The Past Month: Italy, Vacation, Goodbyes, and Fire & Ice


The Past Month: Italy, Vacation, Goodbyes, and Fire & Ice
It has been a while since I have been able to blog and a lot of things have happened. I could probably write a book on all the things that happened in Greece but I will keep it as a lengthy blog entry instead. I guess I will start with where I left off: around the time of the trip to Italy. Italy is another one of those places that I have always wanted to go to. It is where a lot of my family is from and it makes up half of my ethnicity. We started off in Rome and saw most of the major sites such as the Coliseum and the Vatican. The Coliseum was everything I thought it would be, huge and fascinating. The whole construction of it amazes me, from its three different types of columns to its hidden underground that the floor would cover. Even though it was raining it was still an awesome place to visit. The next day we went to the Vatican. A country of its own, this enormous palace is home to one of the most culturally significant museums in the world. Just walking through and seeing all of the art and artifacts can be overwhelming. To stop and look at each piece for a minute would take years. The best part about the Vatican was the Sistenth Chapel. Here is where Michael Angelo was forced to do a form of art work that he did not consider himself good at, fresco painting. It was beautiful and awestruck many people. Also while in Rome I visited the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. Trevi Fountain was the most impressive fountain I have ever seen in my life. It is a must see for anyone visiting Rome. It is said that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain with your back facing the fountain then you would return to Rome one day. I threw in about eight. The Spanish steps were massive steps that tourists love to visit. We hung out there at the top for a while as some other American was playing guitar and singing at the bottom. Hopefully the eight coins that I threw into Trevi fountain will bring me back to Rome someday.

Also while in Italy we stayed in Napoli and went to Pompeii. Napoli is where the Italian side of my family is from so it was exciting to stay in that part of Italy. Pompeii was incredible. This ancient city was preserved after Mount Vesuvius erupted and covered it with lava and ash. The city is very large and I was not able to see the whole thing which is sad but I plan on returning someday to see the rest of it. Throughout the city you see preserved writing on the walls and dug down streets with big rocks every here and there that help you cross from side to side without stepping down into the ditch. One of my favorite things I saw was the casts of the bodies of people that lived in Pompeii at the time of its destruction. The casts are made from the air pockets left by the peoples’ bodies after the lava had covered them. It was a little morbid but it was interesting all the same.

For Thanksgiving we got a week off to do what ever we wanted to do. So, Ry and I set out to do our vacation together. We started off in Berlin, Germany. Overall the city is very big and we did not get to see everything but we did get to see a lot of awesome things. We to the Pergamon museum, which is now my favorite museum that I have ever been to. First of all, it only costs 4 Euros to get in and you get a free headset tour which has basically all the things you need to know in it. This museum holds actual reconstructed structures of gates and other building from around the world. They use real pieces from the original and then they remake some of the other pieces to rebuild it so you can see what it looked like. The most impressive object thy have there is the Ishtar Gate. It is huge and colorful, made from bricks, some of which stick out and make it three dimensional, and all of it is glazed. It is beautiful and I put it up there as one of those things you need to see if you are in Berlin. We also went to the Berlin wall while we were there and it was amazing just to see it and think about all of its history.

After Berlin we flew to Budapest, Hungry. This was my favorite place that I have ever been to and is a place that I would live in. It is a beautiful city and is home to the oldest subway on mainland Europe. We did not stay in this country nearly as long as we should have but we saw some great architecture, including the parliament building, mansions, and the bridges that separate Buda from Pest. The greatest experience here was the thermal baths. We went to the Szechenyi Baths during a blizzard and just sat in the hot water and looked up at all the snow coming down on us. It was gorgeous. It was the highlight of the trip.

After sadly leaving Budapest we got on a plane to Paris. Here we stayed for a while. It was expensive and offered little options for vegetarians. However, we did see a lot of the city. The Eifel Tower at night was pretty with its blue lights and white stars representing the EU. We also went to the Picasso museum which was cool and I found my favorite piece of artwork by him which is called, Spanish still life: Sun and Shadow. We went to the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Catacombs. The Catacombs were awesome but I would not recommend it to those people who do not like seeing a lot of human skulls and other miscellaneous bones. A highlight of Paris was going to the Louvre. I wish that we could have seen everything there but it was just so big that we did not have the time. We saw the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo which I have always wanted to see up close.

