After two and a half months in Greece, I sit to write this with two and a half days left. It’s strange to think it’s almost over and that the call of the karekla man selling patio furniture a from his pick-up-truck, the roar of motorcycles, Sarah’s meowing, the chants of the fake Native American street performers in Monastiraki, and the endless playlist sung by Ben Kahn—all of which have provided the background noise of my life for the past 10 weeks—will soon be replaced by bells of Baker Tower and the constant dull murmur of First Floor Berry. I’m not quite ready for that yet.
As this trip, which has been so geared towards introspection and reflection, finally ends, I find myself contemplating what it has meant to be here for the past two and a half months and what it means to be going home.
Looking back, I realize that I came on this trip with the wrong expectations. I came expecting to learn how to be alone, away from the people that I love most, and expecting to learn who I am apart from them. I didn’t realize that this would be impossible, that I would almost never be alone on this trip, that away from the people I care about I would form such strong bonds with 16 other people, and that when it was all over I would know even less how to go about being alone.
And yet I know myself better now, not from being alone, but from being with my thirteen classmates, with Sarah, and with Professors Christesen and Faro. By coming to know who they are, what they value, and the experiences which shaped their lives, I have come to define better who I am and what is meaningful to me and why. Perhaps even more importantly, I have become more aware of the sort of person I would like to become having observed and admired qualities in them.
And now I prepare to go home after two and half incredible months in one of the most breathtaking places on earth, having been attacked by a two-toed pigeon as I ate in the shadow of the Acropolis, blessed by an Orthodox priest in the wee hours of Easter morning, nearly pick-pocketed twice, wooed (unsuccessfully) by too many Greek men, and stirred quite often by the sight of begging children and disfigured adults among the privileged shoppers and gleaming storefronts of Athens. I leave having experienced Greece to the fullest with sixteen amazing people. In a few days time I will return home tanner, slightly blonder, healthier both mentally and physically, and comfortable with the person I have become and the people and experiences who have become a part of my life.