I still can’t believe I’m in Greece. I can’t believe I’m in Greece at a free R.E.M concert. I can’t believe I’m in Greece, at an R.E.M concert, and in the front row. These thoughts repeatedly crossed my mind after I had made my way through the sea of people, dodged many elbows, and been pushed and pulled through the crowd until I was as far forward as I was going to get without being on the other side of the barricade myself. This prime location didn’t come without making some sacrifices, which meant I would subject myself to being squashed against other humans for the next hour and a half while we all joined together to sing and groove along with Michal Stipe.

Although this concert was the highlight of my weekend, two other kids from our group had reasons for this being a great weekend in Athens. On Thursday we celebrated Caitie’s 20th birthday, and the very next day we celebrated Ron’s 22nd. We took Caitie out for a night of fun and dancing at some local bars and clubs and the next night Ron’s birthday was celebrated at one of Athens’s classiest establishments. I have to admit I’m surprised we all made it to class this morning considering the toll this weekend must have taken on everyone’s liver and ability to function off of very little sleep. However, these are small prices to pay when the memories and fun to be had far exceeded this.

As R.E.M took their final bows and I made my way back through the crowd which I had hours earlier fought my way through, I felt reluctant to leave but immensely satisfied with the show that they performed. I never would have guessed that I would see one of my favorite groups up close in a foreign country. The night came to a close as a group of us made our way to our favorite taverna in order to rest our feet and satiate our hunger. Although it was a Sunday night and well after midnight, we knew we could count on Stavros to be open and greet us with the usual smiles and whatever delicious food was still left. As I looked around the table I noticed everyone’s tired faces and unusual lack of energy, and I knew this was the result of a great weekend.

Oh, and did I mention I got to touch Michael Stipe?

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