After Paris we went to Köln, Germany. Here we also were able to see some good architecture at a gothic cathedral. Around the gothic cathedral were little Christmas shops set up for the season. Köln makes its own beer known as Kolsch and it is delicious. We went to this bar where we did not even sit down, we just stood like everyone else and a waiter will keep bringing you over .2 liters of Kolsch until you tell him to stop. Also that night we went to see one of my favorite bands, Gogol Bordello. The show was amazing. There was so much energy and the crowd never stopped moving. It was a great time.

The next day we were on a plane to Prague for Thanksgiving. Prague was the only place that we did not have a hostel because we had a flight at 6am in the morning. So, we planned on just staying at the bars all night until we had to go to the airport. Before that we walked around the city and took in the scenery and the architecture. We saw Prague castle where it looked like someone was getting married outside of it. From the castle area we looked down at the city as the sun was setting. Then we went to a vegan restaurant and had our Thanksgiving feast. It left us full and tired, just as any Thanksgiving feast would. After that we hit the bars and tried to stay warm. The first bar we went to was filled with older people but we stayed anyway and had some good Czech beer called Primator. We had a few of those then we went to this punkish bar. Here we had a drink that lives up to its name. It was large and blue, and we still do not know why it was blue, it also had an insane amount of alcohol in it. They called it the “Adios Motherf*cker” and it was the last drink I had before jumping on a tram to the train to the airport.

The next day we were in Amsterdam. Here we rented bikes and road around the city and saw what there was to be seen. We went to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Anne Frank Huis. The museums were really remarkable but the Anne Frank Huis was my favorite of the three. It was very moving being inside and watching all the videos of her father and the woman who watched them there. And what trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a trip to the red-light district? So, we headed that way and we saw things that you cannot see in the United States. After Amsterdam we flew back to Athens for class.

Soon after being back in Athens we went to Delphi. The whole landscape around Delphi was beautiful. Delphi itself was amazing and I ran on the ancient track which was pretty awesome. While on the way back from Delphi we got word that a 15 year old was shot by a cop in Athens and riots had broken out and that the city was on fire. We had to be brought to a metro to go back to our apartment. Things really were on fire in some areas. It got really bad the next few days and school was cancelled and our flight got cancelled. Even with all the riots and fire and tear gas, a few of us still went to our favorite taverna down the street for our last meal and to see the owner and some of the other regulars that we became friends with before we left the country (because we found out that we had a flight on Thursday). It was a very sad time filled with delicious food and lots of tears and hugging. Being back in America for less than a week, I miss it already.

On Thursday we flew back to America. I live in Holden, Massachusetts and driving home was a mess. An ice storm had hit. But not just any ice storm. This ice storm made most of the trees snap and fall into the road and take down a lot of power lines. This made an obstacle course for the ride home. When we got home the power was out and we stood outside for a little bit and every second (literally) all you could hear was the trees snapping and falling to the ground. As of right now I still do not have power and am running this computer off of a generator. I went from the fire and destruction of riots to the ice and destruction of Mother Nature.


So, an Update

We are stuck in Athens. Our flight, supposed to leave tomorrow, has been canceled, along with every other flight out of Athens December 10. There are riots, as I'm sure everyone knows by now, but everyone is safe no worries. There are lots of riots and protests around the city because a 15 year old kid was shot and killed Saturday night by police.
We are all hanging out in our Vasilios Konstantinou apartment right now. It's in the neighborhood of Pangrati, which is well south of the hot spots, and has a good police presence, and has been quite quiet this whole time.

If you want to keep up with the news, the bbc has some good coverage of what's going on, so does cnn international.

The good folks at FPU are working on getting us on a plane as soon as possible.

Oh and Ron and Jill are going to cook up some delicious eggplant parm tonight so we are making the most of what we are given here.

All is well. We are safe & witnessing history.



Amsterdam-->Best Place in the World

Friday November 28, 2008

It’s been a week since I have arrived in Amsterdam and everything that I thought this trip would be or even could be, definitely is. I have been able to sleep in until noon or even later, and take my time in getting ready for the day. (Something that hasn’t happened since we arrived in Greece in September) Jess and I had no problems finding each other in the airport, and finding our way to our 5 star hotel, the Marriott. Luckily Jess’ uncle didn’t want us to stay in a hostel so he booked us a room at the Marriott that we both got to stay at for free! I had my own queen bed in which when you laid down you literally sunk into the bed!

