Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Another Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day, I realized, yet again, how lucky I am to be here on this island dong what I am doing. It is perfect. I also realize that I am in the right field doing the right thing at the right time. It's just so amazing. I know that I am taking a very heavy load of classes, but it is worth it to me. I now know so much about the art forms that I am now taking part in, and it means so much to me to be able to do them. I know how to make a mosaic and stretch a canvas and paint the way that many great painters of the past have done so. I also know how to do a clay sculpture and draw objects and the human body and other things. I have become more prolific and proficient in the art of writing, and I am reading great Greek writings of the past that have so shaped our world.

Today, I was walking down the street looking at rocks on the ground thinking what great mosaic pieces they would make while I silently wrote a poem in my head. As I continued walking to look for some clay to do a sculpture, I saw a man treating an octopus and I thought what a great photo it would make. In addition to it all, I was looking at the background of the photo thinking what a great painting landscape it would make. It's so nice to be able to go around and look at the world in that way. I have so many projects going in my head and in the works, that I seriously have no idea how I am going to get them home. It may happen at the sacrifice of some of the clothes that I brought that will be worn out by then. This is my reality and what is really going on here on this little island in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Things are going well here.

Feel free to drop me a line if you want to. I miss you all, but I can't say that I can't wait to come home!

With much, much love,


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

War with Art

When I was younger, I was at war with art. I had this understanding that it was an unnecessary thing in society that children were forced to study because it was something that our less sophisticated ancestors did, and the tradition needed to be continued.

I was deeply, deeply wrong.

Since the beginning of time, people have described religious experiences. These have occurred on many different levels including seeing a physical spiritual being. For the most part, however,
these have consisted of deeply personal and inexpressible moments in time that shape our lives forever.

Somewhere in the middle of my high school career, I realized that there was something missing in my life, so I took up pottery as a recreational activity. I didn't really realize that I had been
mastering an art form until one day my friend invited me to attend a seminar where young artists get together and develop their skills further. I reluctantly joined, but realized that it would be
at least half-fun when I realized that one of the people I admire most in the world was going to preside the meetings.

This was the thing that was going to fill the hole that I felt in my life. However, I didn't realize how gaping the mouth was and how deep the crack until I began this weekly ritual.

I believe that I will never be able to describe what happened in that room. This was the first truly spiritual experience that I ever had. I passionately consider each second of these meetings week after week to be deeply-spiritual, religious experiences, and they have shaped my view of the world and of myself permanently.

Several things came from that:

• I realized that I am an artist at heart and that is what I do every morning, I get up and create what will happen that day.
• I realized that I can create beautiful things that communicate to other people and that they can appreciate.
• I realized that everyone on earth is an artist in his own way and that he strives to create in one way or another—some people just happen to make a profession out of it.
• I gained the confidence to really be an artist.

This shaped me in ways that I can't explain, but it patched a big hole in my life and set me up for the rest of my life, or so I thought.

I actually had a spiritual experience today that I hold at that level. It struck me by surprise because I guess somehow I felt that I had received my allotment for my life.

I decided to study at The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts to continue my studies in the arts and put final touches on my ability to create art and get it out into the world. I never dreamed that I would experience something on a higher plane, and here, three weeks into the program, I've had such a profound experience that I can't help but believe that this again will be one of those life-defining moments.

In producing my art, I got pretty stuck in the mundane technical aspects. You put this type of paper in this developer and it comes out like this and you could do this or that to it to change it
and make it perfect. I think that I got pretty stuck in the fact that I was just making an image and it was going to create an effect, and I guess I felt like I had no more control after I hit the shutter. Bam! That photo was made.

I met someone today that really loves the process. This man had a communication to deliver to the world and he knew exactly what it was the second that he clicked the shutter. He had the technical
aspects down so well and all that was going on was the fact that he saw the world in a new way or he had a new experience that he was interested in sharing with the world.

I also discovered again that through the things that the artists have been saying through history, they really have effected the changes in this world. Through the things that they are saying results are created. People become aware of the artists view of things and they realize something deeper there and change.

