You know that scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" where the dad, Gus Portokalos, lectures his mortified daughter and her friend on how the Japanese word "kimono" comes from Greek? Here's his (ridiculous) explanation:
"Kimono is come from the Greek word cheimónas, is mean winter. So, what do you wear in the wintertime to stay warm? A robe. You see: robe, kimono. There you go!" [sic]
Well, I got a good laugh at that scene because, let me tell you- that is my grandmother! For those who don't know, my mom's side of the family is very proudly Greek (as am I!). Not a phone call goes by without my 99 year old yiayia 1) asking me if I've found that special someone yet and 2) giving me a Greek lecture (I'm an ashamed Greek school dropout).
One word that has always stood out to me is "parea," which means community, because "parea" is something my 99 year old yiayia has told me my entire life is one of the most important keys to a happy and long life, and the Greeks know what they're talking about!
Key takeaway from above: "They maximize social engagement and minimize stress."
The past few months have been a dream come true. I've been able to travel to and work from 9 countries and am truly living the life I'd been craving, but as you can imagine, it's hard to continuously meet people and leave them. We're all on our own unique journeys and know there is a short time-frame to our relationship. So, while my time is filled with great people (shoutout to all the people who I've shared some incredible moments with these last few months!), I'm not necessarily forming the *deep* relationships that are important to having a true "parea."
So I struggled: I'm not ready to fully commit to staying in one place, but I've been wanting a consistent community to see the world with. That's when I went back to something that has been tugging at my heart for YEARS: Remote Year. If you've never heard of it, it's a program where you travel the world - one city for one month at a time - with a group of fellow remote workers for a total of a year. The program plans your living arrangements, coworking space, and all your travel. When I went back to the website to check out the 2019 programs, I just had to laugh. Right there on the screen with my perfect itinerary: the Parea track.
Okay, come on. Too perfect for words! So I've clicked that big teal button (okay, let's be honest, I've chatted so much with the folks at Remote Year over the years that at this point we have a texting relationship, so I was like "FINALLY SIGN ME UP!!!"), and I'm now ready to go!
If you've been wondering why I'm spending so much time in the States right now instead of abroad, it's for this very reason. Once I knew I'd likely be gone for a full year (although one nice thing is that you can drop off at any point or take a month off if you want to), I decided to come back and get lots of quality time with all my loved ones.
So here's where I'll be for 2019:
It's gonna be a whirlwind, but I'm so excited to build some pretty incredible memories with my new "parea." I've forgotten a lot of the Greek lessons from my yiayia over the years, but this is one I'll remember forever!