Jess and I went to the Rijks museum, which was incredible, and walked to all of the neighboring districts to get a feel for the area. Because we knew Dom and Leanne were coming in only four days, we decided to wait to go see the other museums together. Once they arrived they were able to stay in our room with us, which worked out nicely for everyone. We saw the Anne Frank house which was somewhat overwhelming to see knowing about the story behind this house, and being able to see it first hand was definitely something I never thought would happen. We also went to see the Van Gogh museum, which was a great experience, the only thing I was disappointed by was that I had heard that Starry Night was going to be there, and unfortunately it was not.

Thanksgiving was the most interesting Thanksgiving that I have ever had. The four of us decided to go to the Hard Rock Café since they told us they were having a Thanksgiving dinner there. Unfortunately we waited outside in the cold for over an hour waiting for seats, and finally when we got inside we realized the Thanksgiving meal was about 25 euro! I ended up getting a pulled-pork sandwich, which was not my favorite. After our dinner we walked around and ended up in the Red-Light District, which was a sight to be seen!! It was crazy just walking down the streets and looking into windows and seeing women standing there half naked.

What I wasn’t expecting was how beautiful the city actually was! The people were extremely nice, the city was absolutely breathtaking in the day and even more so at night. Just about every street had a canal going through it, and each and every single building had quaint characteristics to it. Amsterdam is a place that if the opportunity arose to go there, should definitely be taken. It was beautiful in every way possible, and there is so much to do there. It is by far the best place that I have been to, and plan to go back there if I ever get the chance to again!

Pre-Travel Excitement!

Friday November 21, 2008

Dom, Leanne, and I all are sitting around under the large tent that they made in their room awaiting for our trip to come. All the other girls in the apartment have already left, and we were the last ones to go. With my flight at 5:15am and having to be at the airport by 3:15am, we all decided to pull an all-nighter. Amsterdam was the destination, and it was the trip I had been waiting for since I knew I was coming to Greece. Sleeping was something that could not happen with the amounts of excitement that I had.

Dom and Leanne’s destination was London for four days and then meeting up with me in Amsterdam on Tuesday. My plan was to meet up with my best friend Jess from home that I had grown up with since I was in 2nd grade. My thoughts were racing with what was ahead for me. How was the trip going to pan out? Was everything going to work out okay especially since I was traveling alone? I couldn’t even think about meeting up with Jess in Amsterdam, the thought was too good to be true. What are the chances that my best friend from home was able to meet up with me in Amsterdam for 10 days for Thanksgiving break? The fact that I was able to take a break from everyone in the entire group and just chill out with my friend from home for a few days before Leanne and Dom came was a feeling of relief, especially since our group here lives together, eats together, travels together, and goes out together 24/7, a break would be nice!

All I want to get out of this trip is to be able to relax and do things on my own time and to be able to enjoy the city of Amsterdam without having to cram seeing everything in just a couple of days. 10 days to do what I want when I want, and with no one better than my best friend!


So, I had an epic Thanksgiving break.

We spent the first four days in London. I will let Leanne fill you in on our Beatles adventure, because I’m sure she will.

But, for London, I will recommend anybody traveling there, stay at the Globetrotter Hostel. Amazing. Wonderful beds, wonderful people, and cheep food.

Then, we went to Amsterdam.

I love Amsterdam.

The people are all really friendly.

Everyone jumped to help us find where we were on the maps.

That is because we got lost often on our massive hunt for as many coffee shops as possible.


Everyone bicycles there! Saving the environment!

Plus, lots of public transportation! A great break from the trillions of cars in Athens.

Also, Great MILKO. With a capital “G”.

All the cow items around, definitely takes the cake.

All of this is great, but obviously my favorite part of Amsterdam is the wonderful laws.

Coffee shops = heaven.

Great, great marijuana.

And it was legal!


The US could really learn from these concepts.

Get rid of internal possession (NH). Get a reasonable drinking age laws.

Fix our drug problems - drug addicts need doctors, not prisons.

Control the drugs, how people get it, and how old you have to be to get it.

Thanks for listening!

Everybody, visit Amsterdam!


