What does it mean that I have memorized these streets, and they’re now stored in my muscle memory? When I feel comfortable getting breakfast by myself on the coast, what does it mean? When I have made so many jokes about moving out here when I know they aren’t really jokes, what does it mean?
Does it mean I belong here (or at least in Europe)? Does it mean I don’t feel like my true self in the States?
What does it mean?
It could mean a number of things. I guess I don’t need the answers now, but hopefully, I will figure them out someday. Until then, I will talk about what I DO know.
I know that this trip has been an incredible experience that I am so glad I got to have. With each venture to the mountains, to the beach searching for rocks, and even spending time in the villa laughing with the rest of the group, I know that this trip was worth every penny. Not many people get to spend three weeks in a different country doing what they love. They don’t get to make REAL connections with the owners of a cafe or crystal shop. But I have.
I know how proud I am of the group but also myself. We have pushed past the boundaries set by ourselves and have done so many things none of us dreamed of doing. And as a particular eater, the amount of food I have tried while here is astounding to me. I made a little list below. Looking at it brings up the memories of when I tried them with the others, and the faces that followed, good or bad.
What I have tried while here:
Weird green gelatinous cube with a walnut in the middle
I know that I will miss this island so, so much when I eventually leave. This island gave me the courage to try new things and experience more than I have in a long time. I climbed rocks on the coast in Naoussa. I trekked a 40-degree incline to reach an interviewee’s home. I went on a sea kayaking adventure with a former Olympian (I didn’t know that, though, while sitting in the kayak with her). This island gave me the courage to say yes and not be (completely) afraid of the unknown. And I hope to carry it with me as I go through this journey called life.
I know that my adventures don’t have to end after this program, but it took so much to get here that I have that worry I won’t get out again. But on the other hand, this trip has given me such an incredible experience for my first time traveling abroad that I think it will be much easier now to gift myself travel than ever. I’m even going on a mini trip to a few other European countries after we are done here. I am forever grateful to everyone who got me here but especially to myself.
Ευχαριστώ και αντίο <3