This week has been great! Last Saturday I went to Sounio, which was a much-needed mini-adventure to somewhere new, beautiful, and fun. It really rejuvenated me and gave me the energy to jump back into life in Athens.
On Sunday, after church, Argyris and Dina took me to a lunch for a group of church planters. I was not excited about it, because church always drains me. There is so much Greek to listen to and so many introductions and opportunities to forget even the most basic of Greek phrases. But I went to the lunch, and I’m so glad that I did! There were a bunch of people there that I already knew, which was nice. I got to reconnect with Joy, an American woman who has worked in Athens as a counselor for about four years. And I met Sarah, a woman from Illinois who married an awesome Greek guy (Leonidas) last year and moved to Greece. She’s 33, and she told me to wait until I’m 33 (like she did) before I get married so that I can take advantage of being single in my 20s. It was the best thing someone could tell me on Valentine’s Day (which, wonderfully, is not really celebrated much in Greece). Her husband translated the mini-lecture at the lunch for us, and I like them both so much!
On Monday I started Level II of Greek classes at The Athens Centre. Elvira, Emi, and Stewart all came with me from Level I, and we were joined by a new guy, Timon. He’s from Germany, but he has Greek parents and speaks Greek very well. I was initially overwhelmed, because Timon, Elvira, Emi, and Roza (our Level I teacher for the first two weeks) spoke almost entirely in Greek for the first half hour, and I was left thinking, “Am I crazy!? Wasn’t it only two days since our last class where we were all idiots?” But as the week went on, everyone else came down to my level. Haha! We’re learning past and future tenses, and there is SO much information to cram into our heads. But now I can pretty much say anything, so long as you give me fifteen minutes to work out the sentence.
I’ve really enjoyed having a couple more weeks with together Emi and Elvira. We (plus Timon) stayed after class on Wednesday to attend a book launch at the center. It was a book of Greek idioms, and the author talked about it a little bit before we got to eat free food and drink free wine, which is really why we stayed. On Thursday, Emi brought Dixit for us to play during our class break, and it is such an original game with beautiful cards I want to hang as artwork on my walls.
On Friday, Emi and I hung out after class before going to the 1st Church center to play games with the kids. Only we had so much fun we lost track of time and wound up not going to the center at all. I had been told about a sushi restaurant near Syntagma, so we went there and decided to make Fridays our official “eat something other than Greek” day. We got a sample platter of sushi and split a bottle of white wine and just talked for hours. I feel like we have similar personalities: we love to travel and explore and see new things. Our traveling experiences have shown us that people are pretty much pretty awesome, and that it is such a rush to make new friends – whether temporarily or long term. We also really like indulging in the simple pleasures of life, so after eating sushi, we went to a nearby sweetshop for coffee/tea and multiple desserts. They were so delicious and amazingly sweet – Emi said it was like drinking honey with some filo dough thrown in, and I couldn’t have loved it more.
I feel like I’m settling into life here. There’s still not enough time to get all my homework done AND have fun, but…I’m a nerd. I kind of like spending hours wrestling with learning something new. It’ll be weird when I don’t go downtown for class every day anymore!