A lot has happened in the past few days. So much in fact that I feel as if I’ve been here for a whole month, not 4 days. The biggest adaptation I’m having to make is realizing that this is not a weekend trip or a short vacation. I actually have to live here and to a certain extent, I have to adjust to the Greek culture in order to survive. The people that I’m with are great and I believe this is because we are all here with a common goal- exploration. Those who study abroad have a certain adventurous spirit and creative mentality which is the reason that we’ve decided to branch out. On Wednesday orientation started and I came back to the crashing realization that I’m still in school, which frankly sucks. I don’t start actual classes until next Monday (I’m taking Greek II, Anthropology and International Relations along with my 2 internet classes at USF).
Wednesday after orientation ACT (American College of Thessaloniki) took the whole program of 100+ students out to lunch to eat local cuisine. The first thing I noticed was the place setting. What a small plate! Probably 1/3 of the size of a typical American dinner plate. The courses were served family style and there were no less than 4 courses of vegetables to begin with. Different types of salad meant to fill you up before the main course of chicken/lamb. The dessert was a delicious cinnamon cake- but by the end we were too full to eat the whole thing. I have yet to see an obese or even overweight Greek- their eating habits are superb. On the downside EVERYBODY smokes. I’m probably going to get second hand cancer here.
The city is alive and bustling but definitely different than America. The cars don’t stop for you, little old ladies shove you and the national nap time is 3pm to 5pm, so don’t expect to get service anywhere- the Greeks are SLEEPING! LOL. On the other hand, like I mentioned before- everybody is so nice and willing to help if you show them that you are willing to learn a little Greek. Just basic respect.
Yesterday we went to the Cosmos Mediterranean mall. This thing is huge- only 2 years old. Every store conceivable from IKEA to Macy’s- but everything is in GREEK! DOH! Lot’s of interesting people and things. My roommate and I even met two WNBA players. Pretty sick man! Today was the second day of orientation- more boring explanations, but some interesting lessons in Greek dancing which I used at the club tonight. Once again, ACT took us out. This time to the club. They bussed us out and paid for an open bar for over 100 people! What university do you know that buys an open bar for their students. I’m not a big drinker- it’s not my thing. I had a beer and some tequila. I was just buzzed, but others were getting completely smashed. I guess that’s to be expected with an open bar. There is so much going on that I can’t even remember half of what’s happening and the pictures that I take don’t do any of the sights justice. The Anatolia campus is located on a mountain and when you climb it to enter the school you can see the green/brown peaks of Greece splitting the fog, simultaneously blurry yet breathtakingly clear. What and awesome sight!
Tomorrow we are taking a field trip to Vergina located in northern Greece, it’s the burial site of the kings of Macedon including Phillip II, Father of Alexander the Great. Should be awesome. I’ll take pictures. Much more happened but I can’t remember. Until next time!