Sunday, November 14, 2010


Running: It's one of those things I will always love to do, even if I put it to the back-burner at times. Before I came to Greece I looked for a race that I could run while I was here. Who would have thought that I would run such an amazing race: the Athens Classic Marathon. Registration was at an all time high for their 2,500th anniversary over 25,000 people.

A couple of my friends and I arrived in Athens and made our way to the Petrides lovely abode. We stayed there over night and took the metro in to the city in the morning. When we got there the amount of people was incredible. Of course we got up early so we could enjoy the beginning festivities. . . we found it and we were safe. Little did we know our whole 'before race prep time,' would be interrupted by something all us girls can relate to: The Toilet. We waited in line for about 40-45 minutes to relieve ourselves before we had to barrel out a 10k. We began the race without really stretching, and just jumping right in. . . This happens much too often with me. Note to self: get to the race 3 hours early next time.

The race started with thousands of balloons released into the air. The route of the race was nice, but running the 10k we didn't run the actual 'marathon route.' But the marathoners were able to take their legs through the historical ground. This is how the story goes: A Greek soldier Pheidippies ran while delivering a message for the battle of marathon to announce that the Perisians had been defeated. After he ran his 26 miles from Marathon to Athens to deliver this message he fell to his death::::Marathon.

I finished in the Olympic stadium with hundreds of people sitting in the stands me cheering on. I finished the race in the same stadium gladiators fought in years before.

We moseyed around the town of Athens for a bit before heading back home to Paros.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy.

Before I knew it my 'la-te-da,' time here has turned quickly into a to a blur of time. Where has it gone?

I have yet to update my fellow blog followers of many of my recent escapades. I was able to go to Turkey for 10 days with my classmates. We went places I didn't even know existed, places that couldn't have been created more perfectly in my day-dreamer mind.

Cappadocia and Pamukala: Don't they sound like magical places far far away? Well, they are.

Most of my time was spent in Selcuck Turkey where we were able to explore the towns filled with restaurants and shopping. The currency the lere is worth hardly anything at all, with this in mind it was easy to get carried away with shopping. The food was interesting, yummy I suppose, but it didn't sit well with my stomach. Yuck I know.

Cappadocia: A land made of huge stalagmites with houses hidden in the crevasses. We went to Gorme open air museum where we discovered churches adorned with early paintings of Christianity. This community of around 400-800 people lived and worshipped in this area, hidden from any enemies that would try to take over and eradicate the religion. As a Christian it was very moving to see some of the original first depictions of Mary, Jesus and their followers painted inside a cave.

Pamukale: It stands for land of cotton castles. As you drive up to this, pardon my repetition, magical land it looks like a snow covered mountain. You soon discover that the mountain is made up of calcium which gives it it's white luster. You take off your shoes so you are able to hike up this unique peice of earth to find hot and pure crystal blue pools of water that welcome swimmers. At the top of the cotton castle lies ruins of a once thriving city 'Pamukala.'

We saw the whirling dervish dancers at a Turkish night celebration one night and my hotel room was in a cave. Turkey was a wonderland, beauty around every corner.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Personal Update

I think everyone knows that I am having an amazing time. Wonderful. Fabulous. Couldn't ask for more or less.
It's perfect. And it's not even half way over.

I am trying to immerse myself as much as possible. I do this by opening all my senses to the new world around me. Sound weird? Yes, it looks weird too. I touch, smell and of course look at everything I can. When I walk by a building, a brush my hand against it. When I go by a flower, I of course take time out to smell it. I think if I not only see it, but touch it and smell it too this place will stay with me longer.

I just got back from a 3 mile run to start off my morning, I am training for the Athens Classic Marathon. The word marathon was inspired by an ancient soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens to deliver a message, when he finally handed the message off he murmured 'we won,' and the fell to death. I am honored to run this race, they will be celebrating their 2500th anniversary. The marathon alone capped off at 18,000 participants, and the 5 and 10K bring in at least another 10,000. The website states this is the largest number of registrants ever!! I can't imagine the amount of people. It will be amazing. I am running the 10K (6.4 miles here I come). I rounded up about 14 girls to do this with me, and I am very excited. We will all dress up, we are thinking we will decorate ourselves with balloons. Fun huh?

