24 years on

Today was one of the most magical days in my recent memory: I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in 24 years. A friend I’d spent one month with, amongst dozens of foreign students starting their studies in the US back in 1990 – we all shared a full month of daily routines at the University of Pennsylvania, before heading our own ways to become Masters and Doctors all over the US.

It was an incredibly beautiful time: none of us knew one another before, and could thus reinvent ourselves from scratch; and the future was one huge question mark for us all. For most of us (myself included), it was our first time in American soil, pre-internet, pre-email, phone calls prohibitively expensive – it did mean in the end we were pretty much on our own, like landing on another planet and starting to plan life ahead. Actually we planned little, we enjoyed this multicultural present to the extreme.

Dionysios Koulougliotis, who visited briefly today, is a gentle and generous soul who back then expressed his admiration for creative beings such as myself. Today we recognised each other immediately and it felt like we were picking up a conversation where we had left off, somewhere on a bus crossing the highways in New Jersey on a hot August night… And yet we are also strangers, life having done so many things to both of us.

Thanks Dionysios, for reminding me that those days were actually real: in many ways they feel like an amazing dream, a glorious haze somewhere down one’s past adventures.