The Taste of Happiness: New York Style.

I recently went to New York with my family to learn about journalism from a real reporter, watch a Broadway show and visit museums and historical sites like the Statue of Liberty. My cousin Sia lives in New York and once I arrived at our Manhattan hotel, she started sending me Instagram pictures of rainbow-colored bagels.

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I had never seen such yummy looking bagels. They were rainbow!!! If a unicorn was a bagel, this is the bagel it would be.

Sia came to take us to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to go the bagel store. Guess what? It’s really called the Bagel Store. We could barely enter because the line twisted and turned around the entire store making it very crowded.


After waiting about thirty minutes we finally got to order. I ordered the cotton candy bagel with Oreo cream cheese. My brother ordered the Coca-Cola bagel with Oreo cream cheese. My mother had the world-famous confetti bagel with confetti cream cheese.







My cousin Sia had a raspberry rainbow cream cheese bagel with Oreo cream cheese. Her boyfriend, Nick, had the blueberry bagel with confetti cream cheese. My first bite of this beautiful bagel and all I tasted was joy…happiness…this is what cuteness and goodness tastes like!! It was sunshine, rainbows and love all in my mouth. It was the way I imagined sparkles and glitter tasting.









All of us loved our bagels so much, it was hard to share. But wanting to try other flavors, we each passed our bagels around. Nick’s blueberry bagel won first prize for flavor. My cotton candy bagel won first prize for beauty. I bet this is the food of unicorns.

Next time you’re visiting New York, you’ll likely visit the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Broadway, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center or any of the museums, but The Bagel Shop, is something everyone must also experience. Who can’t use a bite of pure happiness, New York Style.








Hilarious “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” has 1 New Greek God

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The Greek family you love is back!! Last night, I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 before it came out in the theaters. I prepared by watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding all weekend long. The night of the screening, I decided to go with all my Greek friends and family. I laughed throughout the entire movie. It was as funny, if not funnier, than the first movie. I highly recommend it to everyone! I give it 5 out of 5 Dancing Zorbas.
Like in the first movie, Gus, Toula’s dad, starts off with his famous, “You better get married soon. You’re starting to look old” speech. Except this time, he is talking to Toula’s daughter, Paris, who is ONLY 17 years old! Also, much like the first movie, Gus goes on and on about how the Greeks invented EVERYTHING! We learned hockey, Italians, and Facebook all came from the Greeks. Has anyone told Mark Zuckerberg?
Gus constantly mentions marriage and babies! Marriage and babies! Marriage and babies! But guess what? He realizes HE is not even married because the priest did not sign his own marriage certificate. Toula turns the tables on him, saying, “Yeah dad, you have to get married because you are starting to look old.” What unfolds in the plot after that is hilarious!
Toula is still married to the Xeno, but acting a bit like her parents because she doesn’t want Paris to leave her. Determined to keep her home in Chicago, they try to intervene to prevent her from going far, far away to college from her crazy Greek family.
Yiayia is back better than ever because someone told her the war was over! Trust me, Yiayia’s dance moves will have you laughing.
I barely noticed a new character, played by John Stamos. But remember I told you I brought my own Greek family to the theatre? I guess he is a Greek God that I never read about. But one of my Greek cousins has a crush on him. If Gus would only insist that THEY get married and have babies.

Hillary Clinton Called Me Smart: Better than Kardashian Selfie Any Day

The 2016 president’s race has not been a big part of my home school curriculum. My mom tells me she doesn’t want to ruin my childhood with politics. However, when I was given the opportunity to meet Hillary Rodham Clinton, I decided it was time. I didn’t want to meet Secretary Clinton without some background on her. I tried Googling but the first thing I clicked on was a picture of Kim Kardashian taking a selfie with Hillary. When I told my mom what I found and asked who she was, my mom put me in the car and drove me to the bookstore. I picked three books about her life. They were inspiring! I soon learned I was about to meet a historical figure! Wow, this was going to be exciting.

Yesterday was the big day. I would meet Hillary Rodham Clinton at a fundraising event in Chicago. Excited, I woke up really early to start getting ready for the day, which seemed to drag on forever. It was finally time to leave for the event. Right before leaving I called my mom. She told me to take a selfie because if Secret Service let Kim Kardashian get one, she said they couldn’t refuse a nine year old girl. My mom,  also went on and on and on about shaking her hand properly, keeping my shoulders back , having a nice greeting and speaking from my heart. Ok, ok, enough mom!!!!

Finally, I arrived at the event and waited for two hours for Mrs. Clinton to arrive. Once she did, I was only the second person to talk to her. The person in front of me took a quick picture with her, and the line behind us was long. I was nervous that I would not get enough time to ask her my two questions. How would I tell my mom that I said absolutely nothing? Happily, I walked up to Senator Clinton. We had our picture taken and I asked her to sign my “Some Girls Were Born to Lead” book. As she inscribed it, I began to ask her my questions.