I guess I kind of forgot about that part. It all came and hit me at once. As he sat there going through photo after photo showing us the things that he had to say about the world, I realized that that was what I had been missing. I was being sucked into the technical aspects of what it was that I was doing. Of course, I needed to be patient and do whatever it took to get the effect that I was trying to create, but what WAS the effect? What was my communication. I was trying to say something when I was pressing the shutter. My frustration with the arts shattered, and I realized once again that I wasn't trying to duplicate reality exactly. I have something to say, and I'm here studying how to get that thing said!

Bella Greece

This weekend was incredible I got a lot done as far as continuing on the aesthetic experience. I worked about 20 hours each day and got an incredible amount done. I read 7 books of the Odyssey and cataloged and set up digital images for the 1500 photos that I've taken over the last bit of time here on this quaint little island.

I also watched the Easter parade (of people, we didn't really have a parade) of people come in from Europe for their Easter breaks. The island was hopping and I no longer had any idea what language to say to them all, but I've outlined this in other writings.

There are so many quirks of living in another country. In America, you expect everything to be safe and perfect and if your water doesn't work it's a real problem, but in Greece, everything is Sega, Sega (slowly, slowly), and things are just different here in general.

One thing I will mourn when I come home is that you can get a perfect looking orange in America that tastes terrible, but in Greece, you can get the ugliest orange that tastes delicious.

Today was another one of those beautiful days on such a higher level than just everyday living. I took a look yesterday at the fact that I really have been here for a month. The time has gone by really fast, but I also look at how much it's made me grow and even the things that have come from me being here. I have written more pieces of art than I probably have ever. I even wrote my children's book that I am even thinking about illustrating myself.

I have taken two rolls of black and white film and I have gotten three prints from those negatives that I felt were worthy of displaying. In addition to that, I have had some incredible help with the way that I run as a photographer. There are people here that are so knowledgeable.

I have gained so much in the field of art history that I really know that I chose the right filed and the right major to be working with. Today, as I stood over the waterfront watching the sun go down over the next island over (Mycenae, I think) I took some wonderful photographs, but then I looked down at what I was standing on, and it turned out to be a section of an old temple. It was a HUGE marble stone, and it even had the ridges in it. However, it was just a rock (ok, a big slab) again sitting on the edge of this beach (port) made out of slabs. It really shocked me that it wasn't sitting in a museum, but that I was actually able to stand on it to take photos! I sit in my art history class and am so amazed at the instructor and how much he knows, and the past and the people did things are so impressive to me. It really does prove that they may have even been more civilized than we were, and I can't begin to imagine what it would be like in another 2,000 years when our civilization could possibly be one of those vaguely remembered things. I like the field though, and it really helps to be able to walk into traces of temples and things from more than 3,000 years ago. I was at the site of at least three different temples dedicated to Athena today. I'm just so amazed at that.

In addition to that, I am working on paintings in the same style that great painters of the past have been working on. It's so useful because I will have to restore paintings at some time. I'm doing two paintings right now in the same style as Reuben, it's just so amazing. I have four paintings that I have started, and I have a plan for at least two more. I understand that I will be brining home about 16 paintings with me in all. WOW. I am going to do a special process learning how to paint like Boticelli, and I may even make a copy of one of his paintings. The point is that I'm learning a lot in the area and I am producing and I still have a lot to produce.

And I can even say that I can actually draw decently. I can draw a person with hands and feet and all. I can also draw still objects and buildings. It's just nice to know that I've pushed through such a big barrier and I'm good at it. WOW.

That's all in addition to the fact that I've taken over 1600 photos since I've been here. Though I need to jump on it because there are so many more photos to be taken! I'm going to model for a friend, and that will be fun to learn how to be on the other side of the camera as well. I'll tell you about it next week when it's over.

Also, I am going to start my first of two mosaics tomorrow. I'm excited about it, and I drew the design today. It is going to be a fish, and it is going to be the size of A4 paper. I'm going to do two, so if there is something else you want me to do, give me an idea, because I have no idea!

The north winds are supposed to start tomorrow. They are called the Fortuna winds. The legend is that if they stay for 5 days and then someone commits a crime of passion that the crime will be forgiven. I hope that they don't last very long because they are cold. Would you rather have winds from Germany of Africa? The weather has been nice, but I'm told that it needs to rain or the poppies won't come in fields this year, and that would devastate some photo ideas that I have.

