so i’ve been here in greece just under a month (3 days shy to be precise), which means that i’ve been here on paros for like 3.5 weeks. that seems like no time at all, and yet it’s just today that i feel like i’m finally fully into the groove of life here on the island. today everything just seemed to flow so well; i think i finally realized just how well i know my way around and how well i’ve gotten to know myself. it all came together today and it’s such an amazing feeling.

i woke up early (8:40am, it’s my earliest day) and while i was getting ready to head off to my photography class i randomly decided to chat with a guy friend back home. hearing from him and catching up was amazing, and it made me realize a few things: just how important living my own life is to me and the knowledge that i’m okay leaving my comfort zone completely in order to grow as a person. chatting with him reminded me of all that i’ve left back in the states: family, best friends, acquaintances, professors, all these people that i have an amazing connection with. it was a stark reminder of just how far away all of those people are, and yet, of how okay with that i am because i’m growing so damn much from this experience. i’m doing what’s best for me right now, and when i return i’ll bring so much more back with me and help those around me to grow in return.

this view of the aegean reminds me everyday of how lucky i am to be here and get to experience this

so anyway, an intense morning followed by an amazing photography class. gahhh i’m completely and totally loving this stuff so damn much. maria (the teacher) and i went over my proof sheet again and i decided on another photo to print, one that i actually took while wading out up to my chest in the sea just because i absolutely loved the way the light was reflecting on the water. it turned out breathtaking, all sparkles and ripples and subtle differences in grayscales. simplistic, and yet detailed and rich. it’s the kind of picture that makes you feel like you’re there; the kind of picture that captures what is, to me, one of the biggest draws towards the water here: the fact that it sparkles and glows and shines all day everyday. i ended up making two prints of it because i’m so in love that later on in the program i’m going to treat one with a velvet black super-dangerous-and-poisonous chemical so that it won’t fade or deteriorate. creating art really is one of the best ways to start the day, i’m so glad to be here at the HISA art program.

laying my prints from today out to dry

after my amazing experience in photography it was time for greek language, which naturally, i was still completely terrible at. surprise surprise. this one hour class somehow manages to drag on longer than any of my other classes, and they’re all two hours long each. i know that by now most of the greetings and basics should at least be somewhat familiar but they’re not. greek does not click for me at all, and it wasn’t until i started this class that i realized just how much i miss and love the spanish language. i was at least half-ass good at that! this i just constantly fail at!

next was my hour break and hannah and i immediately set off for a semi-close-by bakery to snag cheap sandwiches for lunch (seriously, it was the size of my head for 2.5 euro, score!). we came back and sat at a cafe with a few other girls from greek class and chatted and enjoyed being so near the sea. i’m always absolutely entranced by the aegean, i’m so glad that it’s always near by. i find it so inspiring.

at 2:30 we all headed back up to the school for a brief meeting about our mid-term prague and paris trip since we leave for that on monday. gahh it seems so close! i’m just getting used to paros and now we’re headed off to stay in various hostels for 10 days? oh well, this is the trip of a lifetime. i can’t wait to see prague and i’ve been itching to get back to paris ever since i went there four years ago.

philosophy class followed the meeting and i actually ended up getting kind of stern with a guy in the class. barry told us to all come up with three things that worry us that we all have in common; he left the room and we began discussing all sorts of topics that we each were worried or concerned about. we had decided on two: the well-being of people we care about and our own mental and physical health. most of us agreed that money/economic hardships was another thing that was a cause for worry in our lives, everyone except one guy. when he disagreed though he got super angry and frustrated and left the room for a minute, and when he came back he was okay. barry returned and we discussed the two points that we had come up with, and then the third item came up: money. this kid just could not let it go though. he seemed so genuinely frustrated and irritated with all of us that we would worry over our financial situations, he just really didn’t get it. which is completely okay with me, we all have differing opinions and i understand that. but the manner in which he replied? it was rude and demeaning and he basically sounded like some spoiled rotten trust-fund kid who had the world laid at his feet to do as he pleased. i broke in. i was so irritated with him that my voice was dead calm (i take after my wonderful father in this way, preferring to stay calm and talk down to someone rather than take the unnecessary steps to get angry and yell) as i gave a long monologue about how one could live a perfectly fulfilling life and yet still be concerned with their financial situation. i went on for 5 or 10 minutes being snippy and short but calm and polite and when i finished he looked quite taken aback. i’m pretty sure the people here think that i’m super shy and will just go along with whatever happens, which is true to an extent, but today i couldn’t let it go. oh well. we shall see how this prague/paris trip goes then eh?

the rest of my night was spent doing loads of laundry (since it turns out that i’m allergic to the detergent here and i’ve had to now buy super-sensitive-baby-detergent and rewash all of my stuff), wandering around town (where the cute old greek men from pepe’s souvlaki shop have really taken a liking to me), walking along the pier (where i’m constantly smiled at, greeted kindly, and sometimes creeped on) , and going for drinks with hannah and one of the professors (a lovely end to the night for sure).

dusk in paroikia

it’s amazing how normal all of this is starting to feel. it’s no longer like i’m always walking in a dream world where everything is too good to be true, this is my life and it’s mind-bendingly fantastic. i’m at last getting into the groove of life here on paros, and greek island life sure is something! i don’t know how i’ll ever leave..