My first few days in Thessaloniki were incredibly dreary, but my favorite Greek weather is starting to come back and nothing can stop me from being thrilled to be settled here again. It’s amazing how quickly everything became so normal for me again. Thessaloniki really is my home. I just finished my first day of school, and it’s going to be a tough semester, but at this point I’d rather be here any day of the week/day/year than in Oxford (sorry Ole Miss). My only complaint at this point is that I can NOT get over this jet lag! It seems like no matter how much or how little sleep I get, I’m always tired. This is an issue because the first few weeks are SO crucial to bonding and getting to know everyone.
I know my main problem this semester will be trying to adjust to a new group of study abroad-ers. This has been difficult for me because I was close with so many of the people from the fall. I’m not expecting (or wanting) to replace the people I met last semester, but trying not to compare the new group to all the wonderful people I got to know is going to be a struggle. It’s hard to go from being so comfortable with the people I spent the last three months with to the basic “Where are you from? What is your major? Why did you choose Greece?” small talk I’ve already been through once before.
I’ve realized that I’m sort of on the flip-side of this entire experience this semester. In September, I was new to the area. I was completely lost and had to rely on other people to tell me what to do and where to go (and how to get there) for a long time. Now I’m looking at the new group and I see myself from four months ago, and I know this semester is going to be different for me than it is for them. I certainly don’t mind being someone they come to when they need help, but I do feel like this is going to separate me from them because I’m not sharing their initial “I don’t know what the heck is going on” experiences. I’m not learning Thessaloniki with them, I’m not figuring out how to live in Europe with them, I’m not experiencing culture shock with them, etc. Of course, there are some serious advantages to already have all the complicated stuff worked out already, but I know am going to have to find my place in this group. I already have a hard time getting to know people and being social as it is, so feeling like I don’t really belong isn’t helping me at all.
All that being said, I already like this group SO much. They’re so fun and friendly and they all love Thessaloniki almost as much as I do. I can’t wait to actually have the energy to be able to spend time with them.
And, as always, χαλαρά.