This city is full of amazing people, but there are a handful of individuals that stick out in my mind, connected to the memories that made my first experience here so great. Being here with Sarah this past week we've had such a great time soaking in all the nostalgia from four years ago, and having our memories triggered every time we turn a familiar corner.
We had the chance to spend some time with our favorite residents of this great city. Katja, who works at the Athens Centre school, took an evening to have dinner with us, at a taverna in Psiri. Dining out is always a great experience when you do it like the Greeks, but having some one that knows the best items to order makes it even that much better. Hours went by as we shared a delicious meal and gossiped about the happenings from our study abroad trip, and exchanged stories about our lives since.
Michael, our monuments professor and the greatest archeologist you will ever know, also spent a day with us in the city catching up. We had arranged to meet him for lunch, which we expected to last a few hours in typical Greek fashion, and the rest of the day was left unplanned. From the moment we started chatting away, Sarah and I were both entranced once again by his amazing ability to tell stories and teach us about any topic. We drilled him on all the monument trivia that we had forgotten, just to hear him drop knowledge on us once again. His charisma and dry humor had been missed so much. Our meal was followed by a few hours spent sipping on some delicious raki and whiskey, and followed up later with pagato (ice cream) and frapes (coffee) to conclude our eight hour day with this wonderful man. As we walked him to the bus stop he couldn't help himself from leading us past a few archeological sites along the way, determined to leave us with as much information as he could in one day. He is a true educator at heart.
From our visit to the Centre we were able to catch up with Rosemary, the school director, and hear about how things have been going for her and the Centre. The atmosphere there is still as welcoming and comforting as it ever was. Kia Maria, who is truly an angel, was there and remembered us fondly, even from so many years ago. The language barrier between Kia Maria and I still remains as strong as ever, but we do our best to communicate with gestures and constant smiles. There is no doubt that she is still the most kind person I've ever come across and she continues to take care of everyone around her.
Late nights at our favorite bar, Spirit, were revisited as well. We set up camp at the bar to chat the night away with Socrates, the bartender and owner that provides the best place in Monostiraki to have a guaranteed good night. Socrates took exceptionally good care of us, as he began to remember us as his loyal customers from the last time we were there. He played us music from all over the world as new friends were strolling in to join the fun, and we danced to every type of music until the early morning.