True friends will build your self-esteem, they will really listen. They feel comfortable talking about themselves, to you. True friends are diplomats too. These special people are rare in a lifetime, so when we are lucky enough to have them, we tend to cherish our every moment together.
I am very lucky to have such a true friend, he’s possibly one of the most diplomatic person on this planet. I fondly call him Craterus, the historian from Macedonia. There’s an article I wrote a few years back when he took us on a tour of Greek-life in Vancouver. The introduction to Greek food was recounted with the history of the food, the place from whence it came, the joy of eating with family and friends, it was told with such pride that I, myself felt personally honoured to learn about Greek food.
He was, and will always, be utterly Greek. Proud of his history, knowledgeable about his land, and forever making friends around the globe. I always joke that Craterus is the only diplomat Greece needs, if he was the only one left to do what he does best, the whole world would move to Greece. What makes Craterus so unique?
He cultivates his friendships, like a gardener would his precious, fragile seedlings. He trusts that we will all grow into strong, resilient plants. He believes we will one day share that love and knowledge we have gained under his care.
Craterus is loyal, kind, listens well, is generous and most of all he will take no bullshit from anyone. When he is being strong with his opinion it is because it comes from learned knowledge combined with experience, yet he will make you feel like this is an informed debate between two intelligent people. Sometime the other person he is debating with has no clue what is the what, or they may have their heads buried in the sand, or up someone else’s nether parts. Craterus will always be diplomatic with his opinions, he will treat them as an equal.
Recently, we visited Craterus at his home in Athens, Greece. His home became our home from the moment we walked in the door. This is a Craterus thing. We were given keys, metro cards, a full fridge, dinners were organized with his friends who are now our friends, he was our personal guide on tours around Athens. We were taken to this hometown in Thessaloniki, we walked his childhood neighbourhood, we met his friends, we ate at his parents table in their summer home in Halkidiki.
I always wondered how he became this guy that could meet people and keep them as friends forever. His loyalty to his friends is boundless.
We met his parents. Craterus’s mom is vivacious, welcoming, warm, classy and extremely proud of her son. His dad is quiet, studious, strong and thoughtful. Craterus is both his parents and then some, he is what I think parents dream of; a child that is all their good bits plus so much more.
Did I mention he is a diplomat? Yep, a true to his career diplomat. He has lived in many places around the world and he manages to keep his friendships plural and singular. When he is with us we each feel special in our friendship with him, we are happy to recount stories and listen to each other stories. Although the gatherings are because of him, it is never about him.
Craterus loves food, he believes that through the foods of other countries he can understand a little more about the people, he loves books because he learns more about himself and his history and he learns about other peoples and their histories, he loves music because in music he is truly free.
He hates gossip but he loves a good story. When you call him up and you are struggling with a sentence, he calmly says into the awkward silence, “Tell me.” He is the best traveling friend…no fuss, no stress, no messy situations. Out and about the unspoken rule is, “You treat my friends the way you treat me.” His friends are completely different from him, and yet the same.
Craterus is multi-faceted. He is staid, and full of adventures. He is vibrant, spontaneous and fun, and steady as a rock. He is attentive, protective, and lets people be themselves. He is our diplomat and we love him for it. You are a true friend, Craterus the Historian, and you are a builder of friendship bridges. Thank you for all the chats, and the adventures while we were with you in Vancouver and in Greece. Thank you for sharing your wonderful friends, whom are now our friends. Thank you for being you, our true friend. Thank you for all the books over the years, you are always thoughtful, and always ready to educate our minds and hearts.
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