Welcome to my so far life of roaming Athens for hours, writing down all my random babbling and shooting photos of unsuspecting subjects as best I can. I’ve ventured on the metro (which is like a five minute bus ride from my apartment) almost everyday this week in search of yummy lunch, a tour of the city, nights out on the town and a peaceful beach day in the super duper salty Mediterranean (who knew??).
At first the Metro was ‘alright lets kinda just guess that that Greek word was something tangible and follow the voice of the intercom to see where we end up.’ For being English speaking newbies trying to find a location our friends said to meet at… we did pretty darn well. The tour of Athens in the school bus was the pretty touristy next excursion out of Aghia Paraskevi and man was that interesting to go see the old part of the city and small cobblestone streets! It was similar to a picturesque Parisian street cafe.
Ok let’s focus on the beach now. First, consider where I’m from (15 minutes from Pacific Coast Highway in southern California where the surfs totally gnarly brah!). Now reflecting on that… the coast of the Mediterranean is more my kind of beach! No waves to annihilate your hopes and dreams, no sand getting stuck in your bottoms and really given you a comfy drive home, and lastly… no crazy seaweed that decides to make you a model for its new dress line. As I swam out to the buoys, I could see my feet and the floor of the ocean at every moment. Talk about confidence in the water my ocean squeamish friends.
The structure of Athens is reminding me quite a bit of Seattle actually. You arrive thinking its all contained in one central area that is the epitome of the city. In reality its spread out quite vastly into smaller little pockets of one lifestyle. For example, I live up on capitol hill but I guarantee those are a different lifestyle set than Queen Anne or Downtown. Just like now, I live in Aghia Paraskevi that highly contrasts from the vibe down in Gazi or Plaka. I’m interested to find each little pocket little by little.
P.S. title coined from young scholar Michael McDonnell himself (as he made very clear)
Finally getting the ball rolling, my name is Kathryn Bishop (Kat) and I am a sophomore International Studies and Photography major this year. As of now I am a student at the American College of Greece exchange program. Long story short I’m living in Athens this quarter and diving into the Greek culture headfirst!
I’ve officially completed my first week of hectic study abroadness (there will be a lot of ‘wordsmithing’ involved in excursions) and all that is entailed with international travel. I must say the airport is a solid give and take through the entire process. Yes, you get to fly to an incredible place and have an adventure all your own but on the other hand… lets just throw you in a line of people who have no idea what’s going on but wouldn’t dare ask the person right in front of them in the fear that the Canadian family isn’t as well tempered as we think… Past that, after dad snuck a few goodbye photos of me turning into the security line, I headed off.
One Chaco in front of the other, naturally.
Arriving is one thing but feeling like I’m here to stay is still sinking in. ‘Welcome to Europe and now you must fend for yourself’ is the initial thought I had. Luckily, as soon as I walked into the Aghia Paraskevi neighborhood I knew I was in a place that would break in like a new pair of shoes… the more I walk around and explore the less initial blisters and hesitation I’ll feel.
The first few days of moving in and orienting myself to the neighborhood and campus were a buzz of overwhelming hours met with impromptu naps that lasted two hours longer than intended… but as soon as I wake up I’ve been greeted with friendly faces and many Greek conversations I can’t decipher. I know it’ll take some time to get used to the operations and new environment, especially with my lovely Seattle friends fleeing back to the city we all hold so dear. No matter how much I love Seattle and the joy it brings me, I know it’s my time to be entirely here and to fulfill my travel bug that inevitably sneaks up on me! As of now the tingles of wanting to travel to every surrounding country and list of endless Greek traditions to take part of are growing. Most importantly, as my grandfather told me on my way to Seattle and now here in Athens, “focus on those three things, grades, relationships, and (as I’m sure will be impossible surrounded by these Grecian feasts) weight.” Thanks for all who gave me words of wisdom. Now I just need to roll with the punches and eat lots of souvlaki!
Cheers and yiasou!