Athena Study Abroad students share their experiences with amazing blogs.
Paros is a place that keeps people.
It is unclear whether this is purposeful, but the island that Athena prepared me for is not the island I live on. If they were truthful, most parents would not want their children to come.
Once when I was a little girl the woman who would watch myself and the other neighborhood kids in the afternoons decided to bake an apple pie. She set the apples out on the table, warm from the afternoon sunshine and handed us small knives to help her carve away their skins. In no time at all several bowls of apples had been peeled and were overflowing in plenty. She showed us how to pour the cinnamon over the slices and toss them into the spices. As we placed them in the pie pans and spread the dough across the top, we could see that our enthusiasm for peeling had left us with an overabundant amount of fruit. No matter, she had said. The more sweetness the better. Years later I dip my toes into the salty crispness of the Aegean Sea. The sunshine is warm on my back and a light breeze bounces from the corners of the island, which surrounds me. I think back to this moment in my childhood and recognize a similar sense of wonder and joyful discovery surfacing within me.
It's been a while since I last updated and a lot has happened. We had our first week of class and we took a small tour of Paros.
Classes are awesome and very interesting. I actually look forward to going to class each day. I am taking Creative Writing, Greek 1, Philosophy, Goddess Studies, and Cycladic Art and Culture.
First of all classes don't start till 10 which is awesome! I love to sleep so the fact that my earliest classes are at 12:30 is a life saver. The walk to school is long but scenic so it doesn't feel as long as it is. You do a lot of walking with the program so you get use to it.
Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE
In a blur, everything was packed. My fingers were sore from tearing endless strings of sticky packing tape, which I used to secure the world I was leaving behind. But my heart had never felt more free. They say to pack light. You wont need it all. Two suite cases later I felt I had narrowed down my clothing options to the essentials. But as I sit here in the warming light on my first morning on Paros, I feel a sense of calm and simplicity. This island is as welcoming as a gentle hug and I can sense that perhaps six pairs of dresses were simply unnecessary to bring me satisfaction with a view like the one spread out before me.
To reach a place this magical takes some work. I won't lie. The longest plane ride of my life (approximately 13 hours) was definitely an adventure to say the least. My friend Ana (who is traveling with me on this grand and wild adventure) and I arrived at LAX three hours ahead of time, which was a huge blessing that I highly recommend taking advantage of. Apparently Americans are obligated by law to purchase a return ticket to the States before leaving the country. Who knew? Spontaneity is dead. But maybe they knew how I would feel stepping off that ferryboat with the tender golden lights in every window reflecting off of the soft lapping water of the harbor. Also, apparently ordering your passport a year in advance is also a pretty serious thing, and waiting to the last minute is a very poor decision in deed. Spontaneity is dead. But perhaps they also knew how absolutely heart stopping it would be to envision yourself being left behind as you wait patiently by the mailbox days before you are due to leave and still there is no sign of your little black book. (Mine arrived the day before we left… which is a good story now, but trust me- it was terrifying to live through).
I finally found a wifi connection strong enough to upload photos. I present my first week in Greece:
To start off I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Natalie and I am a sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University although for the next 3 months I will be student of HISA on Paros. My major is international studies with a minor in organismal biology. It is a weird combination, I know. I just combined my two favorite things, traveling and animals. I am an only child living in Irvine California. I have never been away from home for this long so it is really going to be an adventure.
Now I have been to a few European countries before but never to Greece so I am very excited to see how it's different from the other places I have been to. My flight was arranged so that I will get to Athens a day before the start date at 9:00. Luckily Athena and HISA have accommodated those of us who have come a little early.
I left my home at 3:30 in the morning to catch my 6:30 flight at LAX. It wasn't fun waking up that early but at least I slept pretty well on my first flight. The first of my two plane rides was a breeze. I sat in the emergency exit row so I had extra leg room which was nice. The only downside was that it was a 6 hour flight and there were no screens on the plane to play a movie on. I had to entertain myself.
I have now been on Paros for a little over a day now. Paros is everything I imagined it would be. Athens was a fun place to visit but Paros is the place I want to live at.
We left for Paros Saturday evening after spending the morning at Acropolis. The Parthenon was pretty awesome but they were doing some construction on it so that took away a bit of the view. It was still awesome looking over Athens from such a height.
After exploring Acropolis at our own pace for a while we all split up and had lunch. Two of the other girls and I decided that we wanted Frappes because everyone says the coffee is better here than in America. I agree with that statement. We had iced coffee with our choice of ice cream in it. I chose Oreo cookies and cream ice cream because that’s my favorite and I loved it. It was more of a dessert drink than a morning coffee but I recommend trying it at least once.
“All of us take pride and pleasure in the fact that we are unique, but I'm afraid that when all is said and done the police are right: it all comes down to fingerprints.”
I recently just came back from my site visit to Paros Island, Greece! I tried a great variety of traditional Greek dishes, and I am excited to share with you some of the food I had!
First of all, before I get into food, I want to talk about the Greek style of dinner. Having dinner with someone in Greece is almost always a social event, and the Greeks will do their best to make it feel that way. Dinner can and often does take up to two to three hours, so don't expect a quick meal if you sit down somewhere. It isn't just about the food; it's about taking the time to enjoy the company you have. So, grab some friends and sit somewhere. Enjoy all that a Greek restaurant has to offer!
Almost all beverages in Greece, including water, have a price. Don't be surprised when water for the table is typically around 1.25-2 euros. Hence, it is generally customary to drink the house wine or fresh juice with your meal. It's what the locals do!
We all forget things when it comes to traveling. Paros Island, Greece is no exception. Having just come back from there, I can tell you right now that I forgot to pack at least three things that would have come in handy. I have learned a few lessons about traveling on my site visit, and I'm happy to share with you these shreds of wisdom on what is easily replaceable and affordable and to what is not.
These are available at a variety of places, especially in Athens. I was fortunate in that my travel companion brought two, but I've seen some in low quality "One-Euro stores" ones to some much nicer ones capable of higher wattage in electronic stores as well. It depends on what you device needs wattage-wise. Also, many power outlets in Greece, especially in Paros, have very deep outlets, so make sure you get one that will fit and allow you to plug your things in.
I bought all my toiletries there so I didn't have to worry about security and liquids. Toothpaste, Soap, Shampoo, and deodorant were like 15ish euros all together. Shaving razors were quite a bit more though, around 12 euros for 6 good quality razors. I shared with someone else, which definitely helped in lowering the cost of those. Mind you, I bought these at the airport; if you can make it the two days to Paros, I recommend it. Things are generally much cheaper on the island than they are in Athens.