As I took my seat in a courtyard beneath the Acropolis, I can honestly say that I had no idea what was in store for me. The play was just about the last thing on my mind as reﬂecting on the last (and the best) two and a half weeks of my life. How could it be over? It seems like just yesterday I was at the Welcome “Barbeque,” meeting the peers that would quickly become some of my best friends. I simply could not imagine going back to my life, so far away from anyone who had been on this life-changing journey with me.
The lights slowly dimmed and Socrates Now began. Immediately, I was enraptured by the performance. As I looked around, I saw about 70 of my new closest friends, and I began to think, “This is what brought us here. Our ancestors were revolutionary thinkers, they changed the world through mathematics, philosophy, and sciences, and here we are, thousands of years later, so what should stop us from doing the same?” Over the last two and a half weeks, I learned that I am surrounded by incredibly bright minds. It became clear that we were all chosen to take part in the Heritage Greece program for a variety of reasons including our creativity, ingenuity, and intelligence.
While watching Socrates Now, I gazed up at the Acropolis and came to realize that in the United States, the melting pot of cultures, we had large shoes to ﬁll. As Greek Americans, we represent one of the most fundamental and innovative cultures in the world. We are some of the few people that can say they got in touch with their roots by marveling at the magniﬁcence of the Parthenon and exploring the country where both their ancestors and democracy were born. We are descendants of one of the most advanced societies to have ever existed, and every one of us represents the Greek American society today.
This trip was far more than a vacation, it was a journey. Being Greek American is more than just attending Greek school or going to Greek festivals. It is a connection to a place and a culture whose value I did not fully grasp until embarking on this journey. This connection ties you to everyone from Socrates to the students of ACG (American College of Greece), and, for me, being Greek American means that I have a responsibility to live up to my ancestors by being innovative and persistently questioning the world around me. While I sat beneath the
Acropolis, it dawned on me that being Greek American inspires me to be the best version of myself that I can be. As Socrates Now came to an end, I was saddened that Heritage Greece 2016 was coming to a close, but I also realized that it opened so many doors that my journey as a Greek American will never truly end.
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HEADER PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTO BY CONSTANTINE SKENDERIS