I had an interesting conversation with a friend I met in Japan. She was Greek but born in America, currently living in Greece. She was describing the beautiful landscape of Greece, painting a picturesque paradise of the Greek islands and how their beaches are among the most beautiful in the world. With this breathtaking description, she also mentioned how most Greek people are on the beach during the summer with their ridiculously long vacations (at least compared to North America). She — bringing some American ingenuity — decided to take a different approach: instead of spending all the time on the beach during her vacation, she would just go to the beach right after work. And why not? Beaches are plentiful in many areas of Greece — even close to Athens where she works. In this way, she could have her cake and eat it too. Enjoy all the beauty of Greece year-round without the need to spend her precious vacation time which she usually spent visiting her family in other parts of the world.
But as she described this atypical solution, she made a very insightful comment that I didn’t expect, “In Greece, we’re beach snobs.” She said this in passing as she described her after-work beach as not being very nice (compared to others in Greece). She continued on about how every beach she goes to, she can point out something that’s better at another beach. How wonderful it is that she gets the opportunity to be a beach snob. Growing up in Toronto, I never had that luxury, although I’m probably a snob at a hundred other different things. When we’re surrounded by such plentiful bounty, it’s hard not to be one. But something that we should all remember is just how lucky we really are to be given the opportunity to be a snob. Because after all, one man’s dirt is another man’s beach.