Aragma. A delightful Greek phrase that basically means the small joys of life.
It’s a slang word that means “chilling” but carries with it the notion to live simply, to enjoy the smallest things like a smooth white stone on the beach, sitting still and watching the waves, sipping a glass of wine with the one you love, with no rush, no worry, no sense of time or future obligations.
That is the beauty of these Greek islands.
It’s about the tiny gifts like a simple plate of watermelon, some grapes, a basket of oranges, a bite of lemon cake, a sip or amaretto. Something small and sweet to make you feel welcomed. To make you feel home.
It’s about the kind people. People so open and generous, we did not encounter one unkind soul, one rude person, one cross word from anyone in almost 2 weeks.
It’s about making memories. Eating a tangy olive thick with oil and sprinkled with oregano, sipping a glass of simple table wine brought that morning by a local farmer while watching the afternoon sunlight bounce off the white cliffs that sweep into the turquoise sea, or feeling the softness of a kitten that sits on your feet beneath your table as you linger over a 3 hour lunch.
In this place, there is no reason to hurry. Food isn’t picked before it’s ripe. Meals aren’t pre-made so that they can quickly be served. Bread doesn’t come in a plastic bag. Traffic moves with the speed of a tractor carrying a goat on the back. Sounds float with the rustle of the olive trees. Things are slow, ripe, fresh, and deliciously relaxed.
Maybe the 9-5 daily rush, so that we can be successful and drive the nicest car and eat sushi on Tuesday nights isn’t what life is all about. Maybe these Greek islanders have it all figured out. Maybe life is a juicy orange with fresh yogurt and honey and a nap at 3:00 because the heat has made you sleepy. Maybe watching the sun peek up over the sea while sipping a simple Nescafe with brown sugar is worth more than a 6:00 a.m. spin class and a Starbucks Venti Latte.
Maybe it just seems this way because “we are on vacation,” but I would swear the food tastes richer, the fruit seems sweeter, the air smells fresher. Maybe it’s simply because we slow down and have nothing to do all day but eat this bowl of tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and drizzled with olive oil. Or maybe it’s because, as we pop a juicy, fragrant grape into our mouth, the sun is glinting off the cobalt water making diamonds dance on the surface.
Or maybe this place has magic, and while we are here, it transforms us.
If only for a few days.
From it we are changed, ever so slightly as we earn something sweet and slow to carry home.