In about 3 hours I will leave for Turkey. I feel like I am running full speed into something I know nothing about. Turkey came so quickly, and I have no idea what to expect. I will be sure to take many pictures, and document everything so I can come back with lots of stories. Also, everything is very cheap from what I hear- so I will do a bit of shopping. Also, they like when you BARGAIN, this may turn out to be my favorite place. I do love to bargain.

More exciting news: : : I have the opportunity to go to Italy (Rome, Florence) for 4 days. It took me a while to make the decision of whether or not to go, but I got a couple pushes (thanks Kurtis) and I am going. Although money is tight, I mind as well do it. I always save 'for later,' but now is later, and I need to realize that and enjoy the time I have. I also have to realize I will never be able to go to Italy for this cheap, ever. I'm doing it.

I have so much to look forward too- it's almost overwhelming, but in a good way. I am going to miss seeing all my family during the Thanksgiving, and as much fun as I am having here home is still where my heart is. I miss my mom, sister, family, friends, and the kids I sit for. I think about all of you, all the time.

I am off to Turkey (Selchuck and Cappadocia) for 10 days. Gobble Gobble?

A Piece of My Heart

When I love something, I really love it. I don't have many 'favorites,' but the ones I do have are my love, love, love all the time favorites. I don't have a favorite band, or food, type of music, TV show, etc... But anyone who knows me is aware of my favorite color. I don't pretend I have an extreme affinity towards a certain type of food, or music, because I don't. My soul just doesn't work that way. Maybe it's because I know that I can only handle loving a few things because when I love them I love them so much. Keep in mind I don't associate this 'love thing' with people....because I love and care for a lot of people.

I have enjoyed every island I have been to so far, and before our trip to Naxos I would not have had a favorite. But Naxos and it's charm stole my heart. And I can't really tell you exactly why. It may have been the windy weather turning the water and beautifully cold and dark blue as it crashed upon the rocks.

It could also have been that it was just slightly different from the other Greek island I have been blessed to travel to. Instead of all of the buildings washed in white, Naxos has this paired with brown, beautiful rocky buildings. The history that lies in Naxos is also very interesting. The gate of Apollo is here and this is also where Zues is said to have grown up (King of gods). We visited the gate of Apollo as well as the temple of Demeter. The temple of Demeter was built in the 6th century, Demeter was the grain goddess. Naxos is considered the largest and most fertile islands in the Cyclades. When I was walking around the island it felt more fresh, I could smell the leaves in the air, I could see green grass and an abundance of fruitful trees. This is unlike the other islands, where you don't see many plants this time of year. Most of the plants I see are tended to by their owners on a front step in a pot.

We stayed here for 1 night, 2 days. The first day we explored and the second day we took a bus tour. The first night for dinner we went out and ate, get this, Mexican. They had a very famous Mexican spot. And oh my, it was good. I had a quesadilla, which I have been missing it was well worth the 11 euro. We all felt a little funny eating Mexican food in Greece but this guilt quickly subsided when we took our first bite. We were overwhelmed with happiness. Not to be taken lightly.


Not to be all 'cliff' this 'cliff' that but when we took a day trip to Anti-Paros I was able to see more cliffs, and more of the wondrous Greece. The quick 5 minute ferry boat ride took the group and I to Anti-Paros, which is known for it's underground and sea caves. We took a bus to an underground cave, *Cave of Anti-Paros, which was decorated with huge stalagmites. The stalagmite that welcomed you at the entrance dates back 45 million years. The cave was also 60% humidity, and although I don't know what a standard day in Michigan is, the cave was very, very hot and sticky.

After the Cave Of Anti-Paros we ate at a little taverna, where I got small fried fish, and we went on a boat that took us to see some of the sea caves Anti-Paros is known for. I took my newly learned skill of diving and dove into the crystal clear sea. I swam under and near some of the largest sea caves I have ever seen.

When something awkward and wierd happens to me, I feel as if I should tell people about it because I want them to feel a bit of awkwardness that I felt. . .I know, I am so nice. . .OKay, so the skipper was a male around 50 years old with absolutely no reservations and while we were all getting ready to get into the water the skipper had to change into his suit. . . he dropped his skivvies right in front of me! Ouch.

