. 

In the last several weeks, God has been doing crazy shit. Sorry for the cursing- but it’s legit. Crazy. He is uncovering things in me that I haven’t felt in years, if ever. He is putting things in place in me as his child that I didn’t think I was good enough to be part of. 

I always thought I wasn’t a real Christian because I was never able to experience things the way other Christians were in my life. It’s funny how amazing hurt can be for a child of God. If you look really carefully at the dirt of your soul and examine why you put it there, you might better understand why God loves you. And that’s just it. That’s what I realized in these last couple of months. In January and February, there were a lot of days I thought I was going to die. I was so scared, so depressed, so hurt by things around me and I just felt like I was drowning. And then God would do something and show me bigger things. 

For the first time ever, I could see my life from an outside perspective. I was like a third person to myself. I looked on my situation with a broken heart and just wanted to fix myself. For the first time I have been unapologetic about my faith. And it has reaped dividends. Friends of mine, one of my best friends accepted Jesus into her life. I have had more God talks with people in the last two months than I have in the last eight years. 

There’s a saying that sometimes God closes a door to open a window. In my situation, God slammed the door and I am so grateful. He saved me from what I know would be more hurt, more disappointment and just another let down. God is preparing me for far greater things. I am charged and ready to be that person. 

Greece will forever be in my heart, and probably a piece of me will always love Kostas. But my heart is not about to be put in a position to be broken in Thessaloniki again. There will be a day when someone meets me with a heart that is capable of loving me, the right way. Maybe that will be in Thessaloniki…or maybe somewhere else…the year and all those to follow, is still young.

the real deal

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I’m having difficulty sleeping. A lot of difficulty. I go to bed thinking about one thing, and I wake up thinking about one thing. Greece. 14 days. I have 14 days to prepare myself to see the love of my life.

By the time I’m back I’ll be posting plenty of pictures, so while I’d love to keep you all still wondering which guy I fell for, I’m going to tell you. I fell in love with Kostas. He is the greatest man I’ve ever known (not including my father and his father). So today, I’ll tell you how we met.

One night, Lauren, Vana, Chrysanthi, Simone and myself went out to a taverna in Athenos for dinner. It was just a simple girls night out for dinner, there was little intention of going out to party afterward. However, when a group of 5 American girls is out in Thessaloniki, they tend to get noticed. We did get noticed that night, by a group of 6 Greek men, also out for dinner. They came over to our table to chat, and by the end of the night, we were smoking hookah with them.

Things went normally- them asking us questions, us asking them- then one guy asks how to spell our names. He wanted to add us to Facebook. His name was Kostas. So the next day we got friend requests, and of course they were from him. So being the American college girl that I am, I of course facebook stalked the crap out of him the second I confirmed his friendship.

After going through his information I knew a little bit to start a conversation, but I found his birthday was the day after mine. This would be the beginning link between Kosta and I.

At the time I met Kosta I was dating Xristos, and was pretty set in my ways. There’d be countless nights when I’d be out with Xristo his friend’s and mine and I’d get an sms from Kosta. I had to avoid him like the plague for weeks. He was pursuing me in the worst way and I was secretly loving it. It was only after the urgings of my friends (after seeing how ridiculously attractive he is) that I agreed to a date with him.

Our first date was one of the best nights of my life. He took me to a cafe/bar on the water north of Thessaloniki, where we sat and talked about ourselves, our schooling, music and art, our families and our dreams. We continued the night along the boardwalk just feet from the water. We held hands as we moved closer together, and finally we stopped.

This was the moment. He drew me in for the kiss. I was terrified.

I learned from being with Xristos that Greek men are extremely aggressive kissers. Like, to the point of swallowing your face. I like an aggressive kiss, but come on..I do like to breathe. My fear was unwarranted. Kosta’s kiss melted my entire body. I was on fire from head to toe. So to spare you all the details, we kissed a lot. When he drove me back to my apartment we couldn’t contain ourselves. We blocked the street with his car and got honked at. He moved it to another location, he begin making out again, and again- we block the street only to be later honked at. This happened 3 times. I could have stayed in that car forever. But after the third time, it was time to say goodbye.

This date will go down in my record books. Not just for being such a good ending, but for being one of the most surreal and genuine moments of my life. I fell in love this night. I will never, ever forget it.

There are days even now when I wake up and think it was all a dream. A man so special would fall in love with me? Somehow, he did. I have no clue what I did to deserve it, but I am grateful for it every day. Kosta is my love. He is my gem. He is what keeps me going day and night. I keep my phone on ring at night in case he calls on Skype. I write him almost daily, in hopes for a message when he finally gets internet again. I wake thinking of him, and I fall asleep thinking of him.

This may be the ridiculously hopeless romantic in me, but I do believe I’ll marry him. We’ve seen each other once in the last 2 and a half years, and in 14 days I’ll see him once more. To think it was a year and a half ago when I last kissed him, touched him. It breaks my heart. But every time I see a message in my inbox, or my Skype light up, my world is alright. Even though there’s still 2 years between me moving back to Greece, I know we can make it. I’ve got the real deal.