Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Day in Athens

Lauren Miller
Blog 4-9-2013
A Day in Athens
            After waking up and seeing that the sun was brightly shining through my window, I was finally able to wear a sundress to class! It's the little things that really make life all that much sweeter. Class was held at 10AM at Hellenic American University. The girls and I all left our apartment a few minutes earlier than normal so that we had time to stop at the fruit market and grab something quick for breakfast. I still cannot get over how delicious the fruit is in Athens; Rich also just told us that strawberries and tomatoes just recently came into season and that they would be extra fresh! Either way, I am nervous to go back to America because I know that the fruits and vegetables will disappoint me now that I've tasted these wonderful versions. When we arrived at the classroom building, Rich and Lily turned the opposite corner at the same time as us. We climbed the five flights of very steep stairs and it took me a minute to catch my breath once we finally reached the top. It amazes me as to how I can run multiple miles everyday yet still have trouble breathing while trying to climb a flight of stairs. The mystery might never be solved.
            Katie and I have already taken the Rhetoric and Society course in Rindge, so we only had to attend class for 20th Century. In class, we discussed the first part of a novel that we are reading about Kefalonia, the island we are visiting this coming weekend. The novel is called Corelli’s Mandolin: A Novel. The plot consists of an Italian soldier that falls in love with a Greek woman during the time of the massacre of Italian troops by the Germans. We then took an extra credit quiz over words throughout the book that we were unfamiliar with. After class, Katie and I walked back to the apartment making a quick pit stop on the way at the grocery store. I bought chocolate bars to bring home to my family for souvenirs because they are craving more of the ones that I sent them in the mail!
            Once we were back in the apartment, I opened the windows to allow the fresh air to flow throughout the house, which felt so refreshing and relaxing. I began to pack for the weekend trip, checking an item off my list every time I would put it in my suitcase. Katie had looked up the weather forecast for the trip and it was to be in the 70's with sunshine! I packed a mixture for all types of weather just in case of a freak occurrence. I was also relieved when I could pack my small, rolling suitcase without having to worry about size or weight; no living out of a backpack for multiple days!
            When I finished packing and had a quick lunch, I went out to enjoy the weather a little bit more by taking a run. I love running through the streets of Athens because the people-watching scenery is fantastic! Although people always stare at me like I am crazy and like they have never witnessed someone running before, I always just give a small smile and wave. There was a light breeze so it made the heat from the sun feel pleasant. I still find it so humorous when I pass two men riding on a scooter together; in America, I feel as if that would not be acceptable in the least bit! I ran through the running park that is close to our apartment. I love running through this park because there are lots of other people running, walking, and relaxing on the park benches. There is also a children’s playground that is always crowded with small, screaming children chasing after each other. I also see all types of dogs and they appear to be so happy without a worry in the world. What it must feel like to be a dog! Today in the park, there was a large class sitting on the steps of a monument. I did a double take when I passed them all because it was strange to see so many people sitting in one spot and I noticed they were each drawing in their sketchbooks. When I passed the closest one to the pathway, I looked at her book and saw that she was drawing the trees, coloring them in bright colors other than the mainstream color of green.
            When I arrived back at the apartment, Carolyn, Katie, and I went to a small café down the road from our apartment to sit and have an afternoon coffee. The lady at the table next to us had her dog sitting at the table, drinking out of her water glass. We found it very odd because that would totally be considered unacceptable in America, especially allowing the dog to put his paws all over the table. The small culture differences that I witness are almost always the most memorable. On our way home, we stopped at a salon and made an appointment to get our nails done before we left for Santorini the following week. When we arrived back at the apartment again, our other roommates had arrived home from class and shopping and we all sat in the dining room discussing what we were packing for the weekend and how excited we were to finally be able to go to a beach. Chryssie, Hayley, and Ashley showed us the souvenirs they had purchased while shopping.  Finally, Katie and Carolyn started to make dinner; tacos were on the agenda for tonight. When dinner was served, we all sat and made plans for the night.
            While traveling on spring break in Barcelona, I had become good friends with some of the people that were staying in our hostel. I had been continually talking to them through Facebook and they had just told me that they were going to be in Athens for the week! I made plans for all of us to meet up with them at 8PM at a bar near our University. After making sure everyone was packed and ready to go for our early morning the next day, we headed down there. It took my friends a little while to find the bar we were at but eventually they found us. We all socialized for a little while and then us girls had to leave and head home for the night because we had such an early morning coming up. It was definitely nice to finally see some familiar faces even if I had only known them for a few days. Our days in Athens are coming to an end quickly and the bittersweet feeling of it all is finally starting to hit me.

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