Here is our conversation:

“Last year, I went to Greece and I saw the refugees. It made me very sad that they were living on the streets with no food and little water. The only ones helping were Greeks. The Greeks, themselves, are suffering from an economic crisis. When you are President, will you help Greece and the refugees?” I asked.

“Yes, Yes, I will.” Senator Clinton responded.

“How?” I asked.

“I don’t know yet, but, I promise I will find a way to help.” Mrs. Clinton said.

“I want to change the world, do you have any advice for me?” I wanted to know.

“You should pay attention to other people and how they act. Noel, you must do very well in school. Listen and watch. When you are older, volunteer to help people.” She then said something that made me want to do a happy dance. “Noel, you are a very smart girl.”

OMG!!! I just met Hillary Clinton! Did she really just tell me I was smart? Smart? How smart? Smart enough to be a child ambassador? Great! I’m available!

I saw the line waiting and I knew it was time for us to wrap this up. I looked Senator Clinton in the eyes and said, “I hope you become our first woman President.”

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It was time to check in with my mother. Oh no, I didn’t have time to ask for a selfie. When I called her, the first thing I told her was that Mrs. Clinton said I was smart and she promised to help the refugee crisis in Greece.

“Noel, being smart, is much better than any selfie. A promise from a former First Lady and possibly the President of the United States, is also better than any selfie” my mom told me.

I won’t forget Senator Clinton’s promise. She inscribed my book with “Noel, follow your dreams!” I will follow my dreams, and they will include watching President Clinton keep her promise.


As for my not getting a selfie, like Kim Kardashian, while she might have a selfie, Senator Clinton called me smart.  And I’d take that any day over a picture!

Lessons from Greece: The Minotaur, the Parthenon and How to Treat Refugees

September 2015, Athens. The world is my classroom and my classroom was most recently located in Greece for 3 weeks. My time in Greece was amazing! While in Crete, I read about the Minotaur and then played with my brother in the Minotaur’s labyrinth. In Santorini, I had science in the middle of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world, and art with a 5th generation pottery master. In Athens, I walked up the Acropolis to one of the most famous structures in the world: the Parthenon built for the goddess Athena.  Athens, I learned, was the birthplace of democracy, philosophy, theatre, medicine, the alphabet, architecture …it’s just like the man in My Big Fat Greek Wedding said everything truly does come from the Greeks!!!  Even with an economic crisis, I saw the beauty of Greece.  Life was good until my mom thought we needed to learn about modern politics. I don’t even know what that means! We had learned about the Trojan War, and my mom told us there were wars going on today. What!? That’s crazy and soo sad. With the help of an Athenian, we arrived at Victoria Square in Athens.  “Migrants you are welcome,” spray painted in the town square.

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We were told this was the place where the refugees who didn’t have the proper paperwork to cross the border were living. Sometimes pictures are more powerful than words.


I saw that the kids were playing together and the parents were very sad.  I also saw that their beds were made out of cardboard boxes.

IMG_0010 (2) One boy said that his family was killed and he wanted to get to Germany but he couldn’t because the borders were closed.


I passed out ice cream and croissants to the kids.  They were really happy.

My mom showed me a video of Greeks in the islands helping the refugees. Please watch below.

We went back to this square a few days later and talked with men who had lost their entire family. These men told us they were stuck in Greece because the borders were closed.  They were starving.  While we were there, Athenian women came by to give food to these men.  When we left the refugees, my mom and I talked about the Golden Rule.  Did the Greeks invent that too?  What would we want others to do if it was too dangerous for us to live in our home?  Greeks, I learned, will help others even when they are suffering. The Greeks were helping during their own time of struggle. Greek generosity was more impressive than the Acropolis, more beautiful than Santorini.  I learned the true beauty of Greece came from the human spirit of the Greeks themselves, from my Thea who was so generous to our family to the Greeks I saw helping the refugees.

Lessons from my Greek Thea

Noel-Pic-1 I interviewed my Thea (that’s Aunt in Greek) when we visited her in Thessaloniki. Here are some of my questions and her answers:

How many Euros can you get out of the bank?
My Thea’s answer: 60.00 Euros a day.

How has the economic crisis affected you?

My Thea’s answer: It has affected me very much! You can’t buy things you use to buy. You buy only what you need nothing else. You can’t go to the hospital because they barely have any supplies.  Kids use to go to preschool for free, now only half the kids will be allowed into preschool. My house is worth very little now, even though it cost me lots of money to buy. The government taxes are very high and no one has the money to pay for them. Architects, doctors and many other professionals are eating at their church. You will see many people looking through the garbage to find food. 10,000 Greeks have committed suicide because of the economy.

Noel, we have very little but we are still happy.