My first overly sentimental blog post #1:
I have never written a blog before so bear with me. I have the freedom to write any opinion I may have but that also means you have the freedom to disagree with me. Be nice.
After about a week in Crete, I am struck by how great a place this is. Scenically, I have seen just about every beautiful natural landscape I have every wanted to in my lifetime. Snow covered mountains, endless orchards (maybe that's not so naturally occurring), picturesque beaches, and bright blue waters that invite you to swim in them among other things. In fact, a walk through the Samaria Gorge will show you most of these things.
The food and environment I cannot find any fault with either. I love the fresh fruit, the wholesome home-cooked meals, and the new textures and flavors I have experienced. It's different than the food served back in the US but people with an open mind and palate will be very happy. Weather wise it's always such a lovely day. It is really hard to complain about weather where it is a dry 85-95 degrees every day and it never rains.
Aside from these things that I felt needed mentioning, there were a few points a wanted to make about what I have learned in a non-academic sense but can help me out with life in general. Learning a new language is difficult. Really difficult. I only am fluent in English and I still butcher it through mumbling and mispronunciation. I forgot how frustrating it is to try to learn something where you are not going to pick it up right away and quite honesty are going to suck at it. I mean hopelessly suck at it. Sorry for the corny metaphor, but for me the Greek Course has been like learning to ride a bike. You are going to fall off, get hurt, it will be painful, you may want to cry, and you may even fly over the handlebars and break something (in the case of this happening in the Greek Course, it can be very messy).
But life is not supposed to be easy and without adversity. While I have the opportunity to feel these kind of emotions in a controlled setting, with people that actually are not judging me based on my total inadequacy when it comes to completing a simple task such as forming a three word sentence and want help me improve. If I learn anything in the class it will improve my ability to communicate with the great people of Crete and will make my experience here so much better. At some point in the future when there is adversity in my life and I feel unable to overcome it (I predict it will happen while working on my Senior Capstone project in the next academic year), I can have some kind of inner strength that I developed during the Greek Class that will help me be able to push through. This is why, if available, that I would recommend to future participants in the program to take the course. You will probably hate it at first and want to quit, but you will learn at least two or three life skills. Mine have been so far: Patience, the ability to keep ones head while everyone else is losing theirs and of course, perseverance.
One last point I have to make is: that many of the people here in Crete have reminded me of the fact that people can be good. Back in the U.S. I only know of one family that I can compare to the people of Crete. They will go out of their own way to make your own life better. If you ask for a piece of cake, they bring you a piece that is half the size of the entire thing. You cannot leave their house without being well-fed. They won’t accept any money if you go out to dinner with them. This is kind of what the natives of Crete are like. Instead of one family of four people in an isolated case, it seems like the entire population on the island act like this. They don’t ask why they should help you, but want to help you. They don’t clean your room and make you meals because it might be their job to do so, but also they really seem like they want to do it. Also they put as much effort as they possibly can into their work. For example, I have asked people back in the states for help with things and more often than not I will get a response that is irritated and in a mixture of words and body language tells me I should not be bothering them. Many of the people working in administrative or authoritative offices and positions in America for various things actually fit this description quite nicely. Contrary to this American social norm, in Crete the people want to help you and when they do help you, they do everything they are capable of doing to help you. And it is not like everyone has to be capable of solving all the problems in the world but maybe if we do what we can, the world will be a much better place. The people here, in the way that they treat others, are doing what they can. Maybe I am naïve to think this or am special treatment, but the benevolent actions of the people here have certainly not gone unnoticed.
What keeps me going is the fact that people can be good. People I have never met before; People who speak a different language and I can hardly communicate with have put extra effort into making my experience here in Crete better than I ever could have imagined it would be.