> Journal Entry 17
There are times where you start thinking “how long has it been since I was home last time?” and the answer either hurts or makes you wonder why you haven’t gone back home yet, even if just for a day. Well, this time, I had many good excuses to visit Greece again with some of those being the 2015 Greek Netrunner Nationals and the fact that I hadn’t seen my family for about 1 year and 3 months. So I booked my plane and train tickets and began my journey.
You are basically going to be reading a long storyline of random shit that happened throughout the journey. Not entirely exciting, but nonetheless, interesting. At least for me, so I would love to share it with my friends through this blog post.
The train to Belgium
On October 15th, Thursday, I had an exam at about 16:30 and it lasted 2 hours maximum. My train for Belgium, left at 19:30, so time was tight. I went through everything in the exam quite fast (already knowing what I have to do quite well) and thus I was able to finish an hour earlier than the limit. I hastily walked to the train station which is next to the Hague Uni only to realize that the train I needed to take was delayed by 10 minutes. Then 15. Then 20. Then 25. Then 30. Then it arrived. I was getting so nervous that shit was gonna go down and that I wasn’t going to be able to catch my train till Brussels.
Thankfully, despite many train delays, I managed to get to Brussels Centraal, where my good friend Charles was waiting for me, together with his father, and we went all together for beer at one of Brussels’ oldest pubs. It was super fun. We basically talked about how Greece is, since Charles’s father, Michel, lives in Corfu. He also plays board games, so the conversation quickly went that way and we ended up talking about both Magic and Netrunner till late at night.
I slept really well at Charles’s place in Brussels and the next day, I woke up early to go get a bus to get to Charleroi Airport. This is where things got tricky. I got the tram to Centraal and as soon as I arrived, I realized that the buses for Charleroi Airport leave from Brussels Midi/Zuid and not Central Station. Since I always plan that shit really well, I still had 30 minutes to grab a train and get to the right station. So the day was saved. Woop.
The Athenian Experience
After a long flight of 3 hours, I arrived in Greece at about 12 in the morning. Kostas “Fabregus” was waiting for me at the airport with his little motorcycle and we took off. After about 45 more minutes, we arrived at his place and we were greeted by his cat, Roza, who as soon as I laid on the bed to relax and check some messages online, came next to me and started asking for attention. Oh, we also stopped for a nice round of gyros chicken and souvlaki at some grill place, an experience full of nostalgia. A great way to start my first day back in Greece.
Later that day, in the evening, there was a “pre-nationals training tournament” at one of the board game stores, but Kostas and 2 of his friends decided to meet up for board games, so I followed. I can’t say I was disappointed. Fotis and Manos are really cool guys and we basically spent all night playing Netrunner and then Egizia and Amerigo. I lost in both the other 2 board games but I managed to get some good practice out of our Netrunner games and tons of fun out of the whole night.
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We also ate some more grilled stuff. God, I already miss those things…
Day 2 of the Athenian Experience
The next day, Kostas dropped me off near the center of Athens, Monastiraki, so that I could find my good friend Froso who had been waiting for me for about 20 minutes since I overslept. I barely got any sleep in the first place so it was worth oversleeping a bit. Kostas told me to blame him, so I just blame him for everything now.
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Me and Froso had a milkshake and some cold tea and “Bubble Tea” and then some gyros (MORE….). We basically ended up having to say goodbye to each other at the metro station since I had to go find Kostas, because we were going to find the Thessalonikian guys that had come down for the Greek Nationals one day early in order to get some food at the world famous “ΜΠΑΡ ΜΠΕ ΚΙΟΥ” (barbecue) grill restaurant.
So, after finding the guys, we went to the restaurant and after having to wait about 2 hours in order to get a table for 9 people, we sat down and asked the waitress what they had in store. We all got the same 2 things and, oh. My. God. They were huge (that’s what she said).
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The restaurant people actually brought us appetizers just to make up for the long wait we had to go through in order to get a table so that was also really nice of them. On the other hand, we barely managed to finish our main dish so I don’t really know if the appetizers were really needed.
An awesome experience though with a bunch of awesome guys that all made good (bad) jokes and lots of good (bad) meta predictions.
The Greek Nationals
Well, I can say so much about the 2015 Greek Netrunner Nationals and for that reason I will basically write a full, separate report on that with lots and LOTS of pictures. You can find that report here : LINK TO THE REPORT
All you need to know is that, I broke the meta once again by coming 3rd in a premier tier event full of really hard to beat players. Nisei and Silhouette makin’ it rain. I feel like a hipster, an amazing player, an amazing deckbuilder and a guy without any modesty right now. Good combination.
After the Greek Nationals, we went for some more food and then after hugging everyone a dozen times, we said our goodbyes. See you next year guys and thanks for everything!
And finally, on Monday the 19th, I flew back home. I flew back to Thessaloniki. God, the nostalgia hit me so hard. I was already sad for having to say goodbye to all the awesome peeps I met in Athens, so the fact that I saw my father and mother after 1 year and 3 months hit me even harder. I also got to see my brother’s son again, George, who has grown and now understands so much!
Later that day, I called my best friends to go out for a beer and amazingly enough, they were all able to make it. Spyros, Vasilis and Christina all came for a beer and along with a newly made friend, Amin, we went out in Thessaloniki and had an amazing night.
The night literally needs a slideshow of pictures and not just a couple pictures alone, since words cannot explain how much fun we had. All of us ended up having our jaws hurt from too much laughing not even before the night was over yet.
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Last day, flight back
Spyros came to pick me up the next morning and together, we went back home where my parents had prepared some awesome launch for us. We chatted a lot, said some good jokes and then said our goodbyes.
Nothing hits you better in the nostalgia feels than a pic of your parents.
I cried quite a bit. I ain’t going to lie about that. It hit me even harder this time and I really…really didn’t want to leave Greece. The people close to me, know how much it hurts me to be in the Netherlands despite the amazing opportunities the country has for people with visions like myself and they know why it is like that. Let’s talk about that in another blog post though.
The plane ride was good once again and I ended up sleeping at the Charleroi Airport. Wait no. I actually didn’t sleep. I actually ended up staying up and writing things on my laptop. Like this blog post. Yes, most of this was written at 02:00 at the Charleroi airport. Had to keep myself busy right?
I basically ended up writing articles, playing some games and chilling as much as I can. I ended up coming back while dozing off in the train from time to time. Super tired and with my whole body aching, I was just done for the day.
I know a secret place at the Charleroi Airport where noone ever goes because they don’t know there’s a lone power plug there!
I ended up going back home, leaving my stuff, relaxing a bit, and then going straight to Amsterdam. As much as I may have missed Greece and as much as I didn’t want to go back to the god forbidden country of the Netherlands, I did miss my girlfriend. My Scottish girl who has been patiently hearing all of my bullshit the past 5 months and the girl that has been the reason why I can keep going despite the circumstances. Aye, I’d missed Claire so bad.
Nostalgia can hit hard. Really hard and when it does, you better be careful about how you handle it. I can’t wait until I go back home again, since this was an amazing journey for me and it allowed me to relax and remind me of why I’m struggling to do all the things I’m doing in the Netherlands. Seeing all of my friends also reminded me of who I am. As the Greeks very wisely say: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”
-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis