Glad to hear that the move went/is still going well.  So I began my day yesterday with a visit to a Greek Hospital. “The Greek” hospital apparently because it is the only one in all of Greece where one may attain the necessary tests to get a visa.  Somehow the nurse, who calls me “Barbie” very loudly over and over forgets me. I am last out of all of the students.  Our Arcadia advisor, Johanna (who is amazing, a Greek woman Katie’s age probably) had to leave me there to go begin our health and safety orientation.  She informs me and one of my roomates, Melisssa who stayed with me, how to navigate back to Arcadia after the X-ray is done and printed.  I laugh on the inside as I know that we will never remember how we got to the hospital (it was some walking down side streets and a bus from the stadium followed by more walking) also consider the fact that I wasn’t exactly paying attention to how we got there because I didn’t think I needed to/I was too busy observing other Greeks/I am Jayna.


So, the X-ray is short.  The nurse makes me feel more comfortable by making jokes. None of which I understood of course (they were about me being a Barbie and something about how im not pregnant?) but nonetheless I laughed.  My roommate and I then navigate back to Arcadia. Completely successfully. No getting lost. We were impressed with ourselves to say the least.  However that feeling did not last the whole day.


On the bus an old Greek woman literally pushed two men out of their seats for us to sit down. I liked that.


Before arriving at Arcadia, Melissa and I stop by a bakery in our neighborhood as I am starving and insist we are only 15 min late.  I had the most delicious chocolate filled bread for 1.20 Euro.  Mind you there was a pigeon on the loose in the bakery but the women who worked there were very happy to see us and very amused at my broken Greek.


At Arcadia we have health and safety orientation.  All very helpful and I’m listening until I get a nose bleed.  A massive one.  How embarrassing.  Meanwhile a girl across the room (another Tridelta at Denison) throws me some tissues and I leave the room thereby missing the rest of the orientation.


Then we went to the grocery store.  Since we are going away this weekend I buy not much.  I bought a bottle of white wine (which proved to be great! And not dry but not fruity either. I shared it with my roomies last night)  I also got some Greek spoon sweets and yogurt that Johanna recommended. And some Greek seasame stix and cheese o and fresh squeezed orange juice.  On the way back to our apartment, Melissa and I get lost. Literally lost in our own neighborhood with groceries walking in circles as all the Greeks watch.  30 min later our other roommate finds us and we go back the right way.


I then ventured out on my own to buy some fruit from the local shop.  The owner is very amused by my broken Greek but nice.  I walk back and spend 20 min trying to unlock my own door.  It’s a very complicated series of keys and security locks. 


Next I have a three hour intensive Modern Greek Language class.  My teacher is Apostolo. He is great!  So funny. Every 5 min saying, “so this letter sounds like (some noise I cannot describe nor make).”   We all react accordingly.  He says “ eh you will be fine!”  Always saying “eh relax, it will be good!”  He will teach us the alphabet but also Greek that we will use.  Lemme just say, that alphabet is not easy. P sounds like R and there is no J!  We are asked to write our name in Greek (using the Greek alphbet).  Also there is no Y sound. I am lost.  Apostolo, “Jayna, you must find the sounds J and Y by combining certain Greek letters.”  “It is in the Combination!” “Yes?”


Yes I realize, or Ni (yes in Greek). It is in the combination.  That is what Greek life is all about.  It is getting lost and finding your way home.  It is ordering a Greek kaffee sketo and being corrected by a local.  It is paying too much for some things and paying very little for others.  It is being aware of health and safety precautions and also having a little precaution of your own.  It is in the combination to be Greek.  To be contradicting and never right nor wrong.  And it is in the combination that I will find my Greek self.  Everything will come out in the wash. The good the bad.  The mistakes and the victories.  The expensive items and the generosity.  That is what makes Greeks Greek.  Here, we are all the common human, equals, and relatable.


Sometimes you smell the trash from the dumpster and sometimes you smell baklava in the air. 






(That is Greek for Jayna)


One Response to “Yiassoo!”

  1. your favorite sickling Says:

    You better not come back to Elon expecting me to call u Tzeina…cuz you will only be disappointed when you hear ‘Baby Face’ when I scream at you for profanities.

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