I went shooting photos at two of the most beautiful places that I know on the planet today, I didn't even know that they existed, but one was in a Cypress grove and the other was next to a windmill overlooking a cliff off the ocean. In addition to that, there is another cave I plan to go to at some point to take photos, but it's been a worshiping spot to one of the gods for a long, long time! It was wonderful to take photos with my photo instructor, as she is a brilliant and amazing person, so I learned a lot. I plan to go out with her more so that I can really gain in the photo area.

After that I had an incredible discussion in painting today about what it really is like to get an education and I had so much fun looking at the diverging viewpoints of the people here. They are all so amazing, but it's fun to be with them all. I started another painting and ate an orange in the sun. One of my other ideas of heaven--Greek oranges.

I then took a copy of a photo that I had taken of an old, retired Greek man and I went to seek him out to give it to him, but I never found him. I intend to seek him out before I leave the island and give him his portrait. I think that will be a good effect to create!

THEN I had a Greek lesson, and I learned so much. I love my teacher, he is this beautiful Greek man and he is trying to learn photography so we get along very well, he is a teacher here in a normal school. He invited us over to his house. He is going to cook Greek food for us, and we are going to have a Greek practice session. Good stuff.

And then I designed my fish mosaic, and here I am writing this email getting closer to midnight. I still have to do some photographic work on the computer before a class tomorrow! I have literature tomorrow and I can't wait to talk about my main man right now, Odysseus!

I have a class at 8 AM tomorrow, so I should probably get going.

I love it here, right down to eating a Souvlaki and then having a Greek man bring me some Ouzo because he thought it would be a good thing to go with dinner. I can see how this was the first civilized place in Europe.

Time to go.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Falling in Love with the Process

Today, I woke up and then got ready and went and read part of my man in the Odyssey. Then I went to the darkroom with this incredible photographer and we listened to some crazy music while producing some neat works of art. I have at least two prints that I consider portfolio-worthy at this point. I am going to talk to Liz (the instructor) on Monday and tell her that I'm trying to set up a show for some local galleries, and we're going to work out getting 15 prints out and ready for that. That way I have something that I just have to come home with and mat and frame. I'm going to sell my prints for $300 each and then I'm going to circulate them around the galleries in downtown Portland if that is possible. I'm also going to see if I can do some freelance work for some magazines/newspapers and other groups around Portland!

I realized what it was like to fall in love with the artistic process today. I really and truly fell in love with the process of producing prints in the darkroom. I always sort of thought that it was cool to be in the darkroom and make my own prints, but I've discovered over the last week how much control I have in that room in my ability to make a communication pop up off the page. I was watching one of my masterpieces surface in the developing tray and my heart skipped a beat when I realized that that things was MINE and that no one else in the world would be able to print it the same way that I had done so. I fell in love with knowing my art and being able to use it to really get a product. I left the darkroom shortly after that, but I've been hankering to get back in there because I'm in love with the process and the filters and the chemicals and the developer and EVERYTHING that there is to be in love with down there. I'm so amazed.

I made a really good dinner of avocado sauce (avocado, lime, garlic, salt) with cheese on Greek bread. It was divine, and it may just be my fad food over the next week or two because I have a ton of avocadoes and the good oranges have gone out of season!

I then went and watched the Greek sun glow orange and red turning the whole world those colors before dropping below the horizon to come visit you tell him hello for me!

And that was the day. I am now in here trying to produce many pieces of writing while naming and rearranging all of the digital photos that I've taken recently. When I have done that, I get to choose my true masterpieces out of the 1500 pictures I've taken in the last three weeks and work on them! THEN, I have another date with Odysseus! I have to finish it next week which means that I will have read it in 4 weeks.

Olive Oil Limerick

Oh how I love my olive oil
Though I know my waist it spoils
It gets in like a drug
And stays like a bug
But life without it would be a toil!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Old Things

Today was a national holiday in Greece, and it was fun. It is the day that the Greeks won their independence back from the Turks. They had been occupied for 400 years, and they finally threw off the shackles in the last century. In addition to that, it is the celebration of Ascension (when Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she was going to have Jesus and the impregnated her). All of the local people went out and had a big parade, it was fun, and I got a lot of shots of it, many of them I think are good.

After that, I went out to eat a suvlake! It was so yummy. I am now addicted to Tziki, and you are going to be eating it for the rest of your life. It is sOOOOOO yummy.

We