It was September 1989. I had left the most wonderful friends and memories from my primary school years behind and was ‘forced’ to start fresh in this new, terrifyingly huge, at times unwelcome new school. I was overwhelmed and excited at the same time.
A month had passed and I was slowly adapting to the new environment. Then, one day I witnessed a shy boy (or so I thought at the time) do an impersonation of our English (drama queen) teacher. It was perfect. I started laughing and laughing and laughing and I couldn’t stop. That was it. I was hooked. This was the start of a beautiful friendship (cheesy but true).
Panagiotis is the definition of my best friend. We have been through fat & thin (well, this is a German expression which obviously sounds sooooo much better in German). We would meet up at my house and watch 3,536 times Naked Gun 1, 2 1/2, 33 1/3 and so on. We knew all lines by heart. He became my blood brother and I became his blood sister (totally influenced by the movie ‘my girl’).
When we were 16, his parents invited me along a 4 day trip to Monemvasia. One of the best trips ever. Let me share two very vivid memories from that trip:
1) His father handed me a copy of the book ‘The Bridges over Madison County’ in an attempt to get me off the tetris frenzy I was on on one of those lame copy cat Nintendo like pocket size video games. Needless to say, I finished the book in 3 days and was embarrassingly sobbing like crazy (I think I saw regret in his eyes, he might have preferred the zoned out version of me after all).
2) I cooked spaghetti with a tomato sauce where I had mistakenly used hot pepper instead of sweet paprika. Panagiotis urged his cousin to eat 3 plates without giving me up while I was begging him to stop at plate no 1 (I wonder If I permanently damaged his taste buds).
Panagiotis has this rare quality (amongst other) of having THE PERFECT sense of humor. He can be funny and awkward and serious at the same time. He can find humor in even the strangest, darkest and unfriendliest moments in life.
He has been my best friend for 24 years and he is the godfather to my daughter Iliana. So now, he is practically FAMILY.
Until next time