Yaa Saas

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cliff Jumping

I had the amazing opportunity to go to Santorini again. The group went for a lovely 2 nights. I bunked with one of my friends, and the next thing we knew we were taking Santorini by storm.

The first night we walked around the town of Fira to get aquainted with our surroundings. Then we had a large group dinner where, like always, I was astounded by the Greek Cuisine. I then went back to my room read a bit, and energized myself for the day ahead.

We had a choice between a boat trip or a hike around the entire half of Santorini. I choose the hike. Me, and 4 other people, including our professor set out to see Santorini and it's surroundings by foot. It took us over 4 hours to complete, most of which was uphill, or downhill at a very steep slope (exhausting but worth it).

The highlight of the hike for me was a mountain we winded around and were able to climb up. This mountain which at one point was a the capital of Santorini and a husting and bustling part of the island. Now the once capital, Skaros is just rubble. The city was ruined by an earthquake in 1960. It was very tragic and many people died. Now all that if left is what looks like a large mountain. At some points wh
en I was walking I could see remnants of old houses. They would appear as holes in the ground and as I would peer in a little closer i saw that I was looking into an old house, and was actually walking on a roof top. There was a point where some of us decided to get a little 'dirty' and rock climb (no ropes) we made it to the top and saw an amazing view of the Grecian land around us. Off to the distance was a volcano, behind us lied the island Santorini. . .We could see where we came from (Fira) and where we were heading (Iia). It was beautiful, I felt as if I was the 'Queen of the world.'

The entire hike was amazing, ever step you saw a new view of Santorini. If you can imagine a C- shaped island, with villages and buildings only found at the tippity-top of ginormous cliffs changing with every step of your 7-mile hike. Beauty.

And the end of our hike we met up with the rest of the group and we went cliff jumping. It is said that the cliff was about 30 feet, but I didn't have a measuring tap :). Just so you believe I did it, here's a picture... Geesh, I don't even believe I did it.

After we all jumped off a cliff (I love saying that) we headed back up the 500 step path and made it pack to our hotel. We all showered and then went out for the night. We came back, slept, went to the museum in the morning and then we headed back to Paros on the ferry.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I set foot in sacred land today: The island of Delos

The birthplace of Artemis (goddess of the hunt) and Apollo (god of healing, reason and light)- Born to Leto, who was one of the many women Zeus managed to seduce.

A long time ago the people of Athens decided that to properly worship the Gods the island must be pure. In order for the island to be pure. It was ordered that all the graves be dug up and moved off the land (6th century BC-5th century). Also, no one can die or give birth there! If you are pregnant, don't plan to visit Delos- you won't be allowed! No one lives here, it is simply a sacred island filled with amazing ruins. You can get refreshments at a tiny shop, and you can also go to the bathroom (thank goodness). . . but don't plan on much other than seeing ruins that were build about 3,000 years ago. . . breath. . . taking.

Although most of it is now ruins the former beauty can be imagined. We started the adventure with with a hike up Mt. Kinthos. Mt. Kinthos is where the earliest settlements were found on the island, dating back to 3rd Millennium BC. When I finally finished the 15-20 minute walk up the mountain I was awestruck with its beauty. It is believed that Homer wrote up upon that mountain, and I can see why, it is filled with inspiration.

Delos is one of the hottest places in the world. And I can attest to that!

We also went to Mykonos. It was another beautiful island of the Cyclades; Windmills, shopping, and it is also a gay-friendly community. I didn't buy anything here, it was very pricey. The food is also expensive. If you come here expect to pay a pretty penny for everything. Still, nonetheless, BEAUTIFUL.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A walk on the Sea Line brings me to Class.

Classes have begun! Regardless if this time feels like school or not, the homework is slowly piling up. The teachers are phenomenal, and the class sizes are smaller than I have ever experienced. Most are only 6-9 people. And my largest is 14 people. My classes are painting, inter-related media, digital photography, and historical sites. I will also sit in on Greek and learn a bit of the language. Next week we will also have yoga class as an option in the early morning. I plan on going to this. . . and am very excited for the 1 1/2 hours of relaxation and exercise.

