“Santorini Dreaming” – winning essay !

It is a big commitment… far bigger than I perhaps realised when I first decided to embark on this essay competition. When you’re dealing with people’s dreams you have to be very very careful and considerate. A lot of things had to be taken into account and a lot of thought went into how to approach the whole thing from the start. It could’ve been promoted a lot more… it could’ve been turned into a more commercial exercise, but that wasn’t the idea behind it. What I wanted was to see how people would respond when given an opportunity to fulfil a dream.

What the whole thing proved to me was that (as suspected), there is only a percentage of people that are willing to chase their dream. Some are too shy, some are cynical, some are just not committed enough and some are not used to having the clarity of mind to visualise themselves winning (“as if I could ever win something like this?”). However… by far the largest group, I think, are the procrastinators. “I”ll do it tomorrow”, “I’ll start it next week…still plenty of time”,
“I just can’t think of a good way to start the essay right now”, “I’m not in the mood to write, I need some quiet time to think about this” etc etc etc.

It is a fact that the large majority of essays were emailed in the last 24 hours of the competition. Whilst I fully understand that some people wanted to take as long as possible to think about what they wanted to write… I also know that a lot of that was procrastination. It really is a debilitating condition. One that starves so many wonderful people of so many opportunities.

On the positive front there were hours of wonderful story reading for me. I said at the start that every one of you that wrote in has already won….and I absolutely believe that. You have committed your dream to writing…. that’s more than 99% of the population will ever do. By entering this contest you have placed yourselves in the 1% that takes action. That is willing to work to make their dream a reality. That means your subconscious is already hard at work in making your dream come true…even if you’re not aware of it. I mentioned in one of the earlier posts the story about the guest speaker at a school…who holds up a ten dollar note and asks “who wants this?”. Whilst most kids sit there frozen…not wanting to seem too eager, not wanting to be seen as uncool… one little girl walks over and takes the ten dollar note from the guest’s hand. She does what the others thought about, what they “wanted to do”… but didn’t. She gets the money and chances are… she will also get everything she wants out of life.

No… I’m not preaching. I’m just an observer. This was quite a special prize… worth a good deal of money, but beyond that a chance to experience a special place in the world… under some very special circumstances. Both the hotels involved are dream destinations. Movie stars, prime ministers, millionaires and Sheikhs stay at these places. So it was certainly worth siting down and committing your dreams in writing and many many of you did. I know there can only be one winner, but I honestly believe that the fact you thought about your dream enough to write about it… will go a long way towards making it a reality.

But enough of all that…my sincere thanks to all of you that entered this contest. We already know we will do this again very soon and I look forward to receiving your entries for our next contest.

The winner of the “Santorini Dreaming” short essay is  Christa Hobart and below is her wonderful essay.

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SANTORINI DREAMING by Christa Hobart

I dream about Santorini a hundred times a day.  Whether I glance at a framed postcard in my kitchen that reads “We serve Greek salads here” or when I grab my keys and catch the words “Greece” spelled out in silver beads dangling from my evil eye key chain, I am constantly reminded of my magical times on Santorini.

The first time I was introduced to the enchanting little island of Santorini was in 1982, when like so many others who filled theater seats to see the quirky film “Summer Lovers”, I left knowing I would one day experience it for myself.  A few years later, imagine my delight when one of my closest friends announced her family would be spending a year living in Athens.  I leapt at the chance to visit the country I had dreamed about since leaving that theater in Minneapolis.

Since that first trip in 1985, I’ve returned to “my” island, but not nearly enough to satisfy my soul nor to experience the real essence of the island.  Much like wine that develops a more intense flavor as it ages, on each subsequent visit my love affair for the island grows more complex.  Each time I have set foot on Santorini’s soil I feel as though I am truly where I am meant to be, yet I know I have only scratched the surface of this complex rocky gem.  I’ve tried to explain this feeling to people over the years but I’ve yet to find the words. Perhaps it is a feeling for which there simply aren’t words.  Like falling in love for the first time, there are not enough adjectives to accurately express your emotions.  Rather, I believe, the lure and spiritual charm of the island has to be felt deep within one’s heart.

When I close my eyes and let my mind wander away freely, I always drift to sultry sun-kissed Santorini.  Perhaps it is the hypnotic rhythm of the waves and the pulling of the tide that gently calls to my subconscious.  My mind always fills to the brim with the endless possibilities of time spent on this ancient and alluring isle.  In my idyllic dream what would I do? How would I fill my time in my paradise?

