St. Patrick's Day!
I spent most of the past week recovering from a busy weekend in London and preparing for what I knew would be a crazy weekend- St. Patrick's day weekend! And don't worry, it definitely didn't disappoint! We started the weekend off on Thursday night by going to a really unique hookah bar called the Bernard Shaw. It even had a psychedelic blue bus you could smoke hookah in!
Every Friday morning we have an Irish history and culture class, which is always really interesting. We get to go on awesome field trips almost every week, and this week we went to the Jeanie Johnston. The Jeanie Johnston is a replica of the immigrant ship that the Irish took to America during the potato famine. The inside of the ship is set up to transport you back in time, with replicas of people that would've actually taken the ship to America. It really made me realize how hard it must of been for the Irish to have to flee their own country and travel in such horrible conditions, just to be able to survive.
The whole weekend was filled with festivities leading up to St. Patrick's day, so we decided to take advantage of all that was going on in Dublin. From greening the city to fairs and festivals, Dublin really went all out. The temple bar area was packed all weekend with people ready to celebrate the best day of the year. I am so lucky to have been able to be in Dublin!
Not to mention the weather was actually perfect, which is kind of rare in Dublin.
After a fun weekend we were all ready for the day we had been waiting for-- St. Patrick's day!
Oh, and by the way, I can't tell you how many times I've been told by the Irish that it is NOT Patty's day, it's PADDY'S day! Apparently us Americans and the rest of the world have been getting that all wrong. So now you know!
We started Paddy's day off with the parade. It was a pretty unique parade in my opinion, and the streets were packed.
We spent the rest of the day hopping from pub to pub just trying to take it all in! The streets were crazy with people in the most absurd St. Patrick's day outfits.
All in all it was such a fun day and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to be here! This week is also our spring break, and St. Patrick's day was the most perfect start to it.
First Week Excitement
We've been on Paros for a little over a week and most of us have settled into a beautiful new way of life. I've ventured out to most of my favorite places and have even found some new gems on the island.
I made it through my first week of classes. I feel as though this second semester may be a tad more challenging, as I know what I want to get out of the program. Beyond that, my teachers have certain expectations as they have worked with me before and know the quality of my work. I'm so ready to take my writing further with George and explore new forms of art in my drawing/painting class. The other girls seem to be really enjoying classes as well! As a group, things are running pretty great. We've done two communal dinners, where everyone put in some money and a few of us shopped, cooked, and prepared a meal for the rest of the group. It's a great way to spend time together.
I can tell through the conversations I've had with the girls that these are going to be great friendships. Unfortunately, one student made the decision to leave the program early. After speaking with her, I understand the reasons behind her decision. Study abroad is challenging. However, I do believe that it can be for everyone. With time, these excursions, people, and culture help shape you into a new and better person. Even attempting to experience this is admirable. I can't wait to see how this experience differs from the one I had previously.
On Saturday two HISA teachers (Cameron and Maria) lead us on an island tour/hike. It was the first truly great weather day on the island, so it made the excursion perfect. We started in Kolymbithres, a unique beach of rock formations. We then went to the town of Naoussa to explore and have lunch. I love the old pirate fortress there. From Naoussa we went to the town of Marpissa, which is extremely quiet but gorgeous nonetheless. Cam and the bus driver were willing to take us up to the abandoned monestary near the town of Marpissa. It was one of my favorite things to have done last year, so I was thrilled to experience it again. The top of the monestary is the highest point on Paros (if I'm not mistaken), so the view is simply breathtaking. We drove through the south side of the island on our return to Paroikia. It was a gorgeously warm day with a ton of activity, so here are some pictures!
Yesterday (Sunday), HISA and a greek woman named Karen provided us with an incredible cooking experience. Karen came to the apartments and gave lessons on how to make traditional greek dishes. Afterwards, a few teachers join us and we had a wonderful meal. The eight courses included beet salad, tzatziki, moussaka, yemista, and a greek sponge cake, among others. It was a great evening.
Tonight is Saint Patrick's Day so a few of us are going to check out a few parties in town. I'm sure it will be a lot of fun!
Change of Scenery
The first few days of arriving and being in Greece have felt like a lifetime! I am completely in awe at the beauty that surrounds me- going to another country and experiencing another culture totally opens your eyes and changes your way of thinking. I am so grateful and excited to see what lies ahed and for my life here.
First of all, I flew from Chicago to Paris, then Paris to Athens. The biggest mistake I made was overpacking, and the long flights and connection with heavy baggage was not the best. Arriving in Athens, I was a little overwhelmed with the loss of an important item on the plane, and quite jet lagged. But after a little adjusting and meeting the other students at the hostel- they were all so friendly that I felt more comfortable.
The day after arriving, we visited the Acropolis- and that's when I knew I was in love. Walking up through absolutely gorgeous winding streets with white houses, fruit covered trees, on a sunny day with unreal views of hills, my breath was taken away. The Acropolis tour and site was stunning, after learning about this amazing historical landmark in Art History classes at home, I finally saw the real thing.
The next morning at the crack of dawn we took a ferry into Paros Island, which will be my home for the next three months. After about 4 hours we had arrived! After the long journey and when stepping on the island, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. A little overcast and cold since this time of year is still Paros' winter, it still appears to be absolutely incredible.
- Mar 10, 2014 Lovely Week in Dublin, Lovely Weekend in London
- Mar 09, 2014 Life Isn't About Finding Yourself, It's About Creating Yourself
- Mar 08, 2014 The Return Trip
- Mar 02, 2014 Pre-Departure Excitement