I Can See Clearly Now

As I left Kythnos I gazed over the ferryboat’s railing.  I did not sleep, read, plug into my ipod, or talk on the phone.  And you know what? I was fortunate enough to spot two dolphins jump through the air as the sunset over the Aegean Sea horizon.  I nearly had to pinch myself.  I felt as if I was in a movie-a stereotypical film about the Greek Islands.

But looking back, a lot of my experiences on Kythnos were stereotypical, in the best possible way.  Kythnos is an island where the Greeks go to vacation.  Now that it is low season, we were fortunate enough to interact (whether we wanted to or not) with all of the locals.  Many things were free. No scam or harassment involved.  Just Greek Islander hospitality plain and simple.  At one dinner, our dessert, appetizer, and extra bread (not generally an option) were complimentary. 

The beaches, beautiful and deserted, were free. And so was transportation around the island.  Being the cheap and poor student that I am, I was among the gods.  And yes it does get better.

The water was warm, clear, and the bluest of blues.  The houses were white washed and extremely charming.  Beautiful boats docked and the weather only improved with each passing day.  Even better our rooms were paid for by Arcadia, along with the Ferry, and elaborate dinner Friday night.  Everything was beyond pendenostimo! (delicious) and fresh.

We even got to tour a small village located more inland that has been inhabited for hundreds of years.  It was built near caves, which we toured, in which residents would hide from pirates and later from Turks. (dad you would have loved that cave)  Even further, I wasn’t the slightest bit affected by some of my snobby classmates who found reasons to complain? 

“Are these seriously our rooms? They are so bare.”
“It’s too cold. I can’t believe it’s raining.” 
“It’s too hot.”
“It’s such a long walk to the beach.”

And while most of my classmates are not ignorant and did enjoy the island, many embarrassed me.  They were loud (its a small island), beligereant, disrespectful, and generally acting like middle schoolers; middle schoolers who i do not want to teach.  While a group of them were playing American drinking games in the hotel, the rest of us went out and enjoyed Kythnos.  We had a three and a half hour dinner thereby managing to fit in a little.  We then went to the local bar where the ages ranged from 12 to 50.  I even managed to hold a conversation with a few local Greeks despite my inability to speak much Greek.  Nothing was ruckus.  Everyone was watching each other; interacting; and having conversations face to face.  Not text message to text message.

“In Greece we open our eyes a little wider than others.”  One Greek told me when I inquired about eye contact, which I really need to get used to.  Because young and old all look at you.  I mean really stare and in some cases gawk.  Yeah the blonde hair may cause some gawking, and Barbie seems to be the nickname that sticks, but ultimately it is the culture and is not considered rude. 

So in Kythnos, I opened my eyes a little wider and now I can see a whole lot more.

Love

TZEINA

Ps. Ive heard wonderful things about santorini. Very excited for the black rock beach.

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