Arrivederci

This trip has been a literal whirlwind. I feel like Greece has thrown me in a blender and turned it on. There were many frustrations on this trip that disheartened me at times, but nonetheless, I have gained so much from this trip and I am so incredibly grateful. Before this trip I was terrified of interviewing and I would often stutter and come off totally unprofessional. After interviewing for 5 weeks, and in some cases interviewing aggressively to get what I wanted and what I needed *cough cough figures for the ancient ruins* *cough cough globe guy that gave me nothing about his life*, I not only feel so much more confident in my ability to have a conversation with someone, but also in ability to  write  a stronger article.

I’m grateful that this trip has showed me that I do have a true passion for journalism and that I do want to pursue it as my major. I won’t lie I had second doubts for brief periods of time during the trip but I have come to realize that this profession is something that makes me happy and makes me proud of myself at the end of the day. This trip has hardened me too. I used to hate having people read my work and criticize it and I used to believe that my writing wasn’t on par with others, that I was behind. After Greece, I will gladly give my work up for dissection, because there is always room for improvement. I no longer take edits as harshly as I would have a year ago.

Additionally, another thing that I’ve discovered is that while I’m not as experienced as other students were on this trip, I have come to realize that I can write, and that I am proud of the work that I produce. It’s such a liberating feeling to feel proud of yourself and your work and I cannot properly express the gratitude that I have in being able to walk away from these intense 5 weeks with confidence and pride.While I am still daunted by J2, co-op and the profession of journalism as a whole itself, I feel more prepared to face it head on, and I have this invigorating feeling of ambition and drive that I wouldn’t have gotten in a classroom experience.

On another note, my happiness and satisfaction of this trip also stems from the people that I met. I’ve met some people that have made me laugh when I’ve been stressing out over archaeologists ignoring me, made me want to get up on a disgusting rainy day to go exploring, made me smile in the morning when my hair was wet, my eyes heavy and my mood foul. The trip was so incredibly enriching working wise, but it was the people that really solidified my experience as a happy one. I cannot properly express my gratitude and my happiness at having met these people because words, like pictures, sometimes just can’t do the justice.

A special shout out to Pax for being the best roommate ever, for getting me coffee when I was sleeping late, for leaving a note on our room door at 3 a.m. wishing me a happy birthday, for not only accepting but also supporting my incessant need for food at weird hours of the night and day and for accepting me as the messy, disorganized and generally disheveled person I am. A special shoutout to Isabelle for being a ray of sunshine and for joining me in my unhealthy obsession with sangria, for coming out with me in Thessaloniki that one night when the sky was dark and sad, and for calming me with a hug and for giving me scratchies when I sad or stressed out. A special shoutout to Sophie for the constant laughter (which gave me abs) and the never ending conversations on the most trivial of subjects, for listening to me when I needed to rant about even the smallest inconsequential things, for sipping on wine with me over huge platters of meat and greek salads, for walking side by side with me in museums and walks. A special shoutout to Brandon for almost always being on the same wavelength as me, for hearing me out and understanding when I needed to get away, for actually getting away with me to cafes and hookah bars, and for basically being the exact same person as I am, maybe just a tad bit taller and hairier. The rest of the people on the trip were beautiful and incredible in their own ways and I thank them for showing me so much kindness and happiness that it would make me miss our trip while I am at home where I haven’t been for six months. Much love for all of you, vi voglio un mondo di bene!

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Sunset, dinner & good company

We have two days left in Athens, two days left in Greece, two days left enjoying the company of some pretty great people. Last night I had dinner with Sophie, Isabelle, Paxtyn, Olivia, Luke and Isaac in the Plaka district right underneath the Acropolis. The restaurant was elevated on a balcony and backdropped by mountains set against a tinted sky. Wowza in other words.

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could it be any better?

 

With a glass of white wine in my hands, I listened to Greek music weave through the air and mingle with the conversation at the table. I’m ready to go home, I haven’t been home in six months, haven’t seen my family and friends in half  a year. However, I can’t help but have a bittersweet feeling at leaving.  I will miss the never ending laughs with Sophie over glasses of wine and Greek salads, Isabelle’s calming scratchies and hugs, Paxtyn’s constant beautiful presence in the room that we share. I’ll miss hearing Greek be tossed around like a ball, hearing the music at night as I walk through winding streets peppered with graffiti. I’ve had many laughs in these past five weeks and I couldn’t be more grateful and happy to have met such great people in my life.

