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The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star

The Student News Site of Clague Middle School

The Cougar Star


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Forever Unforgettable: a personal narrative

The moment when all four of us were walking, the music playing, people talking on either side of the road, the delicious aroma of Greek food, was truly something I would remember forever.
Reva Kulkarni
The moment when all four of us were walking, the music playing, people talking on either side of the road, the delicious aroma of Greek food, was truly something I would remember forever.

By the time we emerged from Jaipur Palace, an Indian restaurant, (Indian food was comfort food, so we had it no matter where we were in the world), and onto the street, the sun had almost completely set. The night was quickly approaching, with stars now speckling the sky, and yet, I had never felt so alive in my life. I wasn’t ready to head back indoors, let alone go to bed. And I certainly wasn’t going to leave the vibrant nightlife of this ancient city. The city might not have been particularly remarkable during the daytime, except for the fact that the Parthenon, the famous temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Athena, could be immediately spotted from any building. But that didn’t mean I would easily part with the wonders this city had to offer.

Athens, Greece, sometimes seemed like quite the ordinary city— with its polluted, trashed roads, and sidewalks to crowded squares such as Syntagma Square and Monastiraki Square, plus the popular shopping areas such as Ermou Street, Athens, resembled New York City in several ways. But in the end, it wasn’t, and could never be, and instead was the same ancient city named after Athena, the same ancient city that was home to rich Greek culture and history. 

In Athens, nighttime brought a new wave of life to the city. It was no longer blisteringly hot, or mercilessly sunny— the temperatures were cool, as was the breeze, and there was no blazing sun, nor was there any sign of clouds. Back in Chania, a small lively city located on the beautiful island of Crete, both days and nights had been equally pleasant in terms of weather, and with a hotel on the harbor, the soothing sound of rippling water had never been far away from us. I was, no doubt, missing our days in Chania— Athens meant bustling city life, which had been quite the change from the peaceful harbors of Chania. However, that didn’t mean Athens was any less of a sight to see.

As my family and I headed further down the street, music grew louder and louder, seemingly coming from the direction in which we were headed. 

“Loukoumades, here we come!” My sister said with a grin. Loukoumades, a crispy, warm Greek dessert that my sister and I had instantly fallen in love with ever since we’d had our first taste at the airport, were practically the best dish I had ever tasted — not that I was rejecting all other Greek foods, of course. Greek food was, and is, amazing. In fact, it’s some of the best I’ve ever tried— and probably ever will try— in my life. 

“I hope you know where you’re going,” our mom told us. She seemed a little tired, and I didn’t blame her. Our tour of the Parthenon had been not only painstakingly hot but also very tiring, as our tour guide had been utterly unhelpful by spouting the most random, irrelevant information. He also kept getting distracted by phone calls. While we were in line to see the Parthenon, his back was turned to the front, which meant many people cut in front of us. Finally, my family and I just left our touring group altogether and just saw the entire site by ourselves. Admittedly, I felt culpable in the sense that we were yet another family leaving the tour guide, making the tour group considerably smaller. Some part of me hoped he wouldn’t feel too bad, but if he had, maybe then he would’ve learned to supply us with more relevant information. Besides, he was so engrossed in whatever he was talking about that I doubt he had even noticed the absence of what must have been half the group. 

So naturally, the day’s events had resulted in all of us being extremely irritated and tired. But the vibes of the city were invigorating me far beyond the level of excitement I had to maintain in order to let myself feel tired— in other words, I was too hyped up to even think about the word “tired.”

My sister nodded. “Of course I do,” she replied, confidently. I can’t lie: Deep down, some part of me willed her to get us lost. Sure, that would be stressful for my parents, and probably my sister, as she would be the one held responsible for getting us lost. But it would let us explore more of this amazing city one last time. What more could I want?

But of course, my sister did not get us lost. She actually led us in the right direction, which was both surprising and not surprising. Surprising because she is, I have to say it, pretty much horrible at directions (to be fair, I’m not that great either). Not surprising because she wouldn’t purposely get us lost — besides, she was following Google Maps. 

