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What Ikaria means to me

I was asked this question today by my niece who is here with us this summer. I have never thought about it from this perspective and found it harder to answer than I would have thought. My emotional attachment to our island stems in a large part to a sense of belonging. Even though I was not born or raised here I have always felt a strong connection to Ikaria. I suppose it is that sense of “tribe” and family connections. Third cousins are still considered close family and after that, though it may be distant relatives it is still thought of as clan so to speak. Ikaria gave me a sense of freedom that I had never felt before growing up in Michigan. Here I was free to be myself and there were no expectations to “fit in”. I love that Ikarians value individuality without labels. There is also a sense of security within our social network. I was once asked if we have homeless people or people too poor to survive here and was shocked. This would never be possible on our island. We take care of each other and even though we may have our disagreements everyone will help when needed and usually before being asked. The connections the children have growing up, the lack of bullying, fear of strangers: all of these made it an easy decision to want to raise my family here. We have our problems here and it can be a difficult place to live at times, but when you weigh the pros and cons, it is more than worth it. I suppose to sum it up I would have to say this: Ikaria is home and surely where my heart is!

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2023년 8월 23일

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