 

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happy!

 

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discussions

In the clouds

The other day I sat in the sky with my legs crossed and my head tilted back to catch the sun. I don’t particularly consider myself a spiritual person but sitting in a monastery in Meteora, with a sea of green below me and a sea of blue above me, I felt like I was floating in between two dimensions. It was quite frankly a metaphysical experience and I can’t even properly put into the words the calmness that swept through. It felt sweet and pure and it tasted like a summer breeze.

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view from where I was sitting 

There is no proper way to tell you how it felt to have golden drops of sunshine fall on your face and feel a bird whistle pass with a sweet song in its throat as you dangle over a this huge expanse of nature feeling so small and so insignificant. It really made me think about how there is so much in the world, so many things that are different from Rome and from Boston, so many things that lie outside of these two bubbles. There are entire worlds out there waiting to be seen and that the things that we worry about back home in our lives are so irrelevant and small in the grand scheme of things. It makes you realize that we obsess over such small trivial things that we allow to dictate our life when in reality they don’t matter in the slightest. In the end, when we’re gone, places like Meteora, with its imposing rock faces and climbing vegetation, will still be here – they are immutable.

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view of where I dangled my legs

It makes me think that no one is going to remember me, no one is going to know or care that I sat there and had these thoughts and that I lived the life that I live because there are so many people coming through this planet and they’re experiencing life in a flurry and that there is just no time to pay attention to everyone.  And as I sat there thinking things like this, I realized that I was ok with them, that I don’t mind in the slightest that my mark hasn’t been left and that I am small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I am happy and grateful to have experienced a place like this and I hope that someday someone in the future will be able to have the same experiences that I will. I always find myself thinking and wondering if someone is going to sit in the same place that I did 10, 50, 100 years from now and think the things that I thought or feel the things that I felt. I’m excited for people to continue seeing places like this and to continue taking something magical away from their experiences.

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Sophie and I 

I have designated Meteora as one of my quiet spots. I have only 4 in the world, and they are places that have touched my soul and made my heart sing. The others include Mount Atlas in Morocco, a cliff in Northern Ireland, and a park in Rome. They are places where I feel absolute calm and I hope one day to return to them soon. In short, this day was incredibly beautiful, in every way. Even when it rained for those 3 minutes, the blue of the sky shone even brighter and the green of the vegetation seemed to glow. Once again, I’m not a spiritual person, I am not one that tries to seek their inner calm through things like yoga. I do have to admit however that I felt something in this place, something a little different, and I hope that one day soon I can come back and feel like that way again, and maybe bring someone to share it with.

 

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Isabell and I relaxing on a ledge overlooking the drop

The Mountain of the gods

Mount Olympus. The home of the gods. The mountain that I read about in every Greek mythology book as a kid. To think that where I placed my feet, someone thousands of years ago was doing the same.

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Foggy, damp and chilly. That was my experience with Mount Olympus and truth be told I wouldn’t want it any other way. The fog made the experience so much more dramatic, it took my breath away. The cover of mist was like a screen that had been dragged along the peaks of the mountains, perhaps by the gods themselves. I felt like I was being draped in a shawl of dew.

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foggy

It was a long trek. Constantly going up and down, hearing leaves crunch underneath our shoes, seeing our labored breaths color the air, hear the sound of rain on the trees above us. I won’t lie, I got chills. I could have lied down on the floor the whole day and listen to the trees get peppered with drops of rain. I could have stayed for hours feeling the rain patter on my face and drench me to the bone. I could have stayed for days on Mount Olympus. Each rise and fall of the land, no matter how small, was a treasure, something worth exploring.

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Isabelle and I frolicking in a field

The Ancient Greeks weren’t wrong in feeling some sort of otherworldly magnetism to this mountain. It’s as if the mountain is a living, breathing force. It sucks out all the elements in the atmosphere and concentrates it in its general area.

 

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wowza

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Drip Drop

The sky is sad today, it has been crying all day. At times it’ll sob and big gusts of wind and buckets of water will gush down with the force of a waterfall. Sometimes it’ll sniffle and water will trickle down as slow as a tear rolling down a cheek. Either way, the sky is having a rough day.