It’s Been Four Years

24 Jun


It’s been four years since I’ve seen my brother.

About five years ago my brother moved to Greece.  He was twenty years old at the time.  He’d been enrolled in undergrad in Boston and decided to move to Greece and go to school there.

I didn’t want my little brother to leave.  I told him he could live with me.  But he left anyway.  I suppose it made sense for him.  The rest of our family was already living there.

I visited the first summer after he moved to Greece.  I intended to visit again the year after that.  I really did.  But, I didn’t make it that year.  And I haven’t make it in the years that have followed.

I have excuses reasons.  Lots of them.  I moved twice during that time period.  One of the moves was an out-of-state move.  (If moving from one side of the George Washington Bridge to the other counts.)  I wanted to travel to more places than just Greece.  I’ve transitioned between three different jobs, making accruing time off from work more difficult.  I started grad school.

The decision not to go to Greece felt right each time.  It seemed “practical.”  The economy was plummeting, and I had to count pennies.  These were years of upheaval, transition, exploration with where I lived and where I worked and what I did in my free time.  But now I wonder how it got to be four years since I’ve seen my brother.  Now I question what being “practical” really means.


I’ll be reading from a story about the summer before my brother moved to Greece tonight at Redeemer.  You can register for free to attend.  Hope to see you there! 


3 Responses to “It’s Been Four Years”

  1. Jerry Waxler June 24, 2011 at 7:03 am #

    Hi Stephanie, Thanks for sharing this memoir snip. It has lots of interesting aspects, but hard to comment because I don’t know if you are looking for feedback about your relationship with your brother, or a more meta-discussion about developing a memoir by writing a blog. I could imagine that you might have (or want) two different audiences. If this is part of your MFA critique program, you could be reaching out to all the other aspiring memoirists, and saying “hey, look at this. let’s talk about writing a memoir online.” Or you could be developing your audience of people interested in this cross cultural coming of age saga. Perhaps you want readers to choose, or you might want to direct your audience along one of the lines.

    Another aspect of your blog that intrigues me is that it is about current emotional challenges. I’m curious how that works. Typically memoir is about material that you have developed some distance from, but it looks like you are jumping right into your current life.

    Memory Writers Network

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos June 24, 2011 at 8:45 am #

      Hi, Jerry– Thanks for reading! This is not a cut-and-paste job from my memoir. I think the idea of sharing snippets of a memoir in blog-form is intriguing, but I also don’t want to give away my whole story. This entry does speak to the broader aspects and emotions of my memoir, though.

      I’m doing a reading tonight from a chapter in my memoir that tells of an incident that happens shortly before my brother moves to Greece, back before he or I knew he was definitely moving to Greece. That’s the interesting thing with memoir — many of the characters are still alive and things that happen in the present affect how one perceives the past.

      I think there are probably a lot of people who haven’t seen family members in a long time. We all have our various reasons, and I hope that in sharing my feelings about not seeing my brother in a while it will encourage others.

      • Jerry Waxler June 24, 2011 at 9:18 am #

        A story about loving concern for a brother sounds refreshing. Rachel Simon’s Riding the Bus with My Sister is about a loving look at a sister but scanning my book shelf I’m seeing none in which a brother plays a key role.

        Have fun at the reading.


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