We may be separated by many miles but our stories are united in the simplest of ways… in a watermelon. Here’s a podcast of stories from back in the day, with childhood and teenage memories that show that what unites us are the important things.
Marco: My name is Marco. I am from Iran, and I have been living here for more than seven years. I’m going to tell you this story about a watermelon in the mountains north of Teheran. Actually, there is a river there, which passes through the mountain. The water there is something unbelievable. Even in the middle of the summertime when it’s 45° the water is frozen.
A beautiful memory from when I was a teenager was when we used to take a big, huge watermelon and homemade food with the family, go and spend a lot of time there. A specific moment that I can never forget was the beginning, when you wanted to put your feet in the water, then you played for many hours and right after have a very cold, frozen watermelon to chill down and enjoy your day.
One of the sad things unfortunately is that these days they have built many huge restaurants there and you cannot enjoy it, as it’s not the same atmosphere as it was before. However, there are still many nice restaurants where you can have a good time. One of the good things about Greece is that you can still see this kind of atmosphere, kindness and traditions, and that is why I have decided to live and start my life here.
Ok with me I have my colleague, Xenia. I would like to know if she has any beautiful stories about the watermelon.
Xenia: While hearing your memory, a memory came to me as well. When it’s very hot, I’m in Athens, I’m working and I haven’t gone on vacation yet, basically two things come to mind from my childhood. The first is the white t-shirt we wore when we were kids, with only a fan to comfort us and an ice cream in our hand, and the other is the frozen watermelon I used to eat while playing by the river next to my village.
My village is called Narkissos, it’s in Preveza and basically it’s pride and joy is the river, Acherontas, which is about 5 minutes away. In the summer and especially when it was very hot my parents would take a watermelon by hand, and we would go to Acherontas. They would sit in a tavern next to the riverbank with a couple of tables literally in the river, and like in your story, they would put the watermelon in the river to make it cold and we would start playing.
Nowadays I really wonder how we could stand there and play for so many hours. We would practically dip our feet in the water and you could feel your blood freeze as soon as you would put your feet in the river. Still we kept going until our parents would call us, and of course they would call us when the watermelon was frozen- ready to eat. This memory is so vivid that when I went to my village last year, after about 15 years, and even though it was October I wanted to dive into the river. I froze but I don’t regret it. The locals were looking at us like we were crazy. They said “ok they are crazy, we really don’t understand why they are diving in the river”. But that was the reason why we insisted and dived in because we couldn’t go back.
That’s what comes to mind when I heared Marko’s story. It was very beautiful because we had a similar memory and even though our countries are so many miles away, it’s proof that the things that unite us are what matter.