Year 2 | A Week in Greece #7: COFFEE PRINCE, WEEKLY GOALS, and A LOT OF FOOD

Well, the gig is up.  I couldn’t last more than two seconds in Monday’s temperature check (the first half hour of HD’s Day Program during which time we share what we’ve been doing and feeling) before I blurted out, “I’ve been watching a k-drama nonstop and it’s SOOOO GOOOD” while flinging my face into my hands.  “What’s a k-drama?” everyone asked.  “A TV show made in Korea.”  Everyone stared at me, so I repeated the part about it being SOOOO GOOOD.  “You’re quite strange,” one of them said.  “Ugh, I know,” I replied.

Honestly, Coffee Prince DID eat up a big part of my week, and I would hurry home from work to watch as many new episodes as possible while texting Rosie dramatic reactions to the show’s events.  My roommates would delicately put their heads into my bedroom.  “Are you still watching your favorite show?”  I would look up from my nest of blankets with rabid eyes and hiss, “Yesssss.”  They usually fled before I could update them on the plot development.

One bright spot was Luciana, who was so enthralled by my never-ending passion that she agreed to watch the first episode with me.  “I don’t really like it yet, but it must be good because you won’t shut up about it.”  In return, she insisted I start watching Arrow, but I don’t think it’s quite fair for her to hold me to five seasons when I’m only asking her to watch seventeen episodes.

Guys, it’s so good.  I’m done now, and I tried watching some other shows, but I stopped them all after a couple minutes because nothing in the world was appealing anymore.  Luckily, Rosie found two other people who like k-dramas, and we are going to try to start a weekly k-drama watching club!  (At church today, I ran up to her and said, “Rosiiiie” and gripped her arm as I jumped up and down in excess of emotion.  She laughed in what I think was delight and not fear.)

Four paragraphs later…

Work was pretty normal this week.  We’re settling into a routine, which means our four participants (not on maternity leave) are showing up sometimes on time, and as the Program Coordinator, it is now my job to enforce tardy rules, and I haaaate it.  But on the other hand, I got to start doing Weekly Goal Setting with each participant individually on Friday, and that is the part of the job that was so enticing that I agreed to take the whole thing.

Most of the women know their goals:  stay in Greece, get a good job, support family members in their home country.  With them, all I have to do is help them break those goals into smaller, weekly attainable goals, like learning Greek, figuring out what paperwork is necessary, pursuing new job skills.  One participant is SUPER averse to the very idea of setting goals, because anything in the future terrifies her.  That was my favorite session, because it required dusting off my jujitsu counseling moves.  (Her:  I don’t need to plan.  I trust God every day.  Me:  That’s so great!  I really look forward to seeing you grow to the point where you can trust God not just with your day, but also the coming week, and the coming month, and the coming year!)  It’s fun to help them take control of their lives, to risk wanting something, and the stand beside them as they work toward it.

Pretty much as soon as work ended on Friday, a weekend of FOOD began.  Four of us coworkers went to Cap Cap on Friday afternoon, a coffee shop that has bimonthly themes.  Because of the forthcoming movie, they are now Beauty and the Beast, which meant I drank a Ballroom and ate a Bookworm.  It was nice to hang out with my coworkers outside of work, and that only continued on Saturday.

There was a team of USian men who painted the outside of HD this week (the house, not the office where I was), so Dina and Argyris invited all of us plus them to a fancy restaurant in Rafina.  Whenever US teams come to Greece, I either find myself super proud to be an American or super ashamed.  This group started out embarrassing when their pastor stood up to pray over our food for at least five minutes, and everyone else in the restaurant stopped talking and also the staff turned off the music.  But then they were the best kind of Americans, loud and happy and generous and sharing funny stories.  It immediately felt like we were all old friends.  Because they were from Memphis, I had a lot to talk about, and when they left, Dina assured me that next time they would invite a team of single men.

That segues right into…on Saturday, my new roommate’s mom came to visit.  There was a conference in Athens, and she came to our house afterwards.  While Ellen unpacked her new goodies, her mom and I got into a super serious conversation about singleness.  She said a speaker at the conference had talked about how painful it was to go to dinner parties and see husbands and wives paired across from each other, leaving her with the “extra” seat at the end.  Ellen’s mom said it made her pause, and she was now determined to make sure she mixed up the seating at every party she every throws.  It was all I could do to keep myself from throwing myself at her and hugging her in grateful joy.

On Sunday, I met up with Kendra for coffee to hear about her weeklong adventure in Italy with her fiancée.  We accidentally talked for too long, so we were late to church.  Afterwards I met Haley, Dina, Argyris, and Mark for an extremely fancy work lunch (Haley works with SP).  After far too much food, we took her to see the new offices that SP had financed.  I got home around 5:00 and took a late nap.

It’s nice to be so social.  When I think back to this time last year, I was in the midst of my language-learning mental breakdown.  I was developing social anxiety at the Bible school, hiding in my bed so I could pretend to be asleep if someone were to stop by and invite me to the cafeteria for lunch.  HD was still being renovated, and I was wondering what the hell I was doing living in Greece.  This year?  This year is so much better.

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