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.