Don't fret the past and don't stress the future.
Weekdays in Thessaloniki
Living and going to school in Greece is very different from the experiences I’ve had at college in America. First of all, I usually walk to class in Ames. However, in Thessaloniki I take the school shuttle to school every day.
I board the school shuttle just after 10 a.m. to be in classes every day at 11 a.m. Our apartment building is over an hour walk away from the school and across several highways. Meaning, on the way home, I’m depended on public transportation.
Like most things in Greece, the public bus doesn’t have the greatest organizational system. Nevertheless, it does the trick and takes me home every day after classes.
As for classes themselves: I have a much different outlook on my course work in Thessaloniki. While I strive to always do my best, in the back of my mind I’m continuously reminded that the grades I receive in Greece won’t transfer to Iowa State.
Therefore, I’m able to relax much more and enjoy my classes, rather than stressing over the actual grade I’m going to receive come June.
History: My favorite class is Ancient Greek History. I love history and I love Ancient Greece. I also love the professor for the class as she makes each lesson seem like story time covering fascinating subjects.
A group project that included dried peaches, anchovies, fresh goat cheese, olives, honey, homemade milk pie and, of course, wine.
Communications: My communications class involves a lot of discussions between the teacher and other students. I occasionally offer my opinion, but often prefer to sit back and listen as the discussion flows.
Greek 101: My photography class was canceled, so instead I opted to take Greek 101. I took Spanish in college … and then re-took Spanish in college so I’m not really sure why I thought it was a good idea to take a language course, but I did.
Greek is an entirely different ball game from English or Spanish, but I love being able to do something as simple as order an orange juice from the café entirely in Greek. Overall, the class is one of the most difficult I’ve ever taken, but I don’t think my experience abroad would have been the same had I not at least tried to learn the local language.
Sea Sailing: My hardest class is sea sailing. Being from Nebraska, I saw a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn how to sail while in Greece. However, learning to sail isn’t easy, and the sailing class is not blow off course. It involves studying, memorization and a lot of effort. But Monday night, when I finally sailed the boat for the first time (after two months of classes), I remembered why I’m putting myself through the frustration sailing causes me. Feeling the wind in my hair and the evening sun on my face as I skippered the boat was something I wouldn't have missed for the world.
All of my classes teach me something new every day, and for that I am thankful.
My weekends vary in pace and activities. This past weekend we took a school trip to the cities of Ioannina and Kalambaka.
In Ioannina we visited the Perama cave and the Castle before driving to spend the night in Kalambaka.
Sunday we spent the day visiting two monasteries nestled in a rock formation called Meteora (meaning ‘suspended in air’). It was incredibly beautiful and astounding to imagine the monasteries before steps for the tourists were carved up the sides of the mountains.
It also gave me a new appreciation for a different sect of Christianity and the practices of the Greek Orthodox faith.
Half Way Home
I was updating my wall calendar when I realized that I have been in Greece for over two months. It was then that I realized that my experience abroad will eventually end. And it will probably feel sooner than later.
I will have to return home: to work, to an internship, to classes, to family life, to moving into my first apartment and other stresses that college students face in daily life.
However, I know that when the time comes, I will be prepared to conquer the world once more, or should I say re-conquering a world I was once very familiar with, after my semester abroad.