And so it begins…

29 Aug

“Blah blee bloo blah blah blo keh koo gee jeeh blah blah blah,” is exactly what I’m hearing from all sides of me as I stand as one of many cattle waiting to shove my passport under some unseen glass window at the front of the hall in the Athens airport.  In Greece, they apparently haven’t heard of the wonderful invention in America that is the weaving roped line, and thus getting through customs more closely resembles barbaric animals in the jungle, all trying to devour that one piece of meat that none can even see to begin with.  You just have faith that it’s there.  Except instead of fending off competitors with sharpened teeth and claws, people (being oh-so-much-more civilized) use carry-on luggage and baby strollers to their advantage.  Amidst the yelling and arguing and pushing and shoving, a hot and sweaty me finally made it to baggage claim and out the door to see a sign reading HAEF directly in front of me.  I was nervous I’d be scanning a room filled with Greek letters, feeling lost like a little made-up freshman on the first day of sorority rush praying for some foreign-alphebeted house to take her in, but my driver snatched me and my luggage up immediately (the luggage being no small feat–driver, wherever you are, you are greatly appreciated) and we were on our way to Psychico, home to the Hellenic American Educational Foundation and the school where I am to be teaching for the upcoming year.

There was another fellow (Stephanie) who was also in my car to the campus, which I was grateful for.  It was nice to chat to someone going through the same thing I was going through, and to meet one of my roommates before I got to the campus and was thrown into it all.  When we arrived at the campus, located in a beautiful suburb of Athens, and were let through the gate, our coordinator met us, showed us around our house, and then gave us a quick tour of the school.  There’s a lot of construction going on, but hopefully it will be mostly done (or at least out of the way) once school starts.  From here we settled in, met two other fellows who had already arrived (Chris and Chris), picked rooms, and unpacked.  After unpacking my life for the next year, I tried my best to stay awake, not wanting to succumb to the naps that other fellows were enjoying.  Unfortunately my attempt at combating jet-lag and accustoming myself to the time change failed, and I awoke an hour later dreary and in a daze.

Birthday alert!  Yes, on our very first day in Greece, it was one of my housemates’ (Sarah) birthday.  There are six fellows living in the house on campus, with four others living in two apartments a few bus stops away.  Five of us have moved into the house already, with the sixth arriving Sunday, and we decided for our inaugural night in Greece, and most importantly to celebrate the birthday, dinner in Athens was certainly in order.

Stuffed peppers, spicy cheesy dip, avocado and cheese salad, beet salad, tomato/cucumber/feta salad, meatballs in tomato sauce, cooked eggplant and more all put together form the absolute best meal you could eat after not having put anything in your stomach since the five pieces of melon and croissant that they fed you at 8:30 that morning on the plane.  Dinner, set in an adorable open-air restaurant on a street corner, was nothing short of delicious, and just thinking about all the food we ate, despite how full it made me at the time, makes my mouth water for more now.  A returning fellow (Molly) who is living in one of the apartments off-campus, had been to this place before, and knew what was good (not that anything on the menu looked anything but amazing).  The six of us sat there for hours as the city started to populate and the restaurant became increasingly more crowded and lively, laughing, exchanging stories, and getting to know each other over great food and cheap wine.  Finally paying the bill, we took the metro one stop down to the heart of city for ice cream.  The moment we stepped out of the metro, we could see the Acropolis (THE ACROPOLIS!) in the background.  Even from as far away as I was, it was already more beautiful than any textbook or google image search could do it justice.  We walked through the crowded streets, got some gelato, and headed back toward the metro, all resisting the urge to sit down for fear we would pass out right then and there.  At the young hour of 12:30am, we had made it home and were all tucked into bed within moments.

On the schedule for today: get cell phone, open bank account, buy groceries, buy brita, buy flat iron.  In no particular order (clearly if I had ordered them by priority, the flat iron and brita filter would be top of the list, with the straightener taking gold).  I’m eager to explore the surrounding area and get to know the suburb I now call home and get situated and comfortable with this new life.  Orientation and faculty meetings begin Monday, so until then, I’ll savor the chance to be a tourist.


One Response to “And so it begins…”

  1. Cousin Mike Goldstein October 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    You are so SASSSSSYYY. Love reading about your adventures. Hope you have fun every day. See you soon, I hope.

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