Living in Greece, Personal, Travel

A Week in Greece #12: HD Planning, Agatha Christie, and the Beach!

Language Update

Short Version:  *mouth fart*

Long Version:  I have pretty much used zero Greek this week, and I can feel the pieces that I know slipping away from easy recall.  The problem is, I want to talk to people!  The thing I bring to the world and to relationships is TALKING – having deep, long conversations about anything and everything.  That might sound like a very good reason to learn Greek, but everyone in my life speaks pretty much fluent English.  So when we’re talking, I have two options:  struggle to express 10% of my thoughts in Greek, or else express 90% of my thoughts in English.  So why did I even spend two months learning Greek?  I don’t knooooow.

(I do know.  It’s just that the gap between “enough to get by” and “fluent” is SO BIG.)

Everything Else Update

This week has been SO GREAT, for me personally and for House Damaris generally. Let’s start with me!  The past couple weeks, there has been some mild conflict brewing between HD staff, mostly because we are all working on our own (until we have our office set up) and that is a great recipe for miscommunication.  This weekend, I started daydreaming about how I am a counselor!  And I could see how I could fix everything!!  But after slowing my brain down a little, I felt like God was telling me to step back and do nothing.  It’s not like my idea was bad (it was phenomenal, as all my ideas are), but I wanted to be the savior.  I wanted to control everything.  Story of my life!  So instead, I started praying about what my role at House Damaris is…and it’s not to be in control.  It’s to serve, and by that I mean actually serve, not pretend like I’m serving while in reality I’m manipulating the situation so that I look good.

So on Monday when we had a big staff meeting and I was nervous that things were going to blow up…we had an amazing conversation where we admitted that things were chaotic, we established roles, we clarified communication patterns, and we left really happy with each other!  And I was responsible for none of it.  It’s almost as though I am not the most important person in the world, which is a lesson I need to learn on a regular basis.

On Tuesday, it got even better!  Dina took me to the house to watch workmen put together the bedroom and living room furniture we had ordered.  My “help out”/”control” instincts were itching to jump in and do something, but we had hired the guys and apparently it would have been an insult to do their job for them.  So instead, Dina and I sat around all day, talking about what God had done in our lives and dreaming about what he will do with House Damaris.  I think I’m actually starting to trust him, because it’s so obvious that he is working in Athens to love and heal hurting women.  It doesn’t seem absurd to dream about moving into another office, opening up more bedrooms for more women, and even an entirely new house in…the next year?  Maybe!  It’s exciting!

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Trying out the first bed.
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One of the bedrooms (two rooms have one bed, one room has two beds).
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The table where we will have our Day Program.

On Wednesday, I went to Francisca’s house to work on the Day Program.  I prayed a lot before then too, because this is the area where I will have to fight my controlling instincts the most.  Francisca is in charge of the Day Program, and while she is definitely capable of leading, it’s not natural for her.  Me?  YES PLEASE, my entire educational history has been a string of taking over group projects.  But I thought about where Francisca is, and what her life is like, and what she probably fears…and I found that I really want her to succeed.  I want her to realize how smart and capable and amazing she is.  And that made such a huge difference in how I acted during our meeting.

We had a great time!  In no time at all we created a schedule and assigned classes to people.  And then we sat around and got to know each other better!  She asked what I was most excited about for the Day Program, and after thinking for a moment, I said, “I’m excited to get back to counseling.  I can’t wait to talk to these girls about anger and how life is so unfair and hard and complicated, and that they are doing the best they can to get through it.  I can’t wait to walk with them as they learn to love themselves and value themselves, and to see how that changes the way they live.  And I’m excited to go over these lessons for myself, because I still have so much to learn too.”  And I AM so excited!  There are few things that fill me with overwhelming joy and passion as telling someone that THEY ARE TOTALLY NORMAL and THEY ARE WORTHY OF LOVE and LOOK AT HOW MUCH BETTER LIFE CAN BE and WHOOPS, THAT WAS A MESS-UP BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S THE END.

Francisca made me Nigerian food for lunch, and then we both went to the street market where she gave me extra lettuce and oranges.  It was really such a wonderful day, and I am so excited to continue to work with her and learn from her and grow with her.

That night, I awkwardly ran into someone in the hallway and walked past my door.  It felt embarrassing to turn around as though I had made a mistake (*sigh*, oh Tricia) so I went down the hall to visit Olga.  We wound up having a really great conversation that was briefly interrupted by her going to a prayer meeting.  Then she stopped by my room and we ordered souvlaki at 10:00 p.m.  I mostly feel too old to be living in a school, but late night food is one aspect of school life that I am happy to keep.  We stayed up talking until 11:30, and it was so great to connect with someone about feeling weird and too-complicated.  Overthinking things is much more enjoyable when you are overthinking out loud with someone else who overthinks.

On Thursday, Olga and I continued hanging out.  I needed to work on House Damaris lesson plans, and while I was in my room I kept getting distracted by YouTube and books, so we went to the coffee shop nearby.  That was…pretty much my whole day.

Friday was more of the same.  Lesson plans, YouTube distractions, and then…movie night with Anthi!  Ages ago I told her about the BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but we hadn’t found the time to watch the downloaded episodes until then.  She likes mysteries, and I like Aidan Turner.  Something for both of us!

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Helloooo there.

Let me tell you:  wow!  We watched all three of the 1-hour episodes, and by the last one we were both leaning forward with our elbows on our knees.  The murders aren’t explicit or gross, but the MIND GAMES!  And the cinematography!  I loooooved it.

On Saturday I went to the beach at Rafina with some girls from the school because I happened to be near them at the coffee shop on Friday when they were planning their trip.  Right time, right place!  The plan was “to study” but Olga and I took off to climb a hill and explore for a couple hours.  Although it’s 70 degrees here, it’s still way too cold to swim.  Fine by me, since I am a land mammal.  It was really beautiful and really fun to hang out with friends and take dumb pictures together.  For the rest of the day I am working on my monthly newsletter, reading, and being suuuuuper lazy!  Hurray!

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My miniature kindred spirit.
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15 minutes from my home…how!?
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