Friday, December 21, 2012

Saying Goodbye (for now)

There’s just a little over twenty-four hours left before I leave Greece. Now that it’s coming to an end, this semester feels like it flew by. I spent the afternoon yesterday taking my last walk through central Athens and making my final climb up to the acropolis. Syntagma Square was all decorated for Christmas and they even had an ice skating rink! Two of my friends, Anna and Remy, and I stopped for some hot chocolate to warm up on a chilly day in Athens. Sitting in the cafĂ© sipping my hot chocolate, it hit me just how comfortable I’ve become here and how much I’m going to miss it.
Ice Skating in Syntagma

Last trip to the Acropolis
I'm going to miss this view
CYA Farewell Party 

 I’ve learned so much during the past four months. I’ve learned to be patient with myself and with others, to be more flexible, and to let loose every once and a while. Adapting to a new environment, language and culture has really taught me that sometimes it’s okay not to be in control of everything.  Sometimes you just have to surrender to the unknown and enjoy the ride, and I have certainly enjoyed the past few months. I’m going to miss the great friends that I’ve made here, my professors, and the awesome CYA staff.  I’ll also miss gyros, tzatziki sauce and the amazing chocolate cake from the bakery down the street! And of course I’ll miss everything about the wonderful Greek culture: the dancing, the ancient ruins, the hospitality, the museums…and so much more. I’m especially going to miss seeing the acropolis from the academic center window everyday on may way to class. I’ve had such a great experience here in Athens and in the other places I’ve traveled to this semester. I am so grateful for my time abroad and I look forward to traveling many more times. Thank you all for reading my updates…I have really loved getting to share my pictures and stories with you. I’ll see everyone back in the States soon!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Little Taste of Christmas

         I can’t believe there are only eleven days left until I go home, which means only fourteen days until Christmas! Since it is my absolute favorite holiday, I’ve been excited to experience some Christmas spirit here in Athens. Although Easter is celebrated more in Greece than Christmas is, I’ve still seen some balconies decorated with strings of lights and storefronts painted red and green. I especially feel like Christmas is close when I walk down Ermou Street in Syntagma (a very popular shopping destination). Since the stores there are more main-stream, most of them are filled with Christmas decorations. To really get into the Christmas spirit, my housemates and I decided to do a secret santa and have a Christmas party. I even bought a tiny Christmas tree (well, a bush)! We had a great time celebrating Christmas early in Greece and giving each other our secret santa presents! I’m also planning on taking a cooking lesson later this week where I’ll learn how to make some traditional Greek Christmas cookies!

Our mini Christmas tree/bush
Rose opening her gift!
            Since I now have less than two weeks left in Athens, I decided to check off a few last minute things on my list of places to visit. This past weekend, I finally had a chance to spend a few hours at the Byzantine and Christianity Museum. What I loved most about this museum was the huge amount of Byzantine Icons they have in their collection. Almost an entire floor of the museum is dedicated to these paintings! Below are some pictures of a few of my favorites. The museum also had a special exhibit on the origins of book making and book binding which was also very interesting.

I'm going to miss those mountains 

            I’ll be writing one more blog post sometime next week before I leave Athens. My time here has flown by and it will be a bittersweet day when I have to make my last trip up to the Acropolis. I’ll make one final update next week with some last thoughts and pictures. Until then, enjoy the Christmas pics above!