Ashley and I decided on Saturday to hop on the metro and then the team bus with the HAU soccer team, and ride with the players to watch their match in the suburbs of Athens. The game was exciting though it didn’t end in the most desired fashion. (Also, Ashley and I were subjected to the coolest weather that we have felt yet in Greece).
Over the course of the ride home, then dinner, and finally the after-party we were able to socialize with some of the players and actually make friends with a couple of them. Costas and Tony are there names.
On Sunday morning Tony got a hold of Ron and I and we got together to hang out. We went out for coffee, which takes about three hours at a Greek coffee shop. Then we walked around chatting and moving in and out of the market. Once we got hungry we stopped for souvlaki and a soda. We continued on our walk talking about Tony’s history class and the different perspectives that he gets learning about things from Greece’s perspective until we stumbled into the student district in the city, Psiri. Here we went to a little bar and ordered up the best cough remedy I have ever had. I have been sick and so was Tony so he introduced me to this Greek remedy called rakomena. This is a heated mixture of Cretan raki and honey. Raki is like Cretan moonshine, and the warm mixture of it with honey did wonders for my cold.
From here we continued walking outside listening to the array of Greek musicians inside of restaurants and on the streets until it was late and we were all tired.
Six hours from the time I walked out the door I began the walk back to my apartment wondering, “what did I do with my day?” After a few moments of thought I came to the realization that I was simply meandering all day. I was walking around, like so many Greek students do, aimlessly looking for conversation and a good time. I realized at this moment that I was one step closer to achieving one of my ultimate goals in Greece, which is to embrace myself in the culture of a Greek student and not simply be an American student who happens to be doing his studies in Greece.
On this trip I have come to realize that I am not a tourist, but rather a temporary resident of Athens. Because of this I feel that meeting other Greeks my age and learning about them and their culture is essential when acquiring a well-rounded set of knowledge and experiences on this semester abroad.