October 11, 2021
This past week may have been my favorite so far. I’ve fallen into a rhythm with classes and feel more comfortable contributing to discussions. I have also started using Greek in my everyday interactions with people at coffee shops and grocery stores. It feels really good to be able to have simple conversations and not have to resort to English. The one thing that continues to pose a challenge is how unique the Greek alphabet is but I get plenty of chances to practice by reading metro signs, restaurant menus, and advertisements out and about in my daily life.
This past weekend I took my first trip outside of Greece to the Amalfi Coast with my roommates Darby, Mary Grace, and our friend Sadie from Northern Arizona University. Since this whole experience is my first time visiting Europe, everything is exciting and overwhelming. I didn’t have much of an opinion on Italy before we arrived but I quickly fell in love with it all. We stayed in Positano and visited Amalfi to hike the Path of the Gods. While hiking we met a really nice woman from the Netherlands who wants to stay in touch and possibly meet again in Amsterdam later in the semester.
We also met up with other Boston College students studying in Barcelona and Rome and one of their friends from Northwestern to do a local boat tour of the coast. This was by far one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had in my life. We got to jump off the boat and swim in a natural hot spring, visit the Emerald Grotto, and enjoy lunch at a seaside restaurant. Italy was much warmer than Greece so it was nice to have one last summer experience. Our tour guide pointed out all the local landmarks while we took in the beautiful landscape. The water was bluer than anything I have ever dreamed of.
Sometimes when I’m experiencing something surreal and beyond imagination like this weekend, I long for my friends and family back home. I don’t feel homesick at all but I do wish I could share these amazing experiences with everyone I love. For much of my childhood and adolescence, visiting Europe seemed like such a far away and unattainable dream — something you only see in movies. It almost didn’t happen at all due to COVID-19 so I’m beyond grateful for the privileged opportunity I have now. But still, I can’t shake the feeling that my regular life is impossibly far away. The best I can describe it is adjacent to guilt. The highs that come with such great experiences are mirrored by the lows of realizing the multitude of barriers that prevent many from accessing these things for themselves firsthand. It’s been helpful to remind myself that the doors that a college education will open can help to put me in a position to maybe take my family on a trip like this one day. As I reflect, I can’t help but think of and be grateful for everyone who has supported me in getting to this point. Until next week :)