NAFPLIO, Greece—Scampering around the main square in Nafplio, the adorable mutt surveys his grounds before stretching out for a nap under the shade of a nearby statue. He is technically a stray, but he belongs to the square. Waiters feed him their leftover meat, parents let their children play with his floppy ears, and shopkeepers offer their stoops for his naps. He doesn’t bark, snarl, or whimper. With his mouth stretched in a goofy grin, this pooch beams all day long.
He has every reason to be that happy – Nafplio is idyllic. It sits on the water’s edge, filled with cafés, shops, and bars. As I write this article, I am sipping on an icy frappé in a taverna that overlooks the ocean. It is hard not to become consumed by my daydreams, picturing myself just staying here forever.
In fact, the city has inspired a new game among the Harvard students here. It’s simple—we finish the sentence “maybe I’ll stay in Nafplio, and….” Some say that they would work in the Paintings on Old Wood shop, which sells (you guessed it) paintings on old wood, while others dream of buying their own boat to sail in the Aegean Sea. Strangely, the game has slowly evolved into finishing the sentence “maybe I’ll stay in Nafplio, adopt that dog from the square, and…” There is something especially appealing about that cheerful mutt, so content with his simple life in a picturesque town.I won’t stay in Nafplio. I could be happy here, but I know that come September I will be back at Harvard, and this carefree lifestyle will seem distant. But next year, as I toil away in Lamont among a sea of Harvard’s stressed out overachievers, I hope I’ll remember that happiness can be rooted in simplicity; sometimes, a cold frappé and good dog are all you need.