If you’re reading this, I made it across the world and am safely in Thessaloniki, Greece. No small feat for some, after one illness, a five-hour layover and 17 hours of travel later left many exhausted and one back in the states (she is okay and hopefully coming on a plane tomorrow).
Our day started on Monday the 8th, when 18 students clogged the entrance to Boston’s Logan International Airport, all getting to know each other for the first time as a group. Getting there a generous four hours before departure, we all took that time to mingle and scope out who we would be reporting with for the coming five weeks, that stopwatch getting closer and closer to starting by the second.
Our first flight was from Boston to Frankfurt, Germany and totaled seven hours… after one hour of delays in Boston. I had the fortune of getting a aisle seat next to an empty middle and a cheery Indian man on the window to keep me company and point out the views we were flying over.
Despite every stand-up comedian’s joke about airplane food, the cuisine on the way to Germany was honestly not bad at all. Accompanied by *legal* white wine, the chicken and broccoli dish was akin to a decent Chinese food place and the desert was chocolate and therefore up to my standards.
As you get further into my blog, you will come to see that it will be heavily focused on food. And so after landing in Germany, I made a beeline for “something German”…and I settled on a pretzel covered in cheese and bacon. I tried, okay. Luke, another student on the trip, also tried to be authentic while in Germany and ordered a very strange breakfast of two hot dogs and a slice of unidentifiable bread. Please note the facial expression.
Take two of our journey was thankfully much shorter and for the first time in about 15 hours I slept like a baby…until the food rolled around again. After being fed, I passed out again for the remainder of the flight and in no time I felt the familiar rumble of the wheels touching the ground. It was a surreal moment, especially after just have woken up in a haze of jet lag. Like in the movies, we deplaned via a staircase and I stepped onto Greek soil for the first time.
On the bus ride over to our apartments, I am still not quite sure if it hit me that we were in Greece or just that I was somewhere other than the States. As cliché as it sounds, the atmosphere, even on the sweaty bus full of sleep deprived kids, changed to the relaxed one that only the Mediterranean has.
As much as I am excited to start reporting and getting into the nitty-gritty of things, taking in the country at our own pace has been a highlight of mine. Like a kid on the first day of school, I’m excited to see our new college campus and when we walked into our rooms and saw our American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) packets, I felt like a high school senior getting my acceptance letter all over again.
All in all, the months leading up to this trip, from the frantically raising money to the packing and unpacking to get to the perfect 50lbs, has been justified and then some.