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Who inspires you?

By on January 14, 2018
Dimitri C. Michalakis

by Dimitri C. Michalakis

On a positive note, who inspires you this year?

My eldest daughter inspires me because she got married the end of last year to her husband Mike and they are two peas in a pod. They have endless friends because they are such good friends to them; they will never be alone. When they are with people, they are never in a mood; they are always in the moment. When they want to do something, they grumble like the rest of us, but then with my daughter often in the lead, they take the plunge. My daughter took dance when she was young, she loved to tap, she was very good at it, so she decided despite her busy schedule now at work she would take a dance class after work. And she did, and we went to one of her recitals, just like in the old days. She wanted the honeymoon of her dreams, and she did it: she went to Paris and she visited Van Gogh’s fields of amber and shopped in Provence. At the same time she wanted to see what the fabled Route 66 was all about, what the heartland was all about, and she mapped it out and drove it and sat in the biggest rocking chair in the world and an Indian tipi with the modern wonders of air conditioning.

And my youngest daughter is an inspiration: she wants to throw herself out into the world and discover. She wanted to visit Morocco and teach and she did. We toured the Acropolis together and sat in the shade of the olive trees. She has the best accent in Greek, the best accent in Italian, she never needs the manual in anything technical, she knows every song lyric, she treasures the old family photographs and of me as a kid squinting in the sun in Greece in my short pants. She wants to see the cosmic, and yet she has a photographic memory for the particular and she can often read people like a Geiger counter.

An eternal inspiration is my maternal grandmother Kalliopi. I was telling a story to my nephew recently about my grandmother, who raised me in Greece and eventually brought me to join my family in America—and then didn’t want to go back to Greece. She was a little woman with a mantilla who was raised in the villages of our native Chios and knew nothing else. You’d think the first time she left Chios and came to a place as vast as Canada and America she would be lost. But she was fascinated: she was fascinated that Eisenhower on television had such a big face. She was fascinated that the mechanical fortune teller in Coney Island could laugh that much. She would talk to our neighbor in Montreal in Greek while he spoke to her in English and French and neither understood what the other said but she thought it was a fascinating conversation. She loved the new, she wanted to plunge into it, just the way the grandmother of my son-in-law, her name is Paula, who is 92, still keeps up with her classes and loved Downtown Abbey and wants to see the exhibit and played two selections at my daughter’s wedding and is fascinated that I write and wants to read what I write and we are doing a play together.

These are just some of the people who inspired me last year and will inspire me again in the New Year. Who inspires you?

Happy New Year!

About Dimitri C. Michalakis

Dimitri C. Michalakis is Editor in Chief on NEO Magazine.