Monday, June 17, 2013

Everything is glam metal and nothing hurt. (?)

American pop culture brought to the island of Crete has consistently proved to be thirty years behind.   For the group of us that ride on the bus to our destinations, this has become an incredibly enjoyable characteristic of the island.  You see, our driver on the bus has over 90 songs to choose from, all of which are either eighties hair metal/'glam rock' or a more recent artist: Mariah Carey.   It's as if these records were shipped over seas three decades ago and got lost on the way, ending up on the isolated island of Crete just a few years too late.  This has proved to be a uniting force among all of us.  The Final Countdown has become a group favorite, as who in their right mind would opt out of a sing-along?

 The dreadfully slow bus rides have become an unforgettable memory.  Whether it be tallying the cars that pass us illegally (by U.S. standards, of course), or inventing games to pass the time- our trips to every corner of the island have become some of the most memorable parts of our excursions.  I like to think of my classmates and I as a slightly dysfunctional family of sorts, not completely dissimilar from the Wild Thornberries.  I say that with love.

Yesterday, we took the beloved bus to the ancient Minoan ruins, where we saw the incredible palace and enjoyed an extremely thorough tour.  Last night, we hitched a ride on our bus to the home of Tazula, one of our hosts at the institute, for more traditional Greek food (I may have butchered the spelling of her name, I apologize).  Today, we drove to the U.S. base here on the island, where we tasted our first 'American' meal in weeks (it was actually Mexican style cuisine,  but you get the point).

As you can tell, the trips we take are many and versatile.  Until the trip to the navy base today, my contact with American norms were limited.   The juxtaposition of the two cultures has been made me realize the drastically different lifestyle I live at home.  I can safely say I appreciate life at home, but I also wonder how things remain so guarded here on the island.  It's an incredibly beautiful thing to realize the importance of a very specific identity here, as I see the preservation of not just Grecian culture, but a more specific Cretan culture as well.  Part of me would like to say we haven't experienced anything like this in the United States, but when I realize that we are able to unite over Poison (the American hair metal band) and Texmex, I realize it's definitely all perception.  We have a culture of our own, too.

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