Marja Bergen

author, mental health advocate, follower of Christ

Me? Really? Having fun?


Mamma and AliPhoto by Wes Bergen

I never thought it possible for a group of adults to have such a wonderful time! To be as free as children in our silliness and in our laughter. But it did happen here last night on the island of Santorini in Greece where my husband and I were vacationing.

I write so much serious, and often very sad, material that I’d almost forgotten there was such pure fun to be had. I’d forgotten that we could let go sometimes as we enjoy the company of friends.

A couple of days ago we met up with two friends from Romania here, something we’ve done annually over the past few years. It’s always a wonderful time, with an opportunity to share in each other’s lives – lives that differ so much from each other. We share a common love of photography and through that love we have formed a bond.

We were disappointed that Ali, our friend from the UK, another member of our group, could not make it this year.

But as the four of us sat, enjoying a mid-afternoon drink, a couple of strange looking individuals came over. They had big noses and funny glasses. A crazy snatch of black mustache under their noses and a couple of other crazy black snatches of eyebrows. And who were these people? They were Ali himself surprising us with his friend Mama – a most unbelievably big surprise. Imagine them coming all this way from another island just to see us for less than a day! This kind of surprise simply doesn’t happen to adults, I thought to myself. This is the kind of happiness that comes to a child, not serious adults like us.

Our friends had to fly to the UK the very next day, so we didn’t have much time to be together. But we took good advantage of the time we had. We spent the evening in a wonderful restaurant. Overlooking the ocean we enjoyed a long drawn-out dinner with much talk and laughter. At the end of the dinner Ali, the silliest of us, had us all sing happy birthday to Mama, something we did with great gusto.

The waiter, standing by our table, bill in hand, was embarrassed. “If I had known, we could have done something, he said. Wait, I’ll bring the bill back later.” When he returned, he brought two little cakes with ice cream for us all to share.

It was so nice of him.

But you know what was so funny about all this? So embarrassingly funny? In all actuality there had been no birthday. We faked it. It was all a prank – the kind of prank young people would pull. We felt a bit ashamed, especially Ali, the instigator of the joke. Yet underneath that shame was the joy of knowing we could still be young…even in our latter years.



  1. Love it!

  2. hahaha… :),,,this is a great story that makes me smile from ear to ear :)
    Hope to see you guys one day soon.
    Much Love
    Ali and Mamma XX

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