Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Surreal Life

Now seems like a good time to update what’s been going on recently. It’s been a little harder to update as of late because I’m in a strange place mentally. I believe I’m experiencing the beginning of culture shock or integration. Next week rounds out one month being across the Atlantic and I find myself having two polar opposite impressions of my stay simultaneously. On the one hand, it feels as if I have been here only a very short time. I honestly feel as if I’ve been here one day, broken up by several naps. Every event, interaction and novelty flows together to create the brilliant tapestry that I know will represent Greece in my mind forever. However, as the newness of my surroundings wears off I begin to feel something different. I feel like this is home now. I feel like I’ve been here forever. I can function in the society, I have no restrictions and long for nothing in the States. I have money and friends with whom I’ve formed unusually strong bonds. The level of trust and disclosure I have with them is unmatched. Since I’m in school (as I always am), it adds another element of normalcy to my everyday life. Sometimes it seems as though Tampa is a dream that I made up and I have awoken in Greece. I just reread that, I know it sounds corny- but it’s the best way I can describe how surreal this experience is. I can’t even fathom being back in the States right now, nor do I want to be. I might as well be on the moon. I’m glad that I did the semester-long program, not the summer. The summer is only four weeks. Which means that as I begin to have these emotions that I’m having now, I would have to go home. I would not be here long enough to see what form they take and what manifests of them. I can feel myself changing, but I cannot put my finger on what or where. I probably won’t know until I have a frame of reference back home.
The past week and a half have been filled with interesting things that I could describe in detail, but somehow I don’t have the capacity to do that right now. We go out every night. Period. It’s as if school is the buffer between sleep and excursion. The work still gets done, surprisingly enough. Don’t ask me how. I just go to class, and realize I’ve actually written the essay that was asked for (and written a phenomenal one at that). LOL. Once again, this is a surreal experience. Tuesday night was fun but a little scary. I generally try to keep it low-key on Monday and Tuesday, but around 11pm everyone decided they wanted to go out. Not clubbing or anywhere noisy. Just out for a little stroll and possible sit down to have a drink. So we walked on the seaside and stopped at a chic bar for an hour or so. I didn’t really feel like drinking, but some had no problem getting smashed on a Tuesday night. Haha! Anyway- the time rounded in on 2am and we decided to head home. Part of our group was inside the bar, part on the patio. So the outside group (including myself) decided to head out first. Shortly after we left, one of our friends had a seizure according to bystanders. She had not been drinking (excessively) and just reported that she felt really dizzy all of the sudden. She was fine when she got back to Panepistimio, but it was nonetheless scary to hear. All is well now.
Yesterday we went to a small taverna where we ate delicious, cheap food and danced all night to Greek music. It was one of the nights that truly made me appreciate my surroundings.

On a side note- I purchased some more DVDs from a Nigerian yesterday. These bootlegs are great. You can’t pass up 5 Euro!

Also, my trips are starting to take their final form. Rome for Easter is a go, I have already booked tickets. The cruise is what I am working on next. It would take us to 3 continents (Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Greek Isles). Looks like the total package will cost $1000-1100. I don’t want to pass it up. I am almost positive I will never be able to go back to Egypt or Israel in my life. We would stop in Cairo and Bethlehem. I am also looking into a trip to the Netherlands with my friend from high school, but I’m awaiting the final word on that.

That’s it for now.

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