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Greece Archives - Away She Goes
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If I Wrote for Thought Catalogue, this is what it would look like

Paris is like that first love that will always hold your heart. You two can fall easily back into each other’s arms, where everything comes quickly, lasts long, and feels right. Canada is like that guy from your hometown that you paw around every once in a while just to feel alive, or to remember how it felt when you were sixteen and everything you did with him was new and dangerous. You may go back every once in a while, but honestly sometimes you get more out of not even bothering. Egypt is like your first time: different for everyone. But no matter how you found it, it will always have a grip on you. It will always make your pulse quicken and give your stomach a jolt like an electric shock. You may wander back when you’re not sure what else to do, and while it may welcome you back, it could just as easily chew you up and spit you out. You will always wonder what if, and Egypt will always be there to remind you and tempt you. Benin is like a bad fling: been there, done that, no regrets and no returning. Unless it was for a really good reason… Greece was like finally getting with the most popular guy in school and not really getting it. What’s all the fuss about? I was too tired and busy from the pursuit to even enjoy it. And anyway, shouldn’t he come to me?  Maybe someday it will be time for a reunion… Cuba is that guy your mother wanted you about. Some call it abuse;...

What We Won’t Do Abroad

The last thing to be touched by a foreign hand is the hair.” Arian, our ACT liaison mentioned this during one of our pre-departure orientation sessions.  While I don’t think this just applies to foreign countries, as many college students prefer to cut their hair back home over break, she certainly has a point.  I know of very few people who have had their hair done while abroad for a semester or less.  A definite exception is the DR spring break and dialogue crews, which included a bunch of people who had their hair done, but not cut. Nevertheless, few people are willing to get their hair cut abroad.  For some reason, the travelers I know are more likely to get a tattoo or piercing abroad than a hair cut.  Does that seem strange to anyone else?  Of course, a few months after Arian said this, Kathy and I died each other’s hair in the Hotel Metropolitan bathrooms, and a few students had their hair cut.  But it was fewer than 15 of us out of 151, and I feel like an at home dye job is the same no matter where you are in the world, so I don’t really count. Others have rules about dating abroad.  Some won’t enter into a serious relationship, knowing it will likely fail when they return home, while others won’t even casually date.  Some people won’t date other people on their trips, but locals are fine; most of the time I find that the reverse is the case. While in third world countries, many have rules about internet usage, and television tends...
Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

If I think of it as just another in a chain of entertaining Family Dinners with NUin, it was a great night.  If I think of it as Thanksgiving, it makes me a bit sad. For the first time, our students realized that the people back home may be happier than they are.  It’s also possible that this was the first time they were right.  Many students’ families were able to come, but not all.  I think this made it that much harder on those who had no visitors.  Unlike a regular day, some students did have people to make them less homesick. As for me, I couldn’t believe there was a Thanksgiving bigger than my dad’s side, which clocked in at 89 people this year (I would have been number 90!)  But alas, around 200 people filled the hall on ACT’s high school campus.  Of course, since it’s not a holiday in Greece, this came after a full day of work and school for Team Greece, which certainly added to the mood.  Also, I know it sounds silly, but not being able to relax and enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with my Thanksgiving dinner was a pain.  I understand why there are rules, but it was our job to spend all day and evening Wednesday and Thursday with our students, thereby disallowing us from a time to fully relax and enjoy the holiday. Perhaps my favorite part was the contributions of our students.  Armaan and Vitaly played piano while we ate, Ben sang “Home” and made half the room cry.  There was going to be a prayer at...
Replacement Therapy

Replacement Therapy

When our Athens trip was cancelled (at the last minute, without warning or consultation), we were all disappointed.  Some students immediately booked flights to Rome for the weekend, while others had to stop drinking and start doing homework. On Saturday we went to a boutique downtown, but it wasn’t really our speed.  So after a massive, delicious lunch, Em, Rox and I shopped in the open-air markets.  I bought a few scarves, and got to wander through a meat and fish market.  While definitely smelly, it was cool to see such a pedestrian part of Greek life that is so different from my own back home. On Sunday we went scuba diving. I’ve never been before and absolutely loved it.  I had a brief moment of thinking I really needed to breathe, but then I remembered I was wearing several pounds of oxygen on my back.  The next day my jaw was killing me from clenching the mouthpiece, but I can’t wait to go again someday. Sunday evening I topped off my day with a soccer game between PAOK and Aris, the two teams of Thessaloniki.  I had been warned that games can get violent, and that this particular one would be intense because of their rivalry.  But it was also the last game in Thess while I’m here, so I’m glad I was pushed to go in spite of my fatigue.  I went with Vinny, one of our students, although there were others there as well.  Everyone was in Aris black and yellow, and we were careful not to wear any PAOK paranalia. We scalped some tickets and...
The Climb

The Climb

Before we ever put on hiking boots, we had heard the worst.  “If your students have asthma, or weight problems, or smoke, or aren’t fit, or complain, or have ever had injuries, they should just stay home.”  Uh, what?  “If you even have a cold, stay home.”  In the pre-trip meeting, students were asked to raise their hands in front of the group if they have any health problems, something that would never be asked of them in America.  Even after all this scaring, we were then told that children make the climb in flip-flops. My day started out pretty rough and rushed, since there was an incident the night before and I found out just before leaving that I needed to write it up and turn in an incident report.  That meant no time to buy tall socks, which meant I didn’t wear my hiking boots.  Despite that, my flat feet did alright, and didn’t ache until Day 2.  I didn’t even have sore joints on the hike down.  I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, either, and we couldn’t eat lunch until we arrived at the lodge, some time around 5pm. The “fast time” for Day 1 (the Easy, Everbody-Can-Do-This Day) was 4 hours.  We didn’t even climb the first third of Day 1 before I was wheezing and couldn’t catch my breath.  I felt like my throat was closing, but mostly I felt like an idiot.  I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the first lodge, that I would slow the entire group down, and that I would have to somehow get...
Mt. Olympus

Mt. Olympus

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