So here I am, sitting on my bed on a gloomy Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, eating bread from the bakery next door and meats from a past tavern dinner, reminiscing about my Athenian adventures that I have had here in the first week.
On, the first day (Monday) the rest of the students arrived at CYA. I was running around all day getting my room ready, and meeting my new flat mates and fellow students. As previously stated in the blog before, I had a very busy first afternoon-night running around and settling into Athens. The second day was no exception, got up at 10 and ran around until midnight.
On my third day (Tuesday and the start of Orientation) we had to be at the school by 9 for breakfast [ so early] and introductions and our first class of the week Survival Modern Greek. Two of my roommates and a few of my fellow acquaintances were in the class with me and we learned the Greek alphabet, pronunciation and a couple of words. We then had lunch and it was SOOOOO GOOOOOD! I can’t wait to be eating like this every day. Later, we had more lectures and introductions and then had neighborhood walk with a professor. CYA is right next to the Panathiaiko stadium (first stadium of the modern day Olympics). She took us back the the track and to a hidden spot on the hill where you can look out over Athens – from the Acropolis, to Lykavittos Hill, and out to the sea. It was beautiful. That night we had a few words from the presidents and two dancers can to teach us some Greek dances. It was fun to watch the students dance. After that, a group of 9 of us headed out to find a taverna for dinner. We found a nice small one and ordered wine, souvlaki, and salads. I had an interesting conversation with the girls. We talked about art, archaeology, religion (all academic stuff) then down to trash TV like Jersey Shore. It was a fantastic conversation and I got some more views on questions and thoughts I had.
(Wednesday) The next day we had more Survival Modern Greek and then my friends and I walked to the AB grocery store. Since, we had time off before we were heading out to the Taverna Dinner, Rachel and Jenna; two girls I meet, decided that we were going to visit the Acropolis. I walked them to the Acropolis metro station and we gazed in wonder at its magnificence. Since it was drizzling, we decided to visit the New Acropolis Museum instead. Inside it was beautiful! So many of the statues I was taught about in Greek History and Art History where there. I just wanted to touch them all! It was SOOOOO AMAZING! Some of the archaeologists had set up a laser treatment for the Caryatids, getting rid of the mold and mildew and other pollutants on the statues. They were beautiful. Each was sculpted with different braided hairstyles. It was breathtaking. We then walked out to the second floor coffee shop and balcony and looked out at the Acropolis. The rain had stopped and the sun was setting by the acropolis. Added to the beauty of it all were two rainbows arched over the neighborhood.
That night I had decided to go on the tavern dinner and meet more students and staff. For four hours I sat and talked with the librarian, front desk woman and a student. They talked about fun things to do in Athens, their lives, and asked us questions. And, we had the most amazing food. 10 appetizers consisting of salads, cheeses, breads, vegetables, a meat platter of chicken, pork, sausage, and meat balls, and 4 desserts along with wines and a cleansing cinnamon flavored shot.
Thursday, we had our Survival Modern Greek class and then walked to the U.S. Embassy in Athens. After, a group of us walked to Kolonaki and back. That night, Felicia took us to a gyro shop and we had delicious gyros.
Friday was our last day of Survival Modern Greek and the day of our scavenger hunt. We were placed into a group of 9 students and we walked all over the city of Athens for 3 hours. We did not even finish 1/3 of the tasks because we were so tired. That night a group of us went to the ‘”pirate bar” in Pagrati, a 2 minute walk from our apartment. It was decked out in a sea and pirate related ornamentations and they played rock music. We got in a 2.
Saturday morning, a group of us went out to Syntagma and Exharia. Ally, Lindsay and I wanted to go to the outdoor market in Exharia to buy and look around. When we got there, we were strolling along with all the people staring at us (and my blue hair). All of a sudden, this older man comes up to us and grabed my hand and places a giant lemon in it. (It was so big I thought it was a grapefruit at first). He told me that I was beautiful and loved my blue hair and kissed my hand. Ally then walked up and he handed her a lemon. He told us he sold lemons and oranges and then gave us one each. He asked where we were from and we told him America. He enjoyed talking to us and told us to come back to his shop.
Later that night, my flat mates and I decided to go to Psiri and hit up the bars there. We had a huge group of us (9) and they were already crowded when we got there. We decided it was best to split up, so Mary, Ashley and I hit us this little bar. Inside it had an island theme, disco ball and tree branch chandelier (something out of Urban Outfitters/Free People store). We sat at the nonexistent bar and chatted for three hours. During that time, some 40-year-old man started talking to us and asking us why we were in Athens. We told him we were all anthropologists studying in Athens for 4 months and he asked us a couple more questions. When we were leaving, he ran out after us and gave us his number and his card. We told him we would call before he left for Haiti to do some United Nations work. We then met up with the rest of the group at a bar they were at. They had pumping dance music and a lively atmosphere. We then walked back through the National Gardens to our apartments.
So, today, is Sunday, and I start class tomorrow at 8:30 am with my roommates. I am excited and nervous about starting my academic time here; however, I think I will have fun learning about topics I feel passionate about.
Till next time, MLe
another view from the balcony of the museum
the view of the Acropolis from the stadium