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Essay Prompt: Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
Inspiration for essay: My grandmother (yiayia) and my grandfather (pappou) in Greece planted an olive tree in our family olive grove when I was born. They are from a rural town in the municipality of North Kynouria. My Grandfather was actually born under an olive tree in July of 1944 in that same grove I spent every summer in Greece with my grandparents and would go to the grove to visit my tree. My first memory of visiting my tree is when I was about five years old. While we were there my grandfather helped my brother and I plant another olive tree in honor of my cousins birth. I watched the tree that was planted for me and the tree I helped plant for my cousin grow, blossom, and bear fruit as I myself was growing. To me it is the most precious gift that my grandparents gave me. When I look through dozens of photos taken in Greece throughout the years I reflect on how I have grown physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. It is always a place of pride and comfort and I feel really connected to and proud that my olive tree could provide nourishment for the body (food) but also for the mind and soul (family getting together to work the harvest, sharing olives & oil produced from that harvest with friends & family ,a part of many happy occasions shared with community.) I would also reflect upon the challenges I have faced. Its a metaphor for the seasons of life. Some years the harvest is good and others it is not, but the olive tree will always be there and endure. Just like enduring my own challenges and setbacks in life can eventually bring prosperity. The olive tree is representative of the good Id like to do for others and put out into the world. With hard work the earth will provide.
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A little about me: Competitive gymnast since age 6. Dealt with mental blocks and the challenges of serious injuries between 2016-2021: multiple fractures and sprains on both ankles. Navigating everyday life in NYC on crutches is no easy feat. (living in a third floor walk up apartment, riding the subway, crowded hallways in between classes at school) mental blocks. Sometimes I struggle with believing in myself but my younger teammates look up to me and I love to support and encourage them.
Symbol of peace, wisdom, fertility, prosperity, luck, victory. No fruit bearing tree in our land has been praised, painted, sung, as much as the olive tree. This tree, that loves the sea and the Mediterranean sun, grows even on arid and rocky soils and survives under drought conditions and strong winds. It has accompanied the inhabitants of this land in times of both prosperity, and deprivation and has left its imprint in every aspect of the cultural tradition of the Mediterranean people. In the Greek tradition, when a child is born, an olive tree is planted. The olive tree and the child will grow up together and when the child will become 6 years old, the olive tree will give its first fruit. It will grow with the family, survive through decades, and will still be there for all the coming generations to always remind us of the continuity and the evolution of life.
Description of the area in greece where my family is from: mountains, blue seas, green valleys filled with olive groves, chestnut and fir, history, culture, traditions, heritage.