Hello! Things have finally settled down enough for me to sit down and write my first blog. A few days ago I arrived in Athens, the ancient center and modern capital city of Greece. After spending a nine-hour flight listening to music and pointedly not thinking about the future, I was grateful for the busy schedule of orientation and the many new people who distracted me from my initial nervousness.
My new apartment is in the Pangrati neighborhood of Athens, a ten-minute walk on streets lined with orange trees to the Academic Center, the historic Panathenaic Stadium, and the National Gardens. Next door is a fruit stand and an endless choice of cafes, where I stopped before my first orientation to get a yogurt with honey and a frappe with milk and sugar.
The Greek hero Hercules was supposed to have had the strength of ten men—likewise, each Greek coffee seems to have the strength of ten ordinary coffees. Both coffee and alcohol are stronger in Greece, and are meant to be enjoyed over the course of hours (not all at once!) in a café or taverna with friends. This is part of a highly social culture which sets aside time for friends and conversation and fuels the thriving nightlife of Athens. While I was a little unprepared for the urban density of Athens, I am starting to appreciate the sounds as well as the sights: the revving sound of mopeds, the music and laughter of people out late, and the occasional crash of a dropped glass from the hotel bar across the street.
I am looking forward to exploring Athens in the day and the night, and to posting more marble-and-cypress aesthetic pics for your enjoyment. Γειά σου!