eíste mia maïmoú! (part one!)

(note, the title means: “You are a monkey” in Greek…I’ll explain later…)

Inspired by the wonderful Charlotte over at the Great Fitness Experiment, I’ve been thinking about my greatest summers. In her post, she talked about living in “the crappiest apartment ever” while working as a Chinese restaurant waitress, but spending days and nights rock climbing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It was a summer full of aches, pains and joys. Each moment added to the makeup of one great summer.

 After reading her post, I can already tell you I haven’t had a summer quite like THAT, but I have experienced some epic moments myself.

Take the summer I went to Greece.

It was 2004, and I had only begun to scratch the itch that was travel. So far in my life, I had only travelled domestically for soccer, or down to Juarez, Mexico to build homes with Amor Ministries. Now, let me tell you something…Juarez is NOT Cozumel, or Puerto Vallarta. Or Cancun. Not in the slightest bit. Travelling down there was enough to make me want to never leave home AGAIN, but the bug still weazled its way beneath the layers of dust and grime and dog fur that coated me each trip I took, and bit me bad. There was no going back.

Like I mentioned, I had only travelled mostly for soccer or for a church ministry. Granted, I had been on numerous vacations with family, but most of my “more exotic” trips had been more work centered and not so much relaxation focused. All that in mind, I knew I wanted to expand my horizons, to broaden my scope of the world. I wanted to get out of the Americas and really experience life globally. So when Sport Quest came to my former church back home in Flower Mound, offering up summers overseas running sports camps, I jumped at the chance. Here was a trip where I not only got to fulfill my dream of global travel, but I got to fulfill that dream by doing something I already loved, and was GOOD at…playing soccer. Done and done. Not even the hefty dollar signs thrown in my face could faze me. I was going, and no amount of money was going to deter me.

Summer came, and I went. Starting off with a week-long orientation in one of the weirdest areas of Oklahoma (seriously, we saw dead birds hanging from trees at one point in the journey there….old fashioned road signs? I think not…), we then made our way to Athens via a 15 hour flight across the Atlantic. It was the longest flight I had taken yet, and let me tell you, I was NOT prepared!

You see, I love to fly. I haven’t always been GOOD at flying (sorry about the puke in your lap Mom!) but I’ve never been scared of it. Yes, we are stuck in a metal tube hurling through the air…blah blah blah….it doesn’t daunt me. As much as I love to fly, though, I hate to sleep on planes. I can never get comfortable long enough to REM it. And this was going to be a long day. Enter: sleeping pills. I thought I’d kill two birds (or take one from Oklahoma…bah bum CHING!) and pop a few dramamine….BIG mistake….What I didn’t realize after I had taken THREE dramamine (extra strength, mind you!) was that we had a layover in Frankfurt before our flight to Athens. I was so doped up from the drugs that I literally could not walk. Much to my pride’s dismay, two of my newly-friended male companions had to practically fireman carry me off of the first plane, and the proceeded to drag me through the Frankfurt terminal to the second gate. Seriously…one guy carried my bags while the other practically hoisted me over his shoulder. I’m not sure about you, but if I saw two men dragging a drooling, eyes-half-opened girl around, I’d call the cops. Thankfully, no one did, and I made it safely to the next plane, where I was placed in a seat, strapped in to my seat belt, and tucked under a blanket so that I would stop drooling on my clothes. Talk about a hot mess….

Arriving in Greece was like seeing a guy with a food cart do the dougie in the middle of the street: odd, yet mesmerizing…all the while making you feel the slightest bit hungry. The sights and smells were overwhelming. I had travelled many times to some of the biggest cities in the US, but for some reason, Athens felt so much larger. I couldn’t read any of the signs, I couldn’t understand any of the language, and those two HUGE impediments made me feel miniscule in my surroundings. All I wanted at that moment was to feel some semblance of normalcy…I would get that for about a week. We were set to attend yet another orientation week at a resort island off the coast of Greece (I know, rough life, eh?). At the orientation, we learned all about the organization, the types of camps we would be running, and how to run them successfully. We slept in villas at night, dined al fresco for each meal, and even had time to sun at the MASSIVE outdoor pool during the afternoon. It was everything I had imagined Greece to be…clean, white, pristine. I was in love! One of my favorite moments from that week was being woken up to the sound of fireworks. A group of us ran down to the beach only to be hit with the sight of not one, but TWO weddings happening by the water that night. The fireworks were shooting off to celebrate one couples’ first kiss. Prompt shouts of “Ooopa!” were had, and dancing ensued. We partied with the couples till the wee hours, begrudgingly tearing ourselves away at midnight due to curfew. That week, I almost forgot why I had come. It only felt like a vacation. But Saturday always comes. And after seven days we were sent off to the mainland. It was time to step out of normalcy! The soccer, volleyball and basketball teams were sent to Athens, while other sports split all over the country. Our teams were split up into a guys and girls apartment. The guys were set up closer to the location of our camps, while we girls were placed about a 45 min bus ride away. When we arrived at our apartment, which was situated above a church, we immediately began scoping out our new digs. Tables? Check. Chairs? Check. Toilet? Check. Shower? Beds? Air conditioning? Washer/dryer? (Crickets chirp loudly…pins drop)….yeahhhh, the extent of our amenities was about as long as the hairs on my head. However, we weren’t there to be comfortable, and I knew that I was going to be experiencing some pretty amazing opportunities, so the mixing bowl-sized bucket in the bathroom as a shower was going to be JUST FINE. 🙂

The adventure was only just beginning!

To be continued…

hearts and travel bug hugs,




  1. Oooh I loved reading this! It sounds like an epic summer indeed! I totally know what you mean by ” I had travelled many times to some of the biggest cities in the US, but for some reason, Athens felt so much larger.” I felt exactly the same way when we landed in Spain. Totally overwhelming but in a really amazing way. I love that you got to do this!!

    • thanks! yeah, being in a city where you can’t read, write, speak the language…wow, it really changes things!! Where did you go in Spain? I’ve been to Madrid, and am going to Barcelona this summer…can’t wait!!


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