“It’s somewhere on this street,” she told us as we turned. Music reverberated throughout the entire street, supplying my step with a bounce and my heart with a new lively beat. That moment, when all four of us were walking, with the music playing, people talking on either side of the road, and the delicious aroma of Greek food was truly something I would remember forever.

We continued walking until we reached the end of the street and quickly located our destination: Lukumades, a dessert shop. When we neared, however, we realized there was a very long line that ended up in the outdoor seating area.

Just the sight of the line made us briefly wonder whether we should turn back, but in the end, we stayed — with both my sister and I so eager for our favorite Greek treats, our parents didn’t have a choice: they had to let us stay.

So we waited outside. And the thing was, not once did I get bored. Which, considering my tendency to be easily bored, really said something. 

I joined my sister in line shortly after, because I began to grow tired of sitting there and doing nothing (not bored— there’s a difference, and I will defend this no matter what). As the line progressed, we finally took our first step into Lukumades, a small, cozy shop filled with the mouthwatering smell of warm loukoumades. My sister and I smiled at each other instantly. 

After some time of standing in the slowly proceeding line, I headed back to our parents, who were sitting outside in utter silence. You would’ve thought they were strangers forced to sit at the same table, but that was mostly how my dad functioned: Silent, almost always deep in thought. 

Finally, my sister emerged from the shop with two red-and-white striped containers in each hand, containing six loukoumades— flavorsome golden-brown balls drizzled in chocolate and pistachio syrup, topped with crushed pistachio pieces. Put simply, it was heavenly.

Following a short debate on whether to take the loukoumades back to our hotel and eat them there, we decided to stay and eat some and have the rest on the way back.

I took one of the mini forks and stuck it in one of the pistachio syrup-covered loukoumades, lifting it and taking a careful bite. As usual, the different flavors burst to life, pleasing my taste buds beyond measure. I tried to take my time enjoying and savoring every moment of it, trying to make the moment last— but the loukoumades, too delicious to savor slowly, quickly reduced in number until there were only two left, and we were left gazing sadly at the nearly empty containers.

Without needing to say a word, we all slipped off the high stools, throwing away the extra container and carrying the other back to our hotel, Astor Hotel. Which, frankly, wasn’t in the nicest spot— there was a garbage dump right in front of it, and while the lobby seemed classy enough, the rooms were not preferable. They weren’t bad, but while the room my mom and I stayed in did have a bathroom door, it had no shower door, and the faucet of the bathroom sink kept rattling around in place whenever we used it.

It wasn’t all bad, though. From the top floor, where we had breakfast, we could see the entire city of Athens sprawled out, including a clear view of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, and when paired with the newly risen sun, there was no other place more beautiful than the top floor of our hotel in the mornings. The food they also had was definitely worth it.

As we approached our hotel, I skipped ahead of the rest to have an excuse to turn around and face the direction from which we had come, taking in the vibrant music, buzzing activity, and carefree vibes for one last time. 

With a small smile, I took my fork and picked up the last bit of the last loukoumas, which happened to be a chocolate syrup one.

I stuck it in my mouth, my smile widening as we passed under yet another orange tree. The abundance of oranges—and orange juice—in Greece was indeed unbelievable, and therefore symbolic of something bigger that I had yet to figure out. The sweet flavor of the chocolate-drizzled loukoumas filled not only my mouth but also my heart, a sense of comfort and calm washing over me.

Truly, the beauty of this place had come in different forms and altogether had been unimaginable. Now that I had experienced it, it was guaranteed to be forever unforgettable.

I didn’t know if I would ever return, but I did know one thing for sure: Hellas, known to the world by its Roman name, Greece, along with all my experiences associated with it, would forever hold a special place in my heart.

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About the Contributor
Saanvi Kulkarni, Staff Writer
Saanvi is a 7th grader at Clague Middle School. This is her first year doing yearbook/newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, write stories, do karate and play piano, as well as hanging out with her friends. Also, she spends way too much time wishing for a pet.

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    Jayani TavaneApr 5, 2024 at 8:58 am