John Gianoulidis, 56, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

So, this afternoon I was pondering the last year’s events. About this time last year, I was being filmed for Kafenio to be on the Atlanta Eats show and planning the one-year anniversary/Grand Opening party for Kafenio Avondale. 

ParkGrounds was plugging along as it has for the last 10 years. We had a great time filming the episode, and the Grand Opening party for Kafenio Avondale was a huge success. I was right on the edge of business blowing up at both locations, all while traveling back and forth to Athens, Greece and enjoying travel, fun, and the excitement of juggling operations for three restaurants.

This was all literally the week before the pandemic started hitting.

Fast-forward to one year of the pandemic.

Kafenio College Park has been closed since last March and will probably not reopen. Kafenio Avondale is breaking even, and ParkGrounds is limping along. I’m busy working shifts for employees who have been exposed to COVID and playing dodgeball with the disease, myself, all while wearing a mask on the cook line and dealing with customers who don’t understand a mask doesn’t work if it isn’t also covering their nose.

Guess what-I’m ok! 

In Greek, OK stands for Ολλα Καλά! Everything is good. I continue to learn that my external circumstances cannot dictate how I feel about my self-worth or the worth of the reality I am in at the moment. 

These external circumstances also continue to drive home the truth that it’s not what happens to me, but how I deal with it.  I’m grateful today for perspective and context that allow me the long view.

Everything is not going to be OK, it’s OK right now.

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