  • I want to view the early morning rising sun and feel how, with each passing minute, the light and warmth begins to awaken and enliven my soul.
  • I want to stroll to a local kafenio and sip piping hot coffee while learning to play tavli.
  • I want to explore the famous ruins at Akrotiri.  The Minoan city surely keeps the secrets of the lost city of Atlantis within its crumbling walls and exquisitely preserved frescos.
  • Many years ago I read “Zorba the Greek”.  A passage from the book has hung on my wall ever since.  The paper has yellowed and is a bit crumpled but it has not been forgotten as I am reminded of my quest every day.  “Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea.”  Perhaps now is the time to unfurl my sails and let the warm Cycladic winds fill my dreams.
  • I want to visit the vineyards and see how the assurtiko grape flourishes in the hot and dry fields.   Then stomp the grapes with my bare feet as though I am participating in an ancient mythical Dionysian festival.
  • I want to break a plate while shouting “Ompah” and drinking ouzo!
  • I want to walk along the rugged path that clings to the caldera’s edge from Fira to Oia relishing in the breath taking views that surround me.
  • I want to listen to live bouzouki music.
  • I want to live in the moment.  Why is it in “real life” that we have such difficulty achieving this most simple and obvious task?
  • I want to pick up a paint brush or piece of chalk and attempt to capture the dramatic and ever changing beauty that was created by nature’s hand.  I’m not an artist but I know here I could be.  I can’t imagine a setting more inspirational, colorful and poetic.
  • I want to ride a donkey.
  • I want to taste the bounty of this volcanic arid land.  Fragrant bright yellow lemons, succulent grapes, pungent feta cheese, plump vine ripened tomatoes, freshly pressed olive oil, honey , pistachios and salty olives would all be served around my table.
  • I want to sit down on the edge of the caldera with a bottle of retsina and slowly watch the sun slip to sleep beneath the rolling sea.
  • I want to gaze up at the night sky and watch the stars dancing like millions of fireflies to the heavens as I drift off to sleep knowing I have found paradise.

This is my Santorini Dream.  It plays daily in my mind.  It is serene, intimate, respectful, romantic, soulful, filled with passion and uniquely my own.

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Congratulations Christa ;-)

PS: This Sunday… a post I have wanted to do for a while: “Living with a purpose”. I hope you can drop by…  M

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15 responses to ““Santorini Dreaming” – winning essay !

  1. I am in shock! Thank you so much for the opportunity to share my thoughts on my most favorite place. I sincerely loved writing it. I am thrilled beyond belief and can’t wait to be on Santorini again this summer.

    Thank you –

    Christa

  2. Congradulations to Christa…what a beautiful essay, I was swept away with it, although I haven’t read any others, it’s no wonder yours was picked. Have an absolutely wonderful time next summer Hope this becomes an annual event, how wonderful to make peoples dreams come true. Sheila

  3. Congratulations Christa…I am so jealous, but I know that someday I will see Santorini for the first time and know about the passion you write about in your essay. Fondly, Roberta

  4. What a wonderful essay. I was one of the procrastinators, and wrote at the last because I found it is not easy to put in to words the magic of Santorini. I love the winning essay, and the reasons Christa has given for wanting to return to the island sums it up beautifully. Well done.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention “Santorini Dreaming” – winning essay ! « Oia Santorini… a notebook about life in Oia -- Topsy.com

  6. Christa – Great job!!! You brought me back to Santorini and put words to a magical isle in the Aegaen Sea.

  7. Congratulations Christa. Beautifully written. The walk from Oia to Fira is an experience I will never forget.

  8. I wanted to let you know that Christa is a dear friend of mine. She will absolutely live her perfect dream during the time spent in Santorini. She truly has a love of travel and experiencing different cultures and immersing herself in these adventures. I loved her essay and I cannot wait to hear more of her tales when she and her husband return from this amazing trip!

  9. Bravo, Christa! Just beautiful! That vision couldn’t be any clearer. Enjoy it to the fullest. And so looking forward to hearing about your stay. So well deserved!

  10. Amazing Christa…I have only been to Santorini once but you took me right back there with your essay…and are driving me to book another trip back there soon!! This should be in a Greek travel magazine…you truly capture the essence of this beautiful oasis. Im going to watch MAMA MIA again because it makes me think of Santorini. Congrats Christa…can I fit in your suitcase??

  11. How Wonderful! I loved the idea behind the contest and I loved the winning essay. Your dreams echo many of mine!

  12. Yvonne(vonnie)

    /wonderful essay!

  13. What a wonderful dream! and it came true!!! congratulations Christa!! you fully captured what we all feel and pound inside our hearts about Santorini, is not only a dream, is a perfectly balanced heaven for our senses! I am going back after 18 long years y 2 weeks and I wonder if my heart can take all the excitement!!

  14. What a beautiful essay, Christa – I feel your words at the depths of my soul. I just returned from Santorini and had dinner at Dimitri’s the night you were there with Allison and Michael – my 84-year old mother and I descended the 280 stairs from Oia to Ammoudi Bay. It was a magical adventure, and I am mesmerized whenever I think of Santorini – which is many times a day as well.
    Yasoo!

  15. I fear my heart would explode with all the beauty in this glorious place! My senses would be bursting from my soul! I so enjoy these pictures and now I am lucky to have these words resonate in my day.. thank you so very much!

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