We had two trips left to make as we left Barcelona: Normandy and Greece. As mentioned in my last post, we went to Normandy for Fourth of July and specifically waited to visit this historic place at the end of our two-year stay in Spain, and it did not disappoint. The boys have a newfound respect for World War Two and the countries that came together to win it.

Our very last trip combines the birth of modern civilization with a visit with one of my swim buddies: Vakis. We met over 16 years ago while both representing our countries during a summer confederation of military reserve officers. We became fast friends in part because we share the same Fired UP, positive attitude of enjoying life. (Warning: be careful about trying to drink with a Greek, especially when the Ouzo flows!) There are acquaintances, friends and swim buddies – Vakis is a swim buddy. No matter how long it has been, we picked up where we left off (minus the Ouzo – though he gave me a bottle!) – as if nothing had changed.

Okay, well maybe a few things changed, for starters, we both have kids and might not be as svelte as we think we are, but the attitudes are still very much the same. To prove his commitment to staying motivated, Vakis has two tattoos now: one under his forearm: “Attack Life” and the other on his rib cage: “Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat” Latin for “Fortune Favors the Bold”. These two mottos could not be more representative of him and a great reminder for all of us about the mindset to get the most out of life.
If you are lucky enough to have a Greek friend, you can relate with the meanings behind his tattoos. We have only been in this country for four days now yet we can totally understand why Vakis got those tattoos. We have encountered nothing but big embraces, broad smiles, hearty handshakes and the warmest of smiles (on one encounter, an owner of a restaurant gave us a jar of honey from his bee-hive….his reasoning: “You nice people!”). I can’t speak the language, and I certainly can’t read it, but I get their attitude and loved seeing my swim buddy (who’s now Major in the Greek’s military), and so did my boys!
The old Naval Academy saying may be true, “Time, tide and formation wait for no man”, but great friendships will always last the test of time, tide, and formation.
And should you decide to Attack Life, it’s definitely more fun with a swim buddy or two – here’s to being bold!

Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat,

Alden