From Final Exam to the Last Judgment

Wednesday morning I woke up, guzzled some coffee, and walked to the University where I had one class and a final exam.  I boogied through the final just in time to hop the metro to the airport for my flight into Rome.  Three and a half hours of airplane and shuttle-bus and we were checked into our hotel and ready for an authentic Italian meal.  We found this tiny pizzeria a short stroll from our hotel where we all had a quick pizza before we retired for the night after a long day of travel and test taking.  At the pizzeria the waiter was very friendly and nice to us and they didn’t let us leave without having an Italian ice on the house.

            Thursday our plan was to tour the Colleseum as well as Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, but we were held back by rain (the worst we have seen since in Europe).  We were only able to see the Colleseum and rescheduled our Palatine and Forum tour for the next day.  We were sick of the rain getting in the way of our trips so a bunch of us split to enjoy the day in Rome anyways.  We trudged through shoe covering puddles as we made an effort to see as much as we could.  We knew that the next day was going to be busy because besides our visit to the Vatican City we were going to be visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well.

            We rose early on Friday so that we could get a jumpstart on our very busy day.  Our first agenda item was to get to the Vatican for our scheduled tour.  We were lucky and got to skip the line to get into the city and were blessed with a wonderful tour guide.  As a group we have become generally skeptical of tour guides so this was a pleasant surprise.  We moved through the museums and were impressed by the works of Salvador Dali, Raphael, and, of course, Michelangelo.  We moved through in awe as we anticipated our last stop, the Sistine Chapel.  With the exception of the works in the Sistine Chapel I was most attracted to Raphael’s “Scuola di Atene,” or “School of Athens.”

            This very abbreviated tour of the Vatican which can take up to seven years to completely see (a fact from our tour guide) took a few hours as it led up to the Sistine Chapel.  After finally arriving in the chapel I was awestruck.  The grandeur and detail in the frescoes were breathtaking, even more so than I expected.  Being inside seamed surreal as if it wasn’t actually happening.  The pieces were so bright and brilliant radiating the beauty, which they are so famous for possessing.  Being inside made me think about the numerous years of labor that Michelangelo dedicated to this work.  Seeing this with my own eyes heightened my appreciation for this place to a level that is indescribable.  My favorite part of the Sistine Chapel is undeniably the Last Judgment.

            After the Sistine Chapel we walked around St. Peter’s Basilica before heading to the forum and Palatine Hill.  At Palatine Hill we were not lucky enough to get a good tour guide, and though these were very cool attractions they weren’t as special as the other things that we had already seen, or were about to see (Pompeii).  From Palatine Hill, though, I can say that I got a beautiful view of part of Rome and was ale to more fully understand the story of Romulus and Remus. 

            Saturday we were headed to Naples so that we could get to nearby Pompeii which I will leave for someone else to talk about. 

Rome and the Coliseum!

Never in my lifetime did I think I would get the chance to study abroad, and when planning for this trip there was only one place in my mind that I knew I had to see either on my own time or through our traveling with the class. The one place that I had been dreaming about for almost all of my life was Italy. Finally we were going and our first stop was Rome. We arrived late at night on Wednesday so adventures of Italy only went as far as finding the most Italian restaurant we could find and testing out the food, which by the way was incredible!

Thursday morning we woke up and headed straight for the Coliseum. The walking distance to the Coliseum from our hotel was not bad by any means and as we approached it. Getting closer and closer to the building it grew larger and more intimidating with each step I took. As we walked inside the excitement I was feeling was overwhelming and unsure of what to expect. We went up in the elevators to get to the higher part of the Coliseum and as you walked out onto the Coliseum to look down at the pits where thousands of gladiators fought, it felt incredible. As I looked around I could picture with my own eyes how it once looked, filled with thousands of people screaming and chanting as they gazed down on the gladiators fighting to the death. The part in which the gladiators would stand was no longer there, but instead you were able to see what was down below those grounds, where they kept the lions and tigers locked up. Our tour guide told us that they do not have a definite number on how many deaths actually took place in the Coliseum but she made an estimate of about a million or so people counting the amount of deaths for each day and for how many years this went on.

Rome was an incredible city, and despite what I had heard about it being a dangerous area I felt as comfortable there as I did in Athens. The city is filled with character from the modern day buildings to the Coliseum or Vatican City that has filled the area with history that dates back thousands of years. Of any place to travel to hands down it would be Rome not only for the historical aspect, but the food was great too!



