This week has got me thinking that a LOT of my mental downswing the past couple months was because everyone was right: summer in Athens sucks!
Now that people are returning from holidays, life is going back to normal and I’m feeling so much busier and happier.
We had our fourth Celebration Week, and as always, it was pretty great. Well, wait, no. Holy cow, this week has been long! Monday was chaotic, and everyone had something awful going on in their private lives. Our schedule was therefore out of whack, but I felt like I got to step into my unofficial counseling shoes and help people talk about the things that were hurting them. That part, at least, was nice.
But later in the week, we had more fun times together. “A” always talks about this souvlaki place she loves, so we all went there on Thursday. The food WAS amazing, but more importantly, it was FUN. We talked about all sorts of things, laughed a lot, and bonded more as peers.
On Friday, Dina returned to the office after doing fundraising in the States for six weeks. After the Celebration Week presentations, we all sat around and ate and listened to her stories. It sounds like a lot of people are getting really excited to partner with HD, which is exciting! I can’t wait to see where this all goes.
I’m starting Greek lessons again (I was off for August). One of Anthi’s friends wanted to offer her services to HD for free, and I’m the only one who took her up on the deal. She’s a much more structured teacher, which is great, but the first lesson was humiliating. We basically went back to the very beginning of everything, and although now (after two lessons) I’m catching back up to at least the middle of my old lessons, it’s just. AGH. I have so little motivation for learning Greek except for “I feel like I ought to.” It’s never going to get better unless I can find a better reason to do it.
The best part! I’ve discovered that I really like having people stay at my apartment. This is weird, because I’ve never thought of myself as hospitable, and I’m a terrible hostess. But I love having a place where people come and go or crash for a couple nights. I don’t want to take CARE of other people, but I’m happy to let them be in my space.
Luciana came over at 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday night rather than drive all the way to the other side of Athens that late. We stayed up a couple hours talking about feminism and literature: two of my favorite sleepover topics!
Natasha came at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night (she flew in late) and stayed for two nights. She is scared of Hans Harrison, so I gave her my room and slept on the couch. That is where Hans Harrison often sleeps, so I woke up in the middle of the night to him settling down heavily across my neck. It was uncomfortable but so cute, so I let him stay.
But before that, I went out to dinner with Kendra to celebrate her recent engagement. We talked for hours and hours, and I’m so glad to have an American friend in Greece. We talked about how there are these concentric circles of walls between ourselves and other people, and it’s such a slow, exhausting process to take them down. One of the walls is between ourselves and people from other countries, so being with Kendra means one less wall to take down. It’s nice.
On Saturday, I met Maria and her husband John for lunch. Just two Greeks and an American eating Persian food while discussing their recent trips to Sweden and Slovenia! I like having couple-friends, and I like that Maria can be both my Greek teacher (when I’m not taking free lessons) AND a friend.
On Saturday night, the Holargos girls (me, Tatiana, Natasha) wandered the neighborhood to find somewhere to eat. We wound up at a creperie, where we each got savery crepes before splitting a crepe with CHOCOLATE, BOUGATSA CREAM, and CRUMBLED COOKIES. Omg.
And then on Sunday, I actually went to church! Woo hoo! I still sat by myself, but afterwards there were many more people there that I knew, returned from summer holidays. Bible study is starting up this next Wednesday, so hopefully I can deepen some relationships and feel more at home at church. We will see!