This whole time I feel as if I have been living a dream. These past couple mornings have been rough getting up, but when I do get up I go running for 20 minutes or so then take a swim in the Sea, and then run back. Sounds dream-like doesn't it? The Greeks close everything down from the hours of 3-6. This is time of Siesta. It's so hot during these hours they just close things down and take a little snooze. This, for me, is also dream-like. I mean, you are almost 'forced' to take a nap. It's bliss.

My cozy little room is about a 3 minute walk to the shoreline, and all the girls in class are here as well. Most often during class breaks we are able to go lay on the beach.

This weekend (Sunday) we are going to Delos/Mykonos. During our excursions the professors teach. Honestly tho, when I hear the word 'teach' I feel as if 'boring' goes right along with it. This is not the case, however, here in Greece. The history here is unsurpassed. You are walking on Ancient marble grounds, you want to know who once walked here, what type of wars took place, and so on.

For example when I we
nt to the Panathinaiko Stadium (Olympic Stadium, 2004) in Athens. This was one of my favorite experiences thus far. They gave us headphones and as we walked we were instructed to push certain numbers, and it would tell us about that part of the stadium. The tunnel was remarkable. We walked to the end of the tunnel and then we instructed to walk back out. Long. long ago it was made of wood, through time it was refurbished to marble (329 BC). In 1870,1875, 1896 and 2004 the Olympic games were held here, refurbished to accommodate the spectators. I walked down the same tunnel that Greek Athletes came down to celebrate their homecomings. The same tunnel Olympians went down years before. As the headphones radiated with sounds of cheers you imagined yourself as an Olympian, the stadium filled. . . cheering for you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Small Road, HUGE Bus.

We took a bus tour around Paros so we could all get a better view of the island. We got on the bus and stopped at 4 different places.

We went to a beach called Kolibithres, which was absolutely beautiful. The rocks were amazing to photograph, and to see. They were incredibly smooth. We stayed for a short half hour looking around and enjoying the view.

Naussa: Coming to Naussa was a totally different experience than the last time I came here. There is always so much to see and do. This village has the largest fishing port in Paros. Last time I was here I was with my mom, so I was a bit sad. Miss you mom!

Lefkes: A village high up on the mountains, that from what I could tell wasn't filled with many tourists. We went to a large cemetery that had more people in it than the town itself. In their tomb and headstone area they adorn it with Olive Oils, and other things that meant something to that person. It was a moving experience.

We then went to a beach called Piso Livadi. It was stunning, you could see islands off in the distance, and the water (like everywhere) was crystal clear.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fira: Boat cruise: Winery

The town of Fira is what I imagined Greece as before I left. Tiny walk ways with shops and fabulous dining. We ate at a restaurant hanging on to a cliff overlooking the volcano. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen. I love Greece.

Santorini has so much to do. But they say if you go you should do a boat cruise, and go to the Winery. My mom and I conquered them both. . . In one day.

The boat cruise was delightful. We sailed around the island and at one point we could see the entire island wrapped around us. We were were able to see the red, white, and black beach. We also were given the opportunity to swim to the hot springs, and immerse ourselves in the warm and healing waters. The volcano produces sulfur mud which is said to be good for the skin. My mom and I took advantage of the free spa-like qualities that people probably pay millions for and rubbed it all over our bodies.

On our way back we stopped at a point where we could enjoy the view, and we had a wonderful traditional style Greek barbecue.

When we got back to our hotel we decided to take advantage of our last day in Santorini and go to the famous winery- Santo Wines. We had 12 wines to taste with cheese and crackers for clearing your palate. It was a fun experience. I have established a taste for sweet wines, and my mom likes the dry red wines.

We went back to the hotel, and didn't sleep. We stayed up until 12:00am, and then took a taxi to the port. We caught a night Ferry to Athens (port Pireaus). We slept as much as we could. When we got to Athens we did a bit of shopping, then took the metro to meet Mary Petrides. Mary used her Greek hospitality, opened her home to us and we relaxed for the next couple days.

It was sad to see my mom go. Her leaving meant that I was really going to do this on my own. I tried to take the metro but they were on strike, so I had to take a taxi to my hostel. the hostel was not the greatest, but it did the job I guess. I met up with my classmates, and we had dinner and enjoyed Athens.

