Sunday, July 21, 2013

Running Amok in Athena's City (April 2007)

These are a few more posts from my old blog, from back in the day when people actually used mySpace.  Most of those posts I simply deleted, as my early attempts at blogging weren't much to be proud of - immature and mostly centered around my neuroses during my last stint in Korea.  These aren't much better, but on the other hand, they do involve some worthwhile travel experiences, like the posts I moved over here last September.  Anyways, this group all comes from my first trip to Greece, which was funded by my first international school, Al Hekma.  Enjoy!  
It is actually April 2 as I sit in the bits&bytes internet cafe writing this blog, but to give you a sense of time, the posted date will be the date I'm writing about.

I can't believe I'm in Athens.  I have literally been learning about this place my whole life.  When I was a nerdy little second grader, I used to play this computer game (on the OLD Apple computers, before those bastards at IBM took over the world) at my Bright Ideas class, based on Greek mythology.  I remembered that little fact when I saw an owl pendant and remembered it was Athena's symbol.  In high school, we read the Odyssey.  In college, I took my mandatory 'cluster course' in Athenian culture.  It is surreal and satisfying to be here (and even more satisfying to be here on the school's dollar).

I was sent here with another teacher, Mariette, a South African who teaches second-year kindergarten.  She's kind of a nervous traveler, so even though we haven't had the chance to get to know each other very well, I found myself in the slightly unusual position of holding her hand during take-off and landing, and talking to her much of the four and a half hours of the flight (with the result that we now know each other pretty well).

It took us about an hour to get from the airport to the hotel, because of the traffic.  On the way we had our first glimpse of the Acropolis hovering over the city.  It was unbelievable, and I still couldn't believe I was in freaking Athens.
I started to believe, finally, when we went out for dinner that night.  We didn't do anything adventurous the first night - we were staying in a hotel a bit away from the one where the conference took place - but we took a stroll around the neighborhood and found a little taverna to eat at.  I ordered tzatziki and my first real Greek salad, and they were delicious.  Well, actually, the Greek salad had more olive oil on it than I would have preferred, and I still hate eating unpitted olives, but there we were, eating real Greek food, being served by cute little old Greek people, who talked us into eating the baklava (and it was FANTASTIC), and gave Mariette a Greek name - Antigone (which, when it's pronounced by Greek people sounds like Auntie Go-Knee).  And apparently my Greek drama is a little rusty, because it took me a while to remember that Antigone was Oedipus' daughter, not Orestes' sister (that would be Elektra).  Still, not bad for a girl who's been living where I have.

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