When you type “Greece November 17” into Wikipedia this is what comes up:

Formation –

The group's name, 17N, refers to the final day of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising, in which a protest against the Greek Military Junta (1967 - 1974), also known as the Regime of the Colonels took place. The uprising ended after a series of events that started when a tank took down the main gate of the Polytechneion and security forces, including soldiers, stormed the campus. 17N self-identified as Marxist. In addition to assassinations, 17N was convicted for a number of bank robberies. Members of 17N claim they stole money to finance their activities.

Today, on the 17th of November we went to the Polytechnic University in Athens and saw representatives from every political party- complete with posters, newspapers, pamphlets, stickers, etc. We also saw on display extremely powerful pictures from 1973. Pictures of storms of people, tanks in Syntagma Square, and signs that wrote “USA = *swastika*”. Wow.

This alone convinced a few of us that we were definitely going to the march this afternoon. This march proved to be a life changing experience.

The different political parties had their own ways of doing things.

Although it was storming incredibly outside, that only fueled their fire.

The Communists were the largest of the groups, and the most peaceful. We marched with them for a while, and nobody gave us any trouble.

The Anarchists on the other hand were pretty extreme. Wearing all black, and blasting head-banging music these anarchists chanted loudly while marching down the street.

A few times the chants included “F*** Americans”. They had the courtesy to say it in our own language for us to understand!

These Anarchists were followed on both sides by extreme police brigades.

These police were decked out, helmets, shields, gas masks, and the whole uniforms.

Why were they wearing gas masks you ask? Tear gas is the way to deal with these anarchists that come out of order.

Many water bottles were thrown at these police, but it did not deter them.

Only when massive chunks of stone were thrown at them did the tear gas come out.

Don’t worry, we were a-ok. A wonderful distance away to view, but not to be involved.

What really struck me personally was the Green Anarchists. They wanted to live natural without all of this hubbub is what I got out of their campaign. Sounds pretty sweet to me!

What really got me was there were secret federal agent type dudes incognito. We had to be careful taking pictures, not zooming in on specific people in certain groups, because we didn’t want them to think we were one of these undercover rats.

I guess that these guys sometimes even start the major riots, like a 50/50 chance! Just to make the marchers look bad. Peaceful marchers makes the marchers look good. The government wants them to look bad. Whhhhat!!

Overall, this day was an eye-opening experience. Very exciting!

What a great day!

One Solution...Revolution

Last night at 11:00pm, we got back to Athens from an amazing trip to Roma and Napoli. The last thing I wanted to do was to wake up at nine to traipse around Athens watching the Communist and Anarchist demonstrations. However, it ended up being a remarkable, eye opening experience that I never imagined I would ever be a part of.

On November 17, 1973 there was an anti-junta demonstration escalated into military tanks charging through the gates of Athens’ Polytechnic University. Very few deaths were recorded, but it was a massacre unlike no other, and hundreds were killed or wounded. The result of this uprising was the restoration of Parliamentary Democracy and the date becoming an acknowledged school holiday.

Today, on November 17, schools and universities close to commemorate the valiant efforts of their living ancestors and loved ones lost in the valiant effort against military dictatorship and tyranny. At the Polytechnic University, classrooms are filled with photos, videos, and presentations of the events that took place on that day 35 years ago. Flowers, banners, and photos are placed in front of the gate where the tanks entered the school. Hundreds of students gather to hand out flyers and talk about the significance of that day and how much change is still needed.

Dmitri, a professor for HAU, offered to go to the commencement march that starts at the Polytechnic University and ends at the United States Embassy. Dom, Ashley, and I were the only girls from Sina who decided to go. And we were sooo glad we did.
We walked for blocks and blocks with police officers on the left and right of us wearing gas masks, holding guns, and carrying shields. It is no understatement to say we were a bit uncomfortable. Dozens of political parties and political groups marched and chanted with drums, sticks, and megaphones. The demonstrators threw rocks at the police, and they retaliated by hurling tear gas at them.

Professor Marra, Ron, Ry, Kayla, and Leslie met up with us, and Dmitri began to translate what the demonstrators were chanting. “The sun will weep tears of happiness when we become free.” “Psomi pedia eleftheria (bread, education, freedom).” And of course the predicted Anti-American Slander (even though Dmitri informed us that most of their platforms and ideas come from pamphlets and thinkers from the US).
It was an amazing sight. Nothing like this would ever happen in the states. Major roads were blocked off, buses and trains were closed, and police were ready for the impending riots. However, in the midst of all this chaos, parents brought their children to witness the March protest march. Ioanna and Dmitri told us that parents brought their children there so that they would learn from a young age that in order to get what you want, you need to take it to the streets and be heard. “One Solution…Revolution.”

