Anna’s College Essay

A glint.

A sliver of amber light

Forces its way into the darkness of my room.

A tear.


Heavy heart. Racing mind.

The day has dawned.

I am leaving.


My home, the imperfect heartbeat. The soul of Africa.

My Joburg.

My unwilling body and mind, moving reluctantly

Surrounded by the quicksilver of my grief.


Born, luckily and happily, in the vibrant city of Johannesburg in 2005. 

My first breath. 

My first glint of light. 

African light. 

The euphoria of our President Madiba, Nelson Mandela.

The positive essence, 

The remarkable miracle of peace 

Positively impacts my youth. 


Hope. Faith. Resilient fortitude.

That glint.

That forever-present glimmer of hopeful light

Epitomizes being South African. 


Well, in most cases. 

Perfect imperfections.

Ripples in the water. 

Troughs, peaks, sparkles. 

Rainbow hues, darkness, light. 

Together, mostly. 

Agreeing to disagree. 

And after the storm.


The smile. 

The acceptance. 

The triumph. 

Our God-given indomitable spirit. 

That is what being proudly South African means. 

To me. 


Greek roots, imparted subtly by my parents

Create a circle of light in my African experience. 

That has been my soul’s happy trigger.

The scent of incense at Greek Orthodox Sunday masses.

African winters 

The unmistakable smell. 

Blazing, smoky, veld fires. 

Glinting embers floating from below,

Magically dancing in the wind. 

Aromas from smoky grilling morsels. 

My father lovingly stewards the heart of our meal. 

My mother’s beautiful arrangement of our happy harvest table. 

Like a Renoir painting. 

Dapples of sunlight glint like colorful jewels. 

Delightfully fleshy mango desserts. 

Translucent ruby-colored pomegranate adorns our salads. 

Lush sweet epicurean delights. 


The unmistakable serene freedom. 

Warm sand, Greek beaches. 

Gazing lovingly at gorgeous azure seas. 

Family, friends, fortitude for my soul. 

Their laughter and happiness

Envelope me. 

Permeate my being. 


Gratitude, fairness, forgiveness, tolerance. 

Making a difference. 

Echoes the gentle voice in my head.

Joburg – blaring sirens, beautiful sunsets, golden mine dumps. 

Crisp cold winter mornings. 

Defines my foundation. 

My deeply multi-layered existence.

Joburg; its diversity humbles me. Grounds me. 

Makes me eternally grateful.


Flying over Africa. 

The glint of city lights fades

Darkness engulfs me.

A cocoon. 

I’m ensconced safely. 


I awaken to the reality of the descent into uncertainty.

I sigh wistfully.

The next chapter unfolds.

A gut-wrenching aura. Rampant uncertainty. 

New beginnings thrust upon me.


The snake. 

The line 

The sea of people. 

Colorfully meandering like a river. 

Anxiously waiting their turn to enter. 

The final hurdle. 

Passport control. 

Blue uniforms. 

Stars and Stripes. Close to the heart. 



New tastes, new smells, new friends, new school, new house, new, new, new, who knew?


Yet, I find the old in the new.

A glint of old, younger me in my new home,

A glimpse playing piano, old and new,

Reading but in a different room-

ultimate joy.  

Enveloped in soft safe happiness. 

My blanket by the fire. 

Dancing magically. 

Peaks, troughs, sparkles. 



Comfort and conflict. 

Small town serenity. 

Blazing Josi vibrancy. 

Surrounded by family. 

Surrounded by forests and serene lakes. 

Pillars of soulful noise. 

Pillars of meaningful silence. 


We are different. 

We are the same. 


I am South African.

I am Greek.

And now I am American too.

I am grateful. 

An opportunity. 

To make sense of it all.

The inextinguishable glint is in my soul.