The walk to the University was quiet. As I walked to give my first Greek dialogue my speech ran through my head on repeat. Everyone was thinking about what they had to say in front of the class and not communicating with one another.
I sat and pretended to listen to my classmates recite their dialogues to the class. All I could think about was what I had to say. It was my turn. I stood up and looked out to see my classmates that had already presented staring at me. The other classmates heads were down studying their dialogues. I began to speak allowing the words to pour out of my mouth. Before I knew it I was done and had successfully passed my first dialogue. The feeling of relief ran through my body as I walked back toward my seat with a smile on my face. As I watched the rest of presentations I couldn’t help but feel accomplished. I know that everyone in the class was feeling the same way. The next two hours and fifty minutes of the class was brain wrecking. I thought about my dialogue and couldn’t even think of what needed to be said. My memory was too foggy with new information to think about the old.
As I rushed out of class and up the stairs to make it to the Pita Cutting ceremony on time I walked into the auditorium to only see everyone’s eyes turn to me as I entered the room. The representative for the Hellenic American University was mid speech. He paused as the group of us clustered into the corner of the room. I got the feeling that everyone in the room was judging us. I stood there thinking about how our conversations were going to start. I started to feel butterflies in my stomach as I glanced around the room at all the unfamiliar faces.
After the speeches were done we watched as the President of the University performed the Pita Cutting. Everyone crowed close around the Pita. The pita was a thick orange flavored cake with heavy chocolate frosting. Greek families will gather for the cutting of the Vassilopita around New Years. The Pita will be baked with a coin that is a symbol of luck. The person who gets the piece of pita that has the coin inside is supposed to have good luck for the year.
The President spoke softly in Greek under his breath. A staff member translated that he said the first piece goes to the home being the university and the second piece goes to the poor. I felt a sense of joy inside because they dedicated a piece to the poor in hope for good luck to them over the next year. I feel many Greek people do not see the poor as more then beggars on the streets, so for the President to cut a piece of pita for them showed that he was thoughtful to all of his community. After the cutting of those two pieces cake was quickly being distributed. The cake was tangy and sweet. After about the tenth piece handed out a scratchy yelp came from the back corner. A girl shouted out with happiness because she had the coin in her piece. Everyone was very excited for her. I was jealous because I wanted the coin as I’m sure everyone in the room did. I ate my cake while chatting with other students from the University. We exchanged names, majors, common interests and numbers by the end of the Pita Cutting. Hopefully the spark between us will carry into great friendships.