Copenhagen is a beautiful city. I wouldn't know, because I've never been, but my friend Ioannis, who has been there 3 times, told me that it is really a lovely city to spend a weekend break. This is the ashtray he bought for my collection. Just so you know, Ioannis has multiple entries in my ashtray collection, not only because he travels a lot but also because he is a really good friend who thinks about me and my crazy obsession every time he sees a souvenir shop. And I mean every time...by now I have 4 ashtrays from Brussels and 2 from Vienna with his name on them. Ashtrays are not the only things that Ioannis has given me over the years. He has been a loyal and trustworthy friend and more or less he's been the reason I am where I am today... But let me first tell you how I met Ioannis or John as his name translates in English.
In 1999, I was studying for my MA at the University of Leicester and at the same time was working as the London correspondent of one of the biggest Greek TV networks. I had to commute almost every two days between Leicester, where I studied and lived at the University's dorms, and London, where I had appropriated the apartment of another friend, who was on a sabbatical in Greece. I was always in a hurry and so busy that I did not have time to get to know and hang out with any of my classmates. But I was young and eager to jump-start my "career" and having no friends at that time did not really matter to me. What mattered most was that I had to be able to read about 10 newspapers everyday between 7:00 and 9:00am and talk to my editor before my classes started. So every day at 7am I was the first one in the student shop, buying my newspapers and trying to balance them between books and notepads. There was a lot of talk in the university campus and especially among the Greek students about the girl with the newspapers. Who was she? What was she doing with all those newspapers everyday? Off course I was oblivious to everything other than David Beckham's fancy for Victoria's lingerie and I didn't know that people were talking about me.
One morning, as I was perusing the papers, looking for a piece that could make that days news, a guy approached me and outright asked me why was I reading so many newspapers everyday. I was a little embarrassed to tell the truth. I didn't think he immediately believed me, me being a completely unglamorous, plain looking girl, nothing like the polished, sharp looking TV personalities. That guy was John. He had finished the same MA I was studying a couple of years before and was now doing a PhD on something I cannot remember even if my life depended on it! We became friends and he introduced me to the rest of the "gang" who also became my friends making my year in Leicester the best year of my student life.
Fast forward to 2003. I moved from London to Athens. John was among the very few people I knew there. I have to say at this point that he is the most friendly and sociable individual I've ever met and he is always surrounded by people most of whom he introduced to me. But the single most important person I met through John was Georgie who was and still is his best friend. So there you have it, since 1999, John has been a very good friend to me and has given me the most priceless present, the opportunity to meet and fall in love with my husband.