We woke up @ 5:00 am to catch our ferry. The ferry boat was nice, and before we knew it we would be in Paros: our home for the next 3 months.
On the boat cruise!

Santorini isn't Teeny.

We all know the name : Santorini. We think of large picturesque white washed buildings, and donkeys. - - Coming to Santorini I had this same vision, but it is so much more.

The beauty of Santorini is unlike the other islands because of the way it was created. All the villages are situated at the tip-top of the high cliffs. To get up to your destination you get off the Ferry and take a bus up steeeeeeep and narrow roads, or you can take a cable car. We took the bus. I think both options would be scary.

We had a reservation at St. George Pension in Perissa, Santorini. We took the bus, had to make a couple transfers and finally arrived in Perissa. We walked with our luggage in hand for about 30 minutes. We thought we were lost, we were sweating and obviously had no idea where we were going. When you ask some one for directions they usually tell you 'Oh, it's only about 10 more minutes.' I have learned not to listen. Greeks have such a different concept of time, 10 minutes usually means an hour. Ugh. We finally asked a restaurant to call the Pension, and have them pick us up. At that point, on foot, we were about 5 minutes away. . . Oh well we still got a ride. When we got there we realized it was not what we expected. After a 2 hour ferry boat ride, and another treacherous hour climb up and around a mountain you just want a nice place to lay down and cry :) When we showed us our room, this was not the oasis we were looking for. We found another place that suited our needs, and after we checked in we ate the best meal ever, and then I got a massage on the black beach of Perissa. A dream perhaps?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Naoussa, Paros

There are a thousand islands in Greece, all of which are very different from eachother. Athens is very congested and busy and the islands take on a realxing 'Don't worry be Happy, Eat, Drink and Love life feel.' Being in Paros was a wonderful change of pace when comparing it to Athens. To be honest I was a little worried when I first got there assuming all of Greece would be much like it's capital, Athens. But I was pleasantly surprised when I got to Paros and there was a slower pace. The people here in Paros are very nice as well, so accomodating to my inability to speak Greek. They help out with everything they can. Thank you Parians!

My Mom and I were able to look a bit around the school. and meet on of my Professors. It was good having my Mom see where I will be taking classes and who I will be taking them from.

We went to Nauossa today (a village on Paros), the fishermans village. Took the bus for only 1,40 Euro and it was a 40 min drive. We had a ham and cheese crepe, and walked around the area.

Ferry Ferry Quite Contrary

After dinner with the Petrides we took the bus to the Port in Athens to set sail to Paros (where I will be staying in Greece). Unfortunatly, we missed it and had to wait for the next one to come along two hours from then. We had originally planned on arriving at the dark hour of 10:30 pm, but with the hour delay and the slow ferry we set in at an even darker hour of 1:30 am. We took a taxi ride to the cozy Marinos Hotel, and had a wonderful nights sleep.

The next day we spent it on the beach. All the beaches are lovely and adorned with cabanas and chairs. We relaxed and enjoyed the sun. Then I decided to treat myself to a smoothie, little did I know that it would be 9 Euros! I enjoyed it very much, but this seemed a little pricey. After the beach we shopped and dined. All the stores and resturants are arranged beautifully along the Sea. We would walk, sit and watch the fishermen make their nets, listen to the beautiful language of Greek spoken by all- what a wonderful life.

Oompa! How could I forget I had my first REAL, authentic Gyro that day in Paros?! Yum, yum and a little more yum.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Sea

We went to the beach today and I took my first dip into the Mediterranean Ocean! Mary took us to a secret jump of spot and we swam and swam. You feel like a feather in the sea, and after a while I could feel the sea taking away my worries and stress. I was in Greece, one of the most beautiful places in the world. We then were taken out by the Petrides to a lunch after the swim. We had beer, authentic greek salad, Kalimera (squid), and some other small fish resembling sardines hat we had to rip the spine out of before eating. I however ate the spine, in spite of Mary and Efie telling me I didn't have to. I listened to the old, beautiful women sitting at the end of the table--Mary and Efie’s mother Coolea. She said it’s good for you to eat it, and it beholds much calcium. Since I hadn’t eaten milk I gave it a go. Delicious. We then set out on the bus to get to the port of Pireus to ride a ferry to Paros. Another scuffle—We missed the ferry, had to surrender the money, and bought another one. I am currently sitting with my 3 bags (my mother with 1) waiting to get on a night ferry that will drop us off at 1:00am. We will have to try and beat our exhaustion and find our hotel with all of our luggage! Bring it on!

