I came here expecting what everyone had told me: that it was beautiful, that everyone spoke English, etc.
That's sort of a lie.
Everyone does not speak English. Well, they do, but they speak English like I speak Greek. They have the very basic words down, but neither of us know enough to communicate with each other. I can hardly order a gyro. It's frustrating. Sometimes I can't believe I came to a country where I don't even know their alphabet, let alone language. I am getting better at the alphabet though; remembering that a "p" is an "r" and an "n" is a "v".
The country is pretty- all flat, flat, flat, until out of nowhere-mountains. No hills, just flat land until it rises up into the clouds. But they don't take us to the places they take tourists. A lot of the country is extremely rural or run down. I'm not kidding when I say a good portion of the population of Dion uses their tractors as cars. I've driven by abandoned cars, billboard's advertising things from last year, buildings so dilapidated they look like something out of a World War II photograph. It has it's own kind of charm, but even Thessaloniki and Katerini have been like this. It was surprising, I was expecting quaint white and blue houses with cobblestone streets. I think that might be more on the islands. I do like it here, it's just different.
It actually got cold here the past few days. We're in northern Greece and it went from being about 85-90 degrees and 80 degrees at night to about 65 and in the 50s at night. It was pretty shocking-suddenly we were all in jeans and sweatshirts and using our comforters. Obviously 50 degress isn't normally that cold to me, but I guess we had all adjusted to the heat better than we thought.
Lauren is climbing Mt. Olympus right now. I spent the night in Margot & Jenna's [two sisters in the program who have been in Thessaloniki/Rhodes since the summer] apartment. We took the bus up with Charlotte, Steve, Paul and John. Carolyn and Sondra are living with Margot & Jenna once we all split up, so they were there too. And, true to his forgetful nature, Mr. Tomazos didn't tell his daughter than any of us would be in the apartment, so she was there too. There are 3 sets of bunk beds, one small and one large mattress for the 10 of us. It wasn't too cramped though, the apartment has 3 bedrooms. The bunk beds are hardly comfortable though. But Tomazos's daughter made us all breakfast in the morning! Spanakopita, Lukanakopita, some other kind of pastry that reminded me of french toast, and chocolate milk. It's funny, I came here expecting to have to adjust to the food, and the 3 most prevalent items I've seen here are french fries [always available as a side, and present in any gyro], hot dogs [Lukanakopita is a hot dog with a ketchup like sauce inside a pastry. They eat it for breakfast and it's better than it sounds] and chocolate milk.
My feet are going to be covered in calluses by the time I come home from all this walking. It's probably a good thing, considering the food. They're big fans of pork too. We've gotten that a couple times for dinner-porkchops, cut up pork, pork on a stick. We've also gotten moussaka which is eggplant, meat and creamy cheese, stuffed peppers, and a PLATE OF GREEN BEANS. Nothing else, just a big ol' plate of green beans in a tomato sauce. I recall eating a lot of bread that night. I'm about to eat my first crepe, probably with a crapload of Nutella. Yum.