I’m on a boat. This particular boat happens to be the last boat ride of the trip, and since I’ll be heading home the day after tomorrow, it’s time to reflect a bit on the insanity that has been the last three months. Having already been on the English FSP in Glasgow in the fall, I knew what living abroad for a term and experiencing another culture was like. However, the Classics FSP is an experience unlike any other, and going into it I had only a vague idea of what it would really be like. So perhaps the best way to summarize the trip is to list some of the things that I’ve learned on the FSP during my time in England, Greece, and Turkey:
1. The British Museum has a mummified monkey in its Egyptian storerooms.
2. Intelligently designed showers and the necessity of shower curtains are concepts that escape the builders of Greek hotels.
3. The best Ferrero Roche flavored gelato in the world can be found in Monastiraki.
4. Try as I might, I can not bring myself to enjoy gyros.
5. Classics jokes never get old.
6. An American restaurant with large drinks is incredibly exciting when you’ve been in a foreign country long enough.
7. Retsina is the only Greek alcohol that I will drink willingly.
8. The American Embassy in Athens looks like a high security prison from the outside, and looks like the DMV on the inside. However, they can glue together a replacement passport for you in about two hours. It will undergo excessive scrutiny any time you try to use it thereafter.
9. In the whole of Greece, spiced rum can only be found in select locations in the Cyclades.
10. All prices are negotiable in Istanbul, and the Grand Bazaar has really cool souvenirs.
11. 14 Classics students + 1 amazing TA + 15 digital cameras + 1 video camera = 1 hilarious blog.
12. Riding in a Greek or Turkish taxi is akin to taking your life in your hands.
13. A 9 hour bus ride through the Turkish countryside actually isn’t that bad; small high speed ferries are infinitely worse.
14. The Naxos airport consists of two rooms, and the baggage claim is one conveyor belt with a window opening onto the tarmac for the bags to go through. We were also the only plane there at the time.
15. There are at least 95 lizards that live in the ancient marble quarries on Naxos.
16. Flora and fauna are frequently more interesting than archaeological remains.
17. The largest grasshopper ever lives at Ephesus.
18. Turkish and Greek stray cats and dogs will eat almost anything.
19. A Turkish dessert bar makes the best breakfast.
20. After spending at least 2 months in Greece, you’re officially allowed to sneer at the tourists.
21. Dark berry mocha frappucinos should definitely be a feature of the American Starbucks menu.
22. Every Greek taverna has basically the same menu.
23. Peripteros sell everything, from porn to komboli to Kinder hippos.
24. “Koala bears grow on trees.”
25. There are worse ways to spend finals week than hanging out in cafés and beaches on the Aegean.
26. Much as I enjoy being a gypsy traveling from archaeological sites to Greek hotels and back again, there’s no place like home.