If you have ever watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and thought that Aunt Voula was joking when she said she would make lamb for Toula’s vegetarian boyfriend, then you have clearly never been around anyone from Greece. Lamb is a huge staple of the Grecian diet, and I was fortunate enough to get a first hand experience of this two weeks ago, when I went to Greece for a study tour with my Religious Mythos and Philosophical Logos class. From the fantastic food, to the warm weather, and the charismatic company, I do not think I have ever smiled so much in my entire life.
In case you have not heard, Copenhagen weather has been a little dreary lately (the sun is scheduled to set at 4:29 today). And in case you do not know me very well, I have self-diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I firmly believe that I am a horrible person to be around if I have a vitamin D deficiency. Thankfully, the trip to Greece came at a perfect time – right when the monster in me was beginning to come out.
Like any study tour, we hit the ground running and got about 5 hours of sleep each night. I was joking to my roommate that I saw so many ruins that they were all beginning to look the same, and I wish I could say that I was joking. Of course, we saw the Acropolis and the Parthenon, because what would a trip to Athens be without seeing the most famous monuments in the country? Personally though, I thought that tourists and construction completely ruined them. If you feel so inclined, look up what Martin Heidegger has to say about this – it may be one of the few times I actually agree with him about something. It is impossible to fully embrace the historical significance of the sites when you have throngs of tourists surrounding the area with their “selfie sticks”. Regardless, it was so surreal just to be standing in such monumental places.
I could talk all day about all of the places we visited, and in reality, I probably should just so that I do not forget them, but let’s be real…that is a lot to write about and I genuinely do not think that it is the actual monument that matters. I know how important it is that I got to see such amazing places, and I really do cherish that opportunity, but the way I felt is so much more important than the history and information that I took in. I will forget most of the facts that were thrown at me, but I will never forget the way that I felt at these places.
The philosophy nerd in me loved visiting the scene where Socrates’ execution took place. Brian, our professor, sat us down at the place where Socrates was given the hemlock and then gave us a lecture that made all of us really think about death for quite possibly the first time in our lives. Brian kept emphasizing how Socrates was not afraid to die and how that is the true pursuit of a philosopher – to live a life to its full extent and to recognize that you have lived a “good life”. Brian asked us if we would feel like we lived a noble and righteous life if we were to die at that exact moment. Most students immediately shook their heads as if to say “Hell no, I’m only 20!”. I, on the other hand, started looking back on my life and thinking about the choices that I have made. I have loved and been loved in return, I have been heartbroken way more than I would like to admit, I have gotten to travel to so many places in the short amount of time I have been on this earth, and I have been fully aware of how amazing my life has been so far. While there is so much more that is left for me to do and I am not by any means ready to die, I can sit down and honestly say that if I were to die at this exact moment, I would be proud of the life that I have lived. To quote The Avett Brothers, “if I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die”. I know some people cannot hear the music I have playing, but I hope at least a few readers get to hear the song I have chosen for this post – it’s a good one.
One of my favorite moments from the trip was when we traveled to Poseidon’s Temple on top of Mount Sounion.
There were hardly any crowds and we got to hear riveting stories about the The Labryinth of Crete, which is just a short boat ride away. The cherry on top, however, was when a group of us decide to go off course a little bit and then jump into the Aegean Sea. Climbing down the rocks to get to the shore was terrifying (and probably illegal considering nobody else was doing it) and then having to dodge all of the sea urchins once we got into the water just intensified the adrenaline rush we were all feeling. Swimming in the sea right next to Poseidon’s Temple was hands down the best experience of my life, and it was one that I immediately knew would stay with me forever.
I am going to leave y’all hanging and abruptly end this blog post. I still have so much more to talk about (like how I had an 8 course meal one night), but I will just do my best to include that in another post later on. One of the biggest perks of living with 36 other people is that the internet is extremely sketchy and always cutting off, and I am not trying to have another panic attack where I am wondering how much of my post got deleted.
So as the Greeks say, αντιο
(I googled how to say goodbye in Greek, so I have no idea if that is actually correct or not)