20 Feb 2017

Faces of Pangrati: Meet Chris

Chris is a waiter at Ρακομπακαλικο. He has bright eyes, an infectious smile, and could talk for days. Those were just some of the things I learned in the first 30 seconds of meeting him.

“Ah hello, Americans! How are you all today? Where in America are you from? How long are you here? Oh, you will have to let me tell you all the incredible places to visit,” He didn’t leave a single breath between each question. My friends and I, a group of about 10, could only stare and smile not sure which question to answer first. He laughed a boisterous laugh and instead chose to tell us about the menu.

“Okay, I don’t care what you have to say, I’m going to tell you the best things to order,” he said with his infectious smile. When in Greece….we told ourselves and obediently listened to Chris’ advice.

After a detailed explanation of what food we should order (and an instruction on how to properly drink ouzo), we began to ask Chris questions about himself. Where is he from? How long has he been here? What does he do? Where does he recommend to go? After a few minutes of this exchange we found some things about him: Chris is a 7 year student at university. When we heard this number all of our eyes widened in one part shock, one part empathy. In response to our pity stares, he shrugged his shoulders and simply said, “I was too busy working and traveling and drinking ouzo, you know?”

We couldn’t help but smile at his pure desire for a fulfilled life. His favorite place is Serbia, by the way. He talked for what seemed like hours about his travels and his recommendations for us. He even made us all follow him on Instagram in order to see the beautiful places he described (@chris_k.o for those curious). With smiles and laughter almost completely expended, he finally went to the kitchen to bring out our meals. But the interaction was worth it. Not only did I make a new friend and add countries to my travel list but I experienced the night the way Greeks do- with laughter and a lot of questions.

Main photo: from @chris_k.o on instagram