Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I arrived in Athens on the morning of Tuesday August 30,2011, one day later than expected due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene cancelling my original flight. The ride was smooth and we arrived a good 45 minutes early. I was met at the airport by a representative of CYA and given my address and keys. I shared a taxi with another girl living in my building, which is in Pangrati about 2 minutes from the school. After struggling with the locks on the door, my roommates came to my rescue and let me in. I have three who all seem very nice.
So far, we have had plenty of free time. With the storm messing up people’s original flight plans, CYA has pushed back the start of classes until next week. Also orientation has been more spread out giving us plenty of time to get settled in and explore. Last night I was exhausted from my overnight flight, so I stayed in with two of my roommates and cooked dinner before going to bed early. Today we picked up our books from the library and spent the afternoon walking about Athens and getting some supplies. We went up to the Honda Center, a large department store in Omonoia. We then stopped by the central market. Unfortunately, we were there in the afternoon, so we only caught the very end of the meat market. Next time we will have to go in the morning to get some vegetables. The meat market was quite the experience; there were entire pigs hanging by their feet, rabbits with fur still on their tails and back legs, and full racks of ribs. We just got some chicken breasts, which the merchant cut for us. The merchants understood English (most Greeks seem to) and would stop and stare as we, three American girls, walked through. On our journey back to Pangrati, we stopped at a café to cool down with some refreshments and a light snack. It gets very hot in the afternoon in Athens, and I totally understand why many Athenians take a siesta.
There is so much more I want to explore and experience in Greece. Tonight we are going out with some professors to a taverna. There seem to be plenty of activities, such as hiking Mt. Olympus or taking a cooking class, that we can participate in to maximize our cultural experience here. I cannot wait to get started. I am expecting my classes to be fascinating and useful; once I start learning some modern Greek, I hope to be able to use it with the locals. Until then, I plan to take advantage of this free time to become better acquainted with the city.