Greece: The land of gyros and χαλαρά

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the view from the old city

I’m two weeks away from making my second appearance in my personal favorite place, Thessaloniki. I can’t help but remember the first time I did this nearly four months ago. To say I was confused is putting it extremely lightly. If you have ever spent time abroad, you probably know that the language barrier is pretty daunting, especially if you haven’t spent any time studying the language (see: me) and even more especially if you’re studying in a country that uses a different alphabet (see: me). If my school hadn’t arranged a taxi to pick me up at the airport, I’d probably be lost somewhere in Europe by this point. Honestly, I wasn’t even able to get around comfortably by myself until it was almost time for me to leave (thank God I get to go back and prove myself to my beloved city and the new study abroaders).

I think the most important thing Greece taught me was to relax. In fact, one of the first Greek words I learned during orientation was χαλαρά, which means “to be relaxed.” Being chill (read: being late) is really important to the Greeks. That was the biggest thing for me to adjust to, because I am typically a very high-stress, worrisome type of person. I like to be on time and I prefer to be busy. Studying abroad in Greece really was like one big vacation for me (gasp, are we not supposed to let on to that fact? wait, I swear there’s work too, really…) just because I was so used to having so much to do.

I am way more excited now than I was leaving the first time, just because I know what to expect, I know that I am absolutely in love with Thess and that I’m about to spend another  perfect four months in a perfect place. I’ve got this totally covered the second time around. No stress, no checking and rechecking a packing list. Just me, my passport, and as many clothes as I can fit into my two suitcases.

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