It’s hard to believe that it’s been only two weeks since I last blogged here. The time is passing so quickly, but I’d say that’s a good sign! I have quite a few updates on what I’ve been up to lately (as I’m sure you’re all dying to know). So we’ll start with the entire purpose of this immersive experience — my classes.
I have class Monday through Thursday here, starting with my Modern Greek language class from 11:00-13:00 Mondays and Wednesdays. I went into this class thinking that it wouldn’t be incredibly difficult given that I also speak Spanish and have never really had issues in language, but immediately got smacked in the face with reality. Greek is a very difficult language. Not something you simply pick up on given the new alphabet, cultural norms that qualify how to speak and when, and conjugations. The people who live here are very forgiving when I try and fail in casual conversation though, and seem to appreciate the effort.
Next, from 3:30-5:10 Mondays and Wednesdays I have my political science/history class, Contemporary views on Greek Politics and Society. That’s a mouthful. And the length of the title just begins to explain the complexity of Greek history. I’ve only had classes for 3 weeks thus far and the sheer quantity of changes the country and culture has gone through are baffling. The professor, Dr. Gandolfo, gives an incredible account of this and is involved in a lot of ways with the political situation here first hand.
My Greek Myth and Religion class meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-5:10, and so far it’s been phenomenal. Dr. Stewart not only knows so much about the myths of old, but has excavated a lot of the religious sites, so her stories of finding different relics and what those show are pretty eye-opening and interesting in general.
Last I have my philosophy class, “The Good Life,” Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:20-7:00. I usually don’t do well with night classes and even as a philosophy major had some doubts about how engaged I could force myself to be once my internal clock is telling me it’s way past time to stop thinking for the day, but I absolutely love this class. Dr. Mylonaki teaches in a style different than any philosophy professor I’ve had back home and constantly keeps us guessing.
As for my extracurricular activities, I’ve done quite a lot lately. I’m taking a marble sculpting workshop on Tuesday nights that’s been one of the best choices I’ve made here so far. I love art, but have never tried anything of the sculpting variety (besides clay) so it’s incredibly difficult, but also enjoyable. The past couple of weekends my friends and I have ventured around Greece where we first went to the Panathenaic stadium, which is a stone’s throw away from my apartment and was actually built in the 1800’s, then to the Acropolis. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. We were able to see the open air stadium and the temple of Athena.
The only downside to this trip is that since the economy here is still at such a standstill, pickpocketing and berating tourists for money in exchange for small toys or trinkets is popular here. A little girl forced a withering rose on me then demanded 3 euro for it, which I gave. All in the experience, as they say. My friends enjoyed laughing at my vulnerability though.
The next weekend we went to Aegina, a small island only an hour away by ferry. The island was beautiful. The water was completely clear (as you can kind of see in the pictures) and there was a perfect view of the mountains in the background of the next island. We went up a mountain to visit the temple of Aegina and looked down on the entire island and the ocean surrounding it. There were even small caves at the top (which were blocked off by wire fences for safety). It was an impeccable experience, and to be sure, an amazing weekend.