I can picture all fourteen of us as we arrived in London, pale, and weak, unsure of what lay in front of us. We’ve all changed so much from that point; from the “first day” British Museum picture–none of us willing to break the three inch personal space barrier—to our last free dinner on Syros during which three of us wore the same outfit (yes, on purpose) while others danced on the street.
Over the past few months we’ve been through a lot; from the humbling and spirit-breaking experience at the British Museum to six hour temple reconstructions to climbing across goat paths up mountains. With only a few small casualties we finally made it out to the other side, exploring mosques in Istanbul and riding jetskis off of the coast of the Greek islands. But aside from the sites, food, and quant Greek villages, in the end, it was the little things that made our trip so incredible: all of Ben Kahn’s nicknames, herding goats back into their pen on Syros, having dance-offs on the beach, playing cards on the bus, making FML jokes, running fake races at Olympia, Barber’s selfies, Jerry’s nonsensical cursings at breakfast, taking reading quizzes on tiny pieces of paper, and snapping pictures of everything but the ruins at archaeological sites.
It’s going to be a hard transition back into the real world. I can picture myself in three weeks, making time jokes when I win a game of pong, seeing Charlie across the green and yelling “TSARLS” at the top of my lungs, freaking out all of my classmates by making comments about ‘babies” (of the animal variety of course), and referencing far too many archaeological, architectural, and Homer-esque terms for my own good. Not to mention the difficult two weeks of weaning myself off of the crack-filled frappes and Monesteraki gyros, all the while bemoaning the lack of peripteros on Main Street. Although I complained about so many aspects of Greek culture, I’m so sad to leave it and happy to say that I can now call two cities named Athens home: the one in Ohio where I spent my childhood, and the one in Greece where I grew up for three months.
Although I may have lost several electronics chargers, my physical and emotional ability to be alone, and quite possibly a large chunk of my dignity in Greece, it was all worth it; I got to see some of the most beautiful places in the world, meet some of the most amazing people in the world, and laugh more than I have in a long time. In the end, TIG (This Is Greece) and I’m going to miss it.