At the time I was writing my diploma theses on a random graph process in 2008 I came to an idea of coding labelled graphs with natural numbers. Here is the idea: graph2number.
Writing about presents, I remembered another present which I received at Christmas (or New Year's Eve) as a child (I think I was 9 or 10 years old), which exploded my imagination and fascinated me for many years: 50 books with all novels of Jules Verne in a Greek translation by Edition Astir. At that time I had read 2 books of Verne (Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Tribulations of a Chinaman in China). I still remember my surprise after opening the package and seeing all these books in their coloured covers.
In the next years I read almost all of them. It was a journey to a world of unlimited imagination and solid constructed stories full of invention power and fine humour. An amazing present!
As listening in the last days the Mozart piano concertos with Brendel and Mariner, I remembered the following incident from my teenager years in Serres.
My parents would travel for some days to Thessaloniki. I asked them to buy an LP for me from a special record store which was specialised in classical music: the concerto for harp and flute by Mozart; and to ask how much the 23 piano concertos with Brendel would cost. I knew few of the Mozart piano concertos and it was a dream for me getting to know them all, as expecting that the whole collection would be very expensive.
After returning, my father gave me the LP with the doulbe concerto and... the collection of the 23 ones. I can still remember how happy I was... It was one of the greatest surprise-presents I had ever received.
This present occupied me for years.
In my life I had --and still have-- the possibility to live between two or more worlds in basically two dimensions: Country-Dimension (Greece/Germany) and professional one (Music/Mathematics, where in Music there are some orthogonal subdimensions as well: Interpretational/Compositiona/Scientific). All these were of great importance to my personality, as it concerns my way of thinking and of understanding people.
Just in the last years I have realised this hybrid aspect in me. This was not accomplished by just observing my past works and recollecting my past thoughts, or by watching other people who belong to only one discipline. One important factor that contributed to this direction was the behaviour of these people towards me. The awkwardness with which musicians see the mathematical side of me, or the mathematicians see my musical qualifications made me realise that for many people --not for all-- this is enough to consider me as a foreign body, an alien. It is the feeling of many immigrants, which they have after returning to their countries for vacations: because of their hybrid mentality they are considered as foreigners everywhere. But --the question is-- where do they feel at home?
For me, this question has a simple answer: feeling at home gives the sense of sitting comfortable. By having experience in different --if not opposite-- fields I see continuously improvement possibilities in them. That is, I never feel comfortable because I have always something to improve, to do. And I love this!