Get Her to the Greek!
Welcome to Athens, Greece! The city that never sleeps, except between the times of 2 and 5pm. It has been a rocky start for me here in Athens, I will not lie, but as the days go by I am starting to settle into this foreign city I will be calling home for the next 4 months.
My name is Lauren and I am from small town Iowa. We arrived in bustling Athens a couple of weeks ago and to put it simply, the start of my semester was far from smooth. First things first. They aren’t kidding when they say that jet lag is one of the hardest things to adjust to while traveling. For every time zone you cross it takes a day to adjust, so even after a week with 7 time zones crossed I was still struggling not to wake up at 4 am!
My first day. It’s all Greek to me! I think it is safe to say we have all used that phrase a time or two. The phrase, “It’s all Greek to me,” is a way of saying that you do not understand something that is said or written, that phrase has never before been more relevant to my life than at the moment I arrived in Athens. Sleep deprived and stressed due to a delayed flight and strong turbulence, getting settled into my apartment proved to be more of a challenge than I expected. I went one floor too high and as you can guess the “key” to the apartment didn’t work. For that moment waiting there alone, with no working phone, in a foreign country was not the easiest thing to do while keeping a level head. Nonetheless, I used the neighbors phone and Yota a member of CYA staff arrived to help! I found the correct apartment, sat in my room and had a little cry. Needless to say, I felt like calling the taxi back to get on the next flight back to the States, But that feeling didn’t last long! Yota my helping hand, whisked me away and walked me to CYA where I was able to collect all my necessary papers and materials. After that I walked back to the apartments where I was able to meet my first two suite mates.
The first thing I noticed about Athens was that driving is not for the fainthearted. You have to be an Olympic athlete if you want to drive these streets, some motorcyclists will just hop up on the sidewalk if they really need to. And you thought New York City was bad?
The first thing I noticed at CYA is the Olympic Stadium. It is right next door and there’s an incredible view of the Acropolis from the 3rd floor window. And to answer anyone’s question of, “Do you think it will get old?” My answer is no, not even a little bit.
A farmers market is held every Friday that completely shuts down an entire street from the morning to early afternoon (which the Greeks still consider the morning). You can buy all of your fresh produce here from cabbage, to olives, and oranges galore. There is also a selection of fresh fish and shellfish however, I don’t know if I’m ready to put my cooking skills to the test! What’s more, the market isn’t just for grocery shopping, you can also find small thrift stores, arts and crafts, and nick knacks towards the end of the street. Bargaining with vendors over prices is common but I think I’ll need to work on my Greek a little more before I put that to the test!
Ermou St. and Monastiraki are popular tourist shopping districts here where you can go and buy just about anything you need from clothes, to shoes, accessories, phones, laptops, children toys, or even some out of season Christmas decorations, you name it, it has it. And if you’re really homesick, there are familiar stores like Sephora, American Eagle of course McDonalds.