A Home Away From Home

As I sit in my room trying to think about what I should write about for my blog I hear sirens going off outside my window and people laying on their horns every so often. It is then when I realized that these noises are something I have grown so used to in the past couple of weeks that it just boggles my mind. I am from a small town in Connecticut where my back yard consists of cows, alpacas, and chickens. The only sounds that I have grown accustomed to are the ones that come from those animals as well as the calming sound of crickets in the evening.

With this thought, I am surprised that I have gotten so used to everything so quickly, and that's when I realize that this place feels a little bit like a home away from home.
The things that used to scare me when I came to this city are now things I barely even notice. The street bike flying past me as I walk on the sidewalk, the cars going through streets that are one way streets only, and the people cursing and screaming at each other in Greek if one driver did something the other driver did not approve of. Even the riots, people shouting on the loud speakers in a language I only know so much of, and the occasional army groups walking just outside our apartment with machine guns dangling from their arms.

I find it incredible that I have lived here for only a few weeks and that inner feeling of being a tourist has been replaced with being a resident here in Athens. I know I am not Greek nor do I speak the language, but being out of my comfort zone I have found ways in order to survive here. How to handle myself as I am finding it difficult to communicate with the girl who makes my coffee--stay calm, don't get flustered or angry, and take it one step at a time. I have grown confident enough to be able to go up to a stranger and ask him or her for help if needed or to walk around this intimidating city by myself. My sense of direction has gotten better, I now know how to make it home on my own if I ever got lost. As for someone like myself who is a picky eater, I have found myself enjoying the new dishes that the Greeks have perfected and forcing myself to experience new and different things.

I have accepted the culture that is different from my own and have found myself growing more fond of it each and every day.
When starting on this trip there were so many things I had mentally prepared myself for; jet lag, culture shock, getting used to the new people that are on the trip with me, being open-minded to new things. The one thing I did not prepare myself for was feeling like I was home. That comfort feeling you get when you have been away for a few days and when you walk into the door of your home you feel calm and relaxed. The apartment on Sina Street and the people in it have made me feel that way. I could not have asked for a better situation or for better people to experience this with me.

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