Greece Conquers the Bohn's

My mom was reunited with her friend from high school, Mary Petrides at the airport and soon we would be conquering Athens, or maybe I should say it was conquering us. We ran into a bit of troubles when us two Americans were on our own. It all started when mom feel in the street because she didn’t see a pole. We then had to catch the Metro to meet up with Mary. To make a long story short I thought (paranoid me) that we were being followed by a man, I also could not locate the sign so I was unsure that we were getting on the right train. When I finally decided to get on we were a bit too late. I quickly got on, but my mom was another story. The doors shut too soon and caught her suitcase. I attempted to use my super strength to open the automatic doors, but it was no good. Oh no! Mom’s suitcase! Oh no! All her belongings were hanging out of the large train. She had just barely a grip on the handle and the rest would be ripped from her hand if she didn’t move fast. Fortunately some strong Greek man tried to manually help me open the door before it started moving. His muscles must have been bigger than mine because he propped the door open. When the door finally flew open so did my mom. She went flying right onto her back. When she and her valuables were finally in the train it started full speed and she again, got pushed around by the momentum. Remember, this was all in a span of seconds! But we made it! The whole train erupted in laughter, and so did I. Ahh, the metro.


The plane ride was somewhat easy, and after a air sick adventure before we knew it we were in Greece. On our final trip from Montreal to Athens we had a screaming 3 year old sitting right next to us, that paired with small seats meant sleep would be sparse. I got air sick (or so I think anyways). I woke with my light brown shirt covered in sweat, making it appear dark brown, with a terribly stomachache. Somehow I made it to the restroom. When I stumbled out I felt faint, and looked for a flight attendant, when I found one she quickly sat me down and gave me ice for the back of my neck and some Gingerale. After that she sat my in the back of the plane where I could lay down. I felt a lot better after I got an hour of sleep. 8 hours and 45 minutes later we were landing in Athens, Greece!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I have always known it, but now I have a word for it- Turophile. I love cheese and I consider myself a cheese connoisseur. I defiantly fancy cheese..... Oh yes! I love the tartness of swiss, the delectable firm texture of sliced cheddar cheese on a crispy cracker- I put cheese on everything. Growing up every time I went out to eat I wouldn't even have to look at the menu, it would always be a Grilled Cheese. . . Cheese, cheese, cheese, please, please, please.

The reason I am letting you know of one of my greatest downfalls is that I am going to be in a new country, with an entirely different language, and I discovered I don't know how to say cheese in Greek. I am going to teach myself only a few words before arrival, and cheese is one of them.


This is how you would pronounce cheese in Greek. If all else fails and the food isn't appealing to my taste I will just mutter "TEEREE!" And I know I will be satisfied!

Yes, it's true I just dedicated a whole blog to cheese.

Say Cheese!
ψημένο στη σχάρα τυρί

Turophile: (toor'-oh-file, tyoor'-oh-file) n. a connoisseur of cheese; a cheese fancier. [from Greek tyros "cheese" + philos "loving."]

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Antevasin: A Sanskrit word was first introduced to me in the book 'Eat Pray Love,' by Elizabeth Gilbert. Antevasin means, 'one who lives at the border.' In the book it describes an Antevasin as a person who leaves the bustling center of the worldly life and lives at the edge of the forest where spiritual masters dwelled. I, however, tweaked the meaning a bit so I could call my self an 'Antevasin.' I will leave my comfortable bed, my mom, my sister, my friends, my job (which I adore), my love. To go live on the border of Greece, just steps away from the Aegean Sea. I will live and explore the world of art. In this 'world' I hope to find healing, friends and adventure.

The journey begins on August 30th, where my mom and I will fly out of Grand Rapids and arrive in Athens a day later. I will have the company of my mother for a mere 10 days before she leaves me to fend for myself.

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