Αντίο Athens!

These days, when I’m not busy recalibrating my circadian rhythm, I’ve been spending my time missing Athens in every way. I miss my dear friends, the weather, the Acropolis, and the Greek people. I have spent time thinking about how the semester has shaped my views and my temperament, and what characteristics I adopted there that will inevitably carry over here (sitting at restaurants for four straight hours is the first that comes to mind…). At home I’ve been enjoying many unexpected things, including understanding conversations around me, going outside without shoes on, and regularly eating chocolate chip cookies.

One of the biggest challenges I faced in my last days in Athens was mastering the art of saying goodbye; it is certainly not something at which I excel. I did my best, by spending my last few days with friends I had made throughout the semester at places we learned to love along the way. I went to my favorite cafe for iced coffee with my roommate, visited a favorite restaurant with my neighbors, and had one last spinach pie with my field trip buddies.

Standing on Mars Hill during my last visit to the Acropolis.
Housemate Dinner!

There were many tears at the end, as I said goodbye to friends from California, Oregon, and, oh yeah, Greece, whom I will not see again for some time. I don’t feel I can prescribe any advice on how to properly say goodbye, as I am still saying it even now. But I will give you the advice I received from my roommate Kalya when I texted her in a frenzy when I noticed one of my friends on the verge of tears, (okay actually I do have some advice: Don’t be on your phone when one of your friends is on the verge of tears…). Anyway, Kalya said, “Uh oh. Madison it’s okay. Be emotional. Feel feelings in your goodbye!” So there you have it folks, the best advice I can give, for now.


So to Greece I say, one last time, Goodbye, see you later. I will miss your laid back attitude, your bluest sea, and your blazing sun. And to Michigan I say Hello! I have missed your greenery, your familiarity, and your wide open spaces.

Until next time, Greece! And to you, my faithful reader! Αντίο!

La Despedida

In the last few weeks, everything has finished up. All my classes are done now, and all that’s really left is to buy some presents for people back in the States and to say good-bye to the people I’ve met over this journey. I always really hate good-byes, and I think Peter Pan sums it up nicely, “Never say good-bye, because good-bye means going away, and going away means forgetting.” While I don’t think this trip will soon be forgotten, I don’t enjoy the fact that it is about to become a memory. Soon I will be home and get the usual sling of questions, such as “Did you have a good time? What was your favorite part? What do you miss most?”

How am I supposed to have just one answer? I had a good time by getting to explore this country and culture and making new friends, but I missed my family and friends, and often wished there were parts of my journey that I could share with them. I loved most things about this place: my caring family here, seeing the blue ocean every day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables for cheap, and the excitement that constantly runs through this city. And what do I miss the most? I already miss being here, and I haven’t even left yet.

Yesterday we had a final lunch provided by our program so we could all say good-bye. Some people have already left, and some people leave soon, and it is getting melancholy. I grew close to some of these people, and even those who were not my close friends here were part of the shared experience, so it is sad to have to hug them one last time. I hope that I get a chance to visit them someday, or they can visit me. And I really do hope that someday I can come back to Chile and visit my family here. I am glad I have two more weeks to spend with them, and I know those two weeks will fly by.