They say “all good things must come to an end” but I wish that wasn’t true in this case. I return to America in less than a week, and although I am excited to be reunited with my family and friends, I cannot help but admit that I could easily stay in Athens for another month (or two, or three). I have learned so much from AMURTEL and working at the street clinic, and I have made some incredible friends along my journey here.
Just before my departure to Kenya, my mind was racing. I've never traveled internationally alone and haven't traveled abroad in over seven years. What items will I forget to bring? Will I be accepted? Will Kenya be a place inviting to foreigners, or a bit withdrawn? And most importantly, will I get lost in the airports with my terrible sense of direction?
Tensions are a little high this week in Athens following an earthquake of 5.3 magnitude (and the first one since 1999)! I happened to be out in the market when the earthquake hit. The shop I was in lost power (I later found out the entire district lost power) and the floor beneath me trembled! Everyone rushed to get outside and the streets quickly became crowded. As I walked home, I noticed traffic built up as people were eager to leave the city. After I reached home I felt another two aftershocks! Needless to say, it was quite an experience.
I can’t believe that I am wrapping up my third incredible week in Athens. I have been here for such a short amount of time, but I already consider this place my home and am dreading having to leave. I have walked around the city so much that I may have to invest in a new pair of tennis shoes before my time here comes to an end! This weekend I hiked up to the Acropolis and got an incredible view of the city. I also managed to stumble upon a theater that was playing the new Spider-Man: Far From Home movie in English (with Greek subtitles) which I was SO excited about.
After wrapping up my first full week volunteering at AMURTEL, I find myself returning to the small air-conditioned cafe around the corner from my apartment once again. The city of Athens enjoyed wonderful breeze for a few short days but, much to my dismay, temperatures are rising well above 100 degrees. My only plans for this weekend are to hunt down places to cool down for a long while.
Another nonstop week in Baltimore and Towson, and it feels like my time here is slipping away faster and faster with every task I complete! IDA has been keeping me busy with my first project, which consisted of translating fact sheets from English to Spanish to make them more accessible to parents and educators who speak other languages. That project is almost wrapped up, only some revisions left before they can be handled by the communications department for public sharing.
After 19 hours of tiresome travelling, worrisome texts and tears from my family, and battling a jetlagged sleep schedule in the 95 degree heat for the past two evenings, I have finally found myself relaxed in a small (air-conditioned!) cafe in the beautiful city of Athens, Greece. There is no denying that it has been a little difficult adapting to the ruthless heat and accepting the fact that I am a little out of my waters culturally, but nonetheless it has been an incredible experience. And I still find it hard to believe I have the opportunity to stay here for the next six weeks.
D.C. is cool and all, but being back in Baltimore (to live) and Towson, Maryland (to work) has to be one of the best feelings ever. I jumped right into an Orioles baseball game at the Camden Gardens Stadium before taking the next day to familiarize myself with my bus route to Towson and my housemates in Baltimore. Everything is at ease, and I could not have hoped for a better start to my experience here!