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  • Writer's pictureTricia Webster

Telia - Perfect

When our group first assembled in Crete, there was interest in learning some of the Greek language. Theodosia and Augustina were the only Greek speakers in the group. Surprisingly, it was not "hello" and "thank you" that we mastered first. It was the word TELIA, which means "perfect." Within a day or two of the coming together of our group, everyone was using this word regularly. You couldn't get through an hour without it popping up somewhere.

As I reflect on this, I now observe something that I missed at the time: We used "Telia" in every possible situation, as a response not just too the extraordinary and the beautiful, but also for mishaps, and events that did not go as planned. "Ah, the bus is late. Telia!" It was not used sarcastically, or in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. I think we embraced it all as perfect.

Maybe this is one of the gifts of Greece for me. Whatever flows through my day, I find it easier in Greece to greet it with open arms. I don't feel a need to push back. I seem more able to let in the full spectrum of emotion and experience, without editing out or protecting myself from what in another time and place I might have labeled as distasteful.

Greece seems to me a culture that is much more "embodied" than the culture I grew up in here in North America. It seems easier to relax into things. The image, the mask, just isn't needed. I guess I don't need to find an explanation for this phenomenon

. By some grace, Greece offers space to let in a larger slice of life, and that, indeed, is TELIA.

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