United in Napoli

Last weekend, we went on a trip to Rome and Naples. This was especially exciting for me because I have family in Naples who I have never had the chance to meet. When we arrived in Naples, we immediately left for Pompei. I was anxious to get in touch with the relatives, but I was still interested in seeing the site of the city destroyed by Mount Vesuvius. It was incredible—the city was preserved by the molten lava—even bodies. It was so sad, seeing bodies almost a hundred years old, preserved with looks of terror on their faces as the lava overtook them. I left with a deeper appreciation for life.

We got back late so I wasn’t sure if I should call the relatives. I was getting really nervous about meeting them. I almost decided not to call. Then, I looked at my map—most of them lived on the same exact street as my hotel! I couldn’t believe it. It was a sign. I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t try to meet them.

I called a couple of numbers—no answer. I called a third number, Assuntia’s, who is my great aunt, and got an answer: “Pronto?” I had clearly woken her up. “Uh..mi nuna Anna Marie Esposito. Mi madre Diane..” She cut me off, rapidly speaking in Italian, obviously very excited. “Uh..no comprendo..Only Ingles..” We struggled for 15 minutes on the phone, but I got across which hotel I was in. “I be there in 1, 2, 3, 4..minutos!” And then she hung up. Oh my God she’s going to be here in a couple minutes! I couldn’t believe it!

I waited in the lobby, nervously tapping my toe. Then, I was told that she was here, outside calling for me. I ran outside. We saw each other, and literally ran into each other’s arms and hugged for a few minutes. I couldn’t help but cry, it was was like I could feel that we were family, like we knew each other forever. It was definitely a Kodak moment. Eventually, she motioned for me to get into her car with her. Dom hopped in too—obviously eager to meet her too!

She drove around the corner and pointed out “Esposito’s Café.” I couldn’t believe it—my family's café was right around the corner from my hotel! We got out of the car and she began yelling her brother's name, signaling that he lived on the 4th floor. Unfortunately, he was asleep so we didn’t get to meet him.

She brought us to her house next. She gave me a tour, making sure to point out the guest room, which she was very offended I wasn’t staying in. Then, she showed me photographs of my Grammy and Grampy. I had never seen photos of them in which they were so young—it was beautiful. She also showed me photos of family members I had never met: adorable little boys (with my eyes, Dom pointed out!), and her sisters, brothers, etc.

She next drove us all around Naples, showing me everything she wanted me to see. Although we didn’t speak the same language, we got our points across enough, and we learned a lot about each other. We met up with her niece, who spoke English, and helped us out a lot. When Assuntia realized that I was leaving in the morning, she was so sad—her eyes welled up with tears. She thought we’d have so much more time together. It broke my heart. I promised I would come back someday, and she promised to come visit me, too.

We stopped at her favorite pastry shop. She bought me lots of delicious native pastries—my favorites were canolis and babas—and had them wrapped them up for Dom and I. She was too cute! We continued on our tour. She showed me the church that my Grammy and Grampy married in, the funeral home of her father, castles, famous hotels, museums, and my favorite stop: the port. She told me how she used to stroll along here with my Grammy. I knew how happy she would be to know we were there together. She teased me, saying that if I lived there—like I should—I could sit and paint the beautiful bay all day. We linked arms and strolled along the port, laughing and chatting (or trying to), both happy to be in each other’s presence.

She brought us back at about 1:30 and walked me in to have the receptionist act as a translator. She said to call her as soon as I was home so that she could visit! I hope she does! It also became clear that she was not happy that I was leaving in the morning and that I didn’t call her sooner. I felt so bad! She hugged me for what seemed like forever, then pinched and kissed my cheeks. It was sad seeing her leave. We had such an experience meeting each other and I don’t know when we’ll see each other again. It was bitter-sweet; I try to focus on how happy we were to meet each other, not how sad it was that our time together was so short. I walked back up to my room with really sore cheeks with lipstick stains on them.

The next morning, we left bright and early for Rome. We had a couple of hours so I went back to the Picasso exhibit to do some thinking. I had such an experience this weekend I felt mentally drained. I’m back in Athens now and know for sure that life will never be the same.