Με λένε Sarah. I am a junior Classical Studies Major at Tufts University, and I am the honored recipient of the George A. David Fellows Award for the Spring 2017 semester at College Year in Athens.
As a Classical Studies Major I have read and studied about Athens and the local monuments for so long that it is both awe-inspiring and breathtaking to be living in a city with over three thousand years of history present around every corner. For the first two days, I had been frantically avoiding looking at the horizon of Athens, because I did not want to have my first sight of the Parthenon to be from a third story window, but instead from below, like the Ancient Athenian supplicants of Athena. On Wednesday morning, the weather began to clear and I left our apartment early before our orientation began and walked to the Parthenon for its opening. I left my map behind and took my chances, walking through the National Gardens, passed the Arch of Hadrian, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
The Parthenon took my breath away. As I stood in the shadows of this ancient wonder I couldn't help the tears that welled in my eyes and that streaked down my face. Even with the scaffolding and cranes, the acropolis thrummed with the history of all those who had approached the temple before me. Despite the fact that according to physics, the universe is approaching entropy and chaos, the columns of the Parthenon are actually over time fusing together and becoming more perfect -- which I find to be quintessentially Classical Athenian in principle. And tomorrow, when I hike to the top of the Acropolis again, I will again experience it at its most perfect form of the two thousand five hundred years of its existence.
After approaching the Parthenon from the perspective of a supplicant, I wanted to see the temple as Athena would have -- from above. The Parthenon is such a prominent mark on the landscape, it is incredible it imagine the economic and popular resources needed to construct the temple. This picture was taken from the top of the Stadium in Pangrati.
Today we practiced our Greek at the weekly Farmer's Market at our street, where we bought fruits and vegetables for the upcoming week. I have not yet met an Athenian who isn't excited and willing to help me practice the Greek language.
Although I have only been in Greece for a week, the Athenian people are some of the nicest people I have ever meet in my life. At the farmer's market, the nut vendor, gave us free peanuts after I bought a half kilo of almonds, and a fruit vendor gave us two lemons for free, after refusing payment. This kindness is something that I have never experienced in America.The compassion and welcoming nature of the Athenian people is everywhere... from shops, to dinner, to their graffiti.
I feel so welcomed by both the entire CYA staff and the Athenian people, and I can not wait to see where this semester takes me!