Sunday, March 20, 2011

Week in Review Sabbatical Style: Week 9!

It's the end of another week. Last week I realized that I had lost count of how many weeks I have been on my "sabbatical journey" so I just counted it up--9 weeks! That's crazy! Some other tidbits from the week:

  • That dinner I was telling you about yesterday? The one under the Acropolis? It was the best meal I've had in a long time. (And no doubt probably the best I will have for a long time to come!) I had a pork fillet stuffed with sundried tomatoes, peppers and gruyere cheese. De-licious. The meal was also started off with a round of the Greek version of homemade Raki (which increased the general splendor of the evening even more!). 
  • Greeks win on yogurt making. 
  • I love my new replacement computer. My one complaint is that they changed some of the buttons around. For 5 years I hit F12 for the dashboard, but now this is the volume key. I was working out the conversions on my budget and kept going back and forth between the dashboard and EVERY time would hit the wrong button. 
  • Speaking of conversions...the Euro is brutal! 
  • After 11 days in Greece I am headed off to Cyprus tomorrow. I don't really have many expectations (or plans!) but the general idea is to relax for a bit before heading off to walk the Camino. I have been excited to hear that the wildflowers in Cyprus at this time are said to be extraordinarily beautiful right about now. 
  • I'm getting really excited (and...a bit apprehensive) about walking all 800 kilometers of the Camino De Santiago. I still haven't decided if I am going to start the walk in St Jean Pied de Port, France (the place generally viewed as the starting point) or in the much easier to get to (and leave my bag in) Pamplona, Spain. I have the time to start in France, but Pamplona would be so much more hassle-free (ok...and save me the trial-by-fire first few days trekking through the Pyrenees). Pamplona is also a common starting place, but I don't want to get to the end and feel like I cheated. (But seriously, after almost 800 km, will I care?) Thoughts? 
  • I got to help out in English classes for Albanian immigrants 3 nights this week. I almost forgot how much I love working with English students. These students were especially awesome--one group took us out for gyros after class and another night a class brought some Albanian goodies for us to munch on during class.  
  • After teaching me a few words in Albanian (po, po!) the students also gave me a few tips on places to visit in Albania (which I will be doing in June or so). 
  • Nonprofit spotlight: This week we also had a chance to work with Nea Zoi (Greek for "new life") which works to counter human trafficking here in Athens. They operate out of a hospitality model which, to me, is fascinating (while they provide services such as alternate job searching assistance, help with medical and legal matters, etc. they also make weekly trips into the brothels or streets and offer tea and conversation to the girls). Check them out here
  • I listened to a lot of Bon Iver this week. (Thanks again to my brother Casey!)
  • Schedule for tonight: Pack (!) and then meet up with an Albanian student group who is teaching Albanian folk/wedding dances tonight (!!). 
  • Advanced warning: The hotel I have booked for the first 3 nights in Cyprus does not have wifi. So, (parents) don't freak out if you don't hear from me. 
Alright, mirupafshim! And a random smattering of photos below: 

Hadrian's bust in the Agora

Ancient temple in the Agora

Springtime in Athens

There are SO many stray animals, but they all get fed! We saw a lady going around feeding them in this neighborhood. 

A shot of the sea out at Sounio

One of our students made the mistake of ordering "small fried fish" expecting to find a fillet of Long John Silver's-esque fish. Instead he found a fish grave yard. We all got a kick out of it...but he was not amused. 

A blurry shot of some of my new Albanian friends/English students


More Albanian friends

We stopped in Syntagma Square to watch the changing of the guard. We passed group after group of police in riot gear. As we waited they all started to line up behind us. After waiting a bit I went to ask one of the guards on patrol if we should leave. His answer? Yes. Moving on!

My amazing dinner 

The amazing view

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