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Ismini Vasiloglou, 11
usually Atlanta, GA; currently Athens, Greece


Ismini Vasiloglou, 11

I write this sitting in the kitchen sink while pondering the recent news my mother just shared. I stare at the various colors of cat hair on the floor from my grandmother’s multiple cats, trying to distract myself. Our flight’s been canceled. In a way I expected it, but finding out is still a shock. We should have been leaving in six days, but now we might not be able to leave at all.

I look out my grandma’s old, small, kitchen window at the sprawling city. The tall apartment buildings that desperately need new coats of paint. The beautiful, clear, brilliant blue sky. The edge of the vast, cool ocean, just a short drive away. That familiar picture that speaks of family. Athens, Greece.

We come to this beautiful country every year. My father was born here. I speak the native language. The majority of my family lives here. Now we might be stuck here with them.

We live in the US. Atlanta, Georgia to be exact. My parents met when they came to study for their degrees. My dad studied at Georgia Tech and my mom went to Emory Law School. They met through a friend and ended up staying there and visiting Greece annually. This is the first time we might get stuck here.

Corona is the reason is at least partly at fault for this disaster. We don’t know for sure exactly why our flight was cancelled, but I know this sudden advancement is somehow COVID related.

After corona began, I used my money to buy a subscription to the New York Times and signed up for multiple daily newsletters from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and CNN.

I read everything and things are bad. Our president seems to have absolutely no idea what to do. He’s confusing everyone and going against the advice of some of the world's most trusted health officials. The entire world is slowly falling apart and no one knows how to stop it. It’s hard to know who or what to believe. I’m just sticking to my news stations. I already trust them so I’m hoping I’ll hear the truth.

The United States is really doing badly. Somehow we’ve managed to bring back the 1918 pandemic, the 1929 Depression, and the 1968 Race Riots all at the exact same time.

Honestly, I’m pretty scared.

At least being stuck in Greece isn’t the worst situation. Things could be better, but we do have good options. Greece is currently doing really well with the pandemic, and if we do end up having to stay, we have family here to help us. A few of our friends know people who are airbnbing their houses long term so we’ll have a place to stay at least.

I want to go home. Don’t get me wrong, that is my first choice. But, if we do have to stay, I’ll be fine, I guess. Getting to live in a foreign country, even if it’s just for a few months, is a once in a lifetime experience. We’d only stay until December and by staying, I’d get to go to school here and meet a lot of cool people. I’d get better at speaking Greek and I’d learn a lot more about Greek culture and history in general.

For now, I’m watching the news like a hawk. I’m checking headlines and newsletters and blogs as well as checking every other news place that exists for any unexpected advancements.

We’ve managed to get onto another flight that leaves in 13 days. It isn’t as soon as our previous flight which was leaving in six days, but it’s something. Our fingers are crossed, and we’re hoping that this time our flight actually happens.

As I write this, sitting in our grandmother’s tiny kitchen sink and staring out the window, I understand the severity of our situation and pray to all the gods out there that we make it home unharmed. The world is in chaos and right now I need some normalcy. Staying might be the experience of a lifetime, but home is my comforting lifeline and right now, corona is enough of an adventure for me.

This story was entered in the Flash Contest based on Daily Creativity Prompt #91, in July 2020.

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