Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mumble Jumble of the first few days of Athens

Me: We either DIE or GO HOME!
Caitlin: What is this, Sparta? Oh wait....

Okay, so I've been a little slow for the updates considering how much has happened in just three short days, but I'm sure I'll get into the groove of everything soon enough. Classes start tomorrow and I'm really stoked. I'm taking Monuments of Greece, Beginning Greek Language, and a Cross Cultural class, all of the required courses, plus History of the Balkans and Greek Methods of Persuasion. It's a lot, and I'm not sure if I am going to stick with Persuasion, I was just really hoping to take a class from our traveling prof, Alena because I have heard nothing but amazing things about her so I will have to see how it goes. 

The last few days have been insane. Starting with just the first night, Kristina, my roommate, Michele, Katie and I hit the town as soon as we were settled. We found this amazing place that was a rooftop bar where you could see forever, including an amazing view of the Acropolis. In the words of Kristina, "This is like Disneyland...only REAL!" Vasilies was the name of the bar and he loved us crazy American girls that were completely awestruck by the city. He won us over with his dance moves and free drinks, and I'm sure he will see much of us for the next three months. 

The following day we were taken all around the surrounding area of our apartments and the Athens Centre, where our classes will be held, to get a feel for what is around us. We also had a great dinner provided by the Athens Centre, at a Taverna not too far from our apartments.It was amazing food and so much fun to finally sit down and chat with all the people in our program. 

Later that night we wanted another round of fun, so Caitlin, Tori, and the boys from downstairs and I went of the craziest adventure yet. We still had no idea where anything was still but we were determined to push the limits and that's exactly what we did. Wandering around with no clue we started asking strangers on the street where we could find a fun place go, and two guys took us in and basically let us follow them around half the city. They were headed to a Tiki Bar which sounded perfect, but after about an hour we found it only to discover that the owners have closed it for the holidays. Which holidays...who knows so we ended up in Plaka, a very crowded and lively part of the city, especially at night because its full of clubs and restaurants. This is where our tour guides left us, after telling us how to get home on the Metro first. Since they informed us that the last Metro runs at 2am, we decided we still had enough time for a little Plaka fun! We found Club Spirit, got some drinks and started to dance the night away. The club was pretty much empty expect us, the crazy six Americans, and two older women from Russia that were dancing it up with us. Caitlin and I had to drag the boys away from the bar so we didn't miss the last Metro. We were panicked so we ran through the station until a security man yelled at us in Greek, then in English, oops! 

Once we got off and out of the station we were waaaay lost! Matt thought he had figured out where we were and started running up and down the street shouting that he knew where we were while Caitlin and I tried to read a map. Not much time passed before Matt came back like a wounded puppy and told us he had no idea where we were. The quest home was full of constant conversations that began with "English? Yes?" and confused faces as the kind people on the street tried to guide us home. We even met a brother and sister from US and Canada. Sam, the brother was so excited he gave me a hug when he found out I was from Bellingham, since he had spent the past four years in Vancouver BC. 

We stopped to ask a gang of Taxi drivers how to get home and once they pointed us in the right direction I went in for the high five. I should point out the a palm outward gesture is a big no-no in Greece, so I panicked and apologized a lot realizing what I had just done. He just laughed at me and said high-fives were a perfectly fine gesture and then pounded my fist, and said "like the Americans!" 

As we continued to walk the neighborhood finally became familiar and we found our way back to the apartments. Only took us about two hours to get home, a simple adventure turned into an amazing night of chaos. 

After only about 5 hours of sleep we had another tour yesterday. This was hilarious since the tour took us pretty much all the way through the places that we had been the night before, only this time we had a guide and didn't get completely lost. I was proud of our fearless attitude though, everyday I get more and more confident about the area and I know it will only get easier. 

Once we told everyone else about the crazy adventures the six of us had, they all wanted to make the trip to Plaka for a good time. So after the tour, some delicious Gyros by the market, and my first grocery store adventure, we rounded everyone up and headed out as a huge crowd. I was so excited to see almost our entire class together, everyone is getting along well so far. This time we actually knew where we were headed so it took a lot less time, and it was a crazy night. Everyone was dancing and making friends. We met a guy named Harry from Whales that had the perfect accent, we couldn't understand his name at first so he just said, "'Arrry, like 'Arry Potter!" Exhausted from the night before, a few of us headed out early since it's a long trek home. These three stay dogs walked us back the entire way. It's overwhelming how many stray cats and dogs there are all the time. It's really sad, and I know we aren't supposed to pet them or give them any attention because sometimes they are feisty but we have taken up a habit of naming all of them as we go. Edgar, Pedro and Paul walked us home last night, they were like little guardians for us. I've been trying not to become too attached to them but it's hard. 

Today was a much more low key day since nothing was scheduled for us to do. We had a gathering at Alena's apartment though which was sort of a meet n' greet once again, giving us more opportunity to talk to everyone in our program. Name games were played and we all had to bring representations of ourselves which was a good idea. 

This is such a long post but that just shows that the past few days have been jam packed full of so much! 

**Can't figure our the format on this picture thing to save my they are all out of order but I will figure it out and put more up sooooon!


efrosini said...

Sounds truly amazing love!!
The roommates and i laughed out loud at the taxi driver story!! only you my love!!
Ate some delish gyros and loukoumades (the greek honey donuts which you must eat while you're there) at the Greek festival tonight and thought of you wandering through the streets of Greece!!
Miss you like crazy!!

Abby said...

amazing stories!! you better keep the posts this long because it sooooooo nice to actually hear what you are doing!!!! love you

autumn said...

oh perfection, you just pulled me out of lamedom office life for 5 minutes. Miss you like mad, so excited to keep hearing all your incredible stories!!