Friday, June 21, 2013

Please, don't say goodbye

As I sit here finishing up my final project for the course, a part of me continues to stall in hopes I can somehow elongate this whole experience. In a few short and restless hours, the courtyard will again be alive as we go on one of our final journeys to the beautiful volcanic island of Santorini.

One of the most bittersweet moments was an hour or so (0 concept of time at this point) ago when professor Vaseliki came in and said goodbye since she will be leaving early in the morning. I have never been good at goodbyes, and often handle these moments terribly, but inside I have immense feelings that I can not always bring to the exterior. She was an amazing teacher and so patient with all of us, even though we may have been a tough crew to handle some days, her patience and drive day in and day out was admirable.Needless to say I believe we can all walk away with a certain knowledge and understanding of the Greek language; which was not particularly the case a few short weeks ago.

This has truly been a great experience, and although difficult at times, I am grateful for the exposure and aspire to return again one day to take care of some unfinished business. I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be as one by one we trickle out, and there becomes less and less commotion here at the institute. I have grown to love this village life, and the simplicity of it all day in and day out. The hosts here are unbelievable, and at this point are mother figures to all of us. I am so fond of the care they have taken, unselfishly sacrificing themselves and their own interests day in and day out to accommodate people whom they have just met.

The beauty of the landscape is truly indescribable, and pictures provide only a glimpse of this natural and healthy vegetation in close and far sight, from the flower beds, to the streets, through valleys and finally behind the silver lining of mountain ranges. I feel as if I just arrived here, as the time has literally elapsed so quickly; days have blended together, and although at times I feel as if we haven't stopped, I believe that is what has made it so enriching and complete of an experience. The learning here never really stopped in my opinion, whether it be in the classroom during class or in the minutes after, conversations with fellow students or locals, car rides, excursions and many other minute aspects of everyday life we have become so accustomed to.

It feels as if there has been revelation after revelation and I am so extremely nostalgic even though there is still a couple days to go. I cringe inside everytime I hear about departure times or anything relating to leaving this place. The village people have been extremely accommodating themselves, whether it be the Muy Thai instructor down the street, Costas and Andrios in the general store at the bottom of the hill, or even the hair dresser earlier today, everyone has been very welcoming and open to conversation. The embrace of a smile and the willingness to be out of a comfort zone  is something that I extremely appreciate. Communication has not always been easy, whether is be with the women of the institute or town locals, the effort to understand and work through the language barrier says a lot to me.

I appreciate everyone who has been a part of this trip, as you have all enriched me and helped me grow, it may have been difficult always being in the same confines but all in all, I have certainly come away with one of the most rewarding and exciting month of my life.

Thank you all so much for sharing this with me, and I wish you all the best of luck moving forward!

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