Bang, bang, bang was the piercing sound I woke up to this morning as the wind whipped the open window back and forth against its window frame. The wild winds are nothing new to me being from New England but nothing I expected to experience here. Every day we have woken up to light shining through our bedroom windows, opening our doors to go out on the balcony to find the sun shining bright. Today was completely opposite of this. Dark skies, a breeze that blew my hair wildly and sent goosebumps up and down my body. This didn't stop Lauren and I from our morning workout. Standing on the sidewalk we watched as cars zipped by and motorcycles weaved on and off sidewalks to pass other vehicles while waiting for a chance to cross the road to start our run up what feels like a mountain. As we waited we heard someone speaking Greek right behind us and a few seconds later heard " can I ask, aren't you ladies cold?" we laughed and said no to us this is warm and began engaging in a conversation with a local Greek man who popped his head out of the butcher shop when he saw two girls dressed for what he believed to be spring or summer weather. He was fascinated to hear that we are hearing studying Greek history at the Hellenic American University for the next three months. After chatting with this man for a few minutes we began our workout up and down this hill that when running you feel like you’re trying to reach the top of Mount Everest and each step you take of the one hundred and twenty stairs you just can't wait to reach the top. Cars fly by as we jump over doorsteps connected to the cobblestone sidewalks filled with dog poop. Motorcyclists seem to have no regard for the sidewalk being for walking and have no problem getting so close to you on the side walk that you feel the heat from their motors. Between the exhaust from cars, running up hill and the smell of dog poop my lungs get a burning sensation while running. Growing up on cape cod this air is taking some getting used to for me.
Katie and I were responsible for preparing dinner for everyone tonight. Following our workout, I woke Katie and headed to the grocery store. These two story buildings seem to overwhelm my senses. There is the small of the olives that is so strong I feel like I can taste the vinegar some of them sit in. Everything is in Greek so we quickly discovered that cooking was going to be very complicated when it came time to finding little ingredients so we decided to make meatball subs. We found a bag that read meatballs in the frozen food section and a can of barilla marinara sauce. This seemed easy now because we were no longer having to what felt like pull people's teeth to try and ask how we find certain items like turkey gravy for a Sheppard’s pie. We had our sauce and meatballs now we just needed rolls and the ingredients for a salad which we could identify just by looking at them so there was no need to try and get the store employees to understand what we were asking for.
On our way home from the grocery, we passed a bakery that made my mouth water but I knew I better keep walking and get home to get ready for class so that is what I did. On our way to class I could smell the mouthwatering smell of a bakery again. About a block from where I could smell all the fresh pastries and breads we came up on a bakery. It was driving me crazy that I didn't have time to stop in either bakery this morning.
Like yesterday, we did not meet in a classroom for Athens through the ages. Instead we met Yoanna at the Museum of Cycladic Art. This museum depicted the daily life of early Athenians from what a women’s role in society was to how men worked out. I could never imagine having grown up a woman in early Athens because women were expected to always be in the home caring for their husband and children and were rarely seen outside. Many of us giggled when we saw pictures of men naked working out but we learned this is how the men trained for battle. Athenian women were married around the age of 14 and had no idea who they were going to marry until the day they became a part of the mans family. I am almost twenty one years old and sit here thinking about how if I grew up during classical period of Greece I would be married and taking care of my husband for almost seven years now. I sit here thinking about how much growing up I still have to do and cannot image being responsible for another person, my husband and possibly children, at age fourteen.
On our way to the museum this morning we passed a T.G.I Friday’s restaurant and all of us immediately jumped all over the idea of going there for lunch. It is a place we are all familiar with because it is a chain restaurant from back home. After wrapping up class at the museum Yoanna was able to remind us that we are here for such a short period of time and to experience the unfamiliar because that is why we are here. To learn about the Greek culture not eat the food we can eat any day at home. This started us thinking and we found ourselves walking down the street finding multiple restaurants with foods we have never had. Most places had English menu's we were able to look at. I found myself seated outside of a restaurant called meatmeatmeat eating chicken suflaki with Lauren and Katie. We sat there in silence as we ate trying to listen to all the conversations taking place around us not knowing anything they were saying. Just watching the people interact was an experience in itself. We stepped outside our comfort zone and found ourselves mesmerized by the unfamiliar surrounding us.
Heading to class Lauren made a comment about this delicious smell coming from down the road. Since we had some time to kill we decided to find the bakery the smell was coming from and get ourselves a treat. We walked into a giant chocolate bakery where I felt like I was five years old again being let loose in a giant penny candy store. There was case after case of freshly made chocolate treats. We kept control of ourselves and only left with two pieces of chocolate each.
In Greek language the room was dark the sky was gray and everyone was lethargic until we heard a loud rumble sounding like a roof caving in followed by a bright flash across the sky. It began to down pour. As we sat in class learning how to say what is your name and my name is all I could think about was our walk home. I did leave knowing how to ask someone what their name is and how to respond if someone is to ask me what my name is in Greek. Once we stepped out the door after class our feet became soaked. It was down pouring. Water rushed down the steep roads an poured off rooftops. As we ran across streets at times the water was up to my ankles. We made it home in about 7 minutes which is about half the time it usually takes us to get to and from school. Lauren and I's workouts came in handy during this storm. I found it ironic that we are experiencing such bad weather and back at Franklin Pierce they are expecting two feet of snow. I guess we brought the bad weather with us because our first day here during our orientation at Hellenic American University one lady told us it will be rare to see rain and sure enough four days later we have a down pour that floods the streets.We had a really quiet night tonight because we have our Greek language course at 9 am and everyone has been very tired because we haven’t adjusted well to the time change. Not to mention the homework and reading assignments we have received. We took a walk to the store after dinner bought some ice-cream and sat in doing homework for the rest of the night