eíste mia maïmoú! (finale)

Missed all the others? Here is part one, part two, part three, and part four!

Greece was a whirlwind, if not for the sights and sounds, but for the emotional rollercoaster it took me on. It was my first time overseas, my first extensive length trip away from my family, my first time being in a country where I didn’t know the language ONE BIT. Combine all of those firsts, and the outcome is frighteningly amazing. How is that possible?

It’s possible because I was placed in an unknown situation, yet I had the ability to lean on friends to get me through it. I’m not against travelling solo, some people prefer it, but there is something to be said about sharing in the moment with another person (or two). Staring up at the Parthenon made me weak in the knees. It was good to have a friend there to literally lean on when I became overwhelmed. Walking the streets of Athens searching for a bus was difficult, yet somehow made simpler with multiple sets of eyes keeping watch for the next transit. And at the end of the day, when it was time to relax and settle into the comforts of a hard days work….well, it was only made sweeter by the company around the dinner table. I feel like we were meant to share life, to live it with others, and since travelling is part of my life, it’s only natural that I let people in on that aspect as well.

That summer contributed to my love of Mediterranean food. Getting a taste of the fresh, wholesome ingredients that make up the diet of the Greeks spurred on my love for their culture. I come from a family where food is a centerpiece to relationships. Love, loss, pain, happiness….it’s all shared around the kitchen table. The Greeks feel the same, and spending evenings laughing and crying around tables full of mousaka, souflaki, baklava, and ripe, pitted olives…let’s just say our hearts AND our stomachs were always full!

My trip to Greece was also pivotal in that it inspired my love for Europe and travelling overseas. Like I said in part one, I had only travelled domestically,  and across the border to Mexico before this trip. Yes, I know Mexico is another country, but when you live in Texas, and you’re just driving 30 minutes across the border, it doesn’t seem like travel (Maybe northerners feel the same way about Canada?). I saw how different our world is when I viewed the ancient ruins. I saw that language doesn’t have to be a barrier when I held out a soccer ball to one of the many George’s that we met at our camps. I was reminded why food is an integral part of family and community, and that it DOESN’T have to be scary or terrible. Instead, it can be nourishing and inviting.

I learned quite a few safe travel tips as well, like always wearing zippered or closed bags instead of open totes. Always let someone know where you’ll be and when, in case of emergency. Don’t walk somewhere unfamiliar at night, lest you be chased home by a group of strange men (and yes, this actually happened….I’ve never run so fast in my life!). Another great tip? Carry a little bit of cash with you. Many establishments do not take cards, and finding an ATM that won’t charge an enormous withdrawal fee is like finding a restaurant that serves coca cola with ice…ain’t gonna happen. 🙂 

I also learned that if you say “hello” to a stranger in Greek, they will automatically think you are fluent and begin to converse rapidly in their native tongue. The best way to get out of the conversation? Start coughing repeatedly and just motion to your throat and shake your head as if to say, “I’m so sorry…I’ve just caught strep!” Then slowly back away, continuing with the head shaking, until you are a safe distance away. You can gauge the distance by whether or not the insulted Greek can still throw a ripe tomato at you. 🙂

Although it took five segments to divulge this tale, I could have taken at least five more. There were so many wonderful details that made up this trip that I would need an entire afternoon to tell you. preferably sitting with a hot cup of Greek coffee at an outdoor cafe overlooking a crystal clear body of water….anyone up for a quick road trip?

Needless to say, sharing my adventures is part of the reason I love to travel, and I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse into my big fat Greek life! OOPA!

hearts and baklava-induced coma hugs,

B.

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Comments

  1. Wow that’s quite an adventure for a first time overseas!! But it’s true the friendships you make while travelling are so different than any others. You learn so much about each other and experience some unusual stuff that brings you close together.

    • oh I know! Especially when living in such close quarters! I felt that way when I lived in Italy too during college…I’m pretty sure my roommates and I bonded the first day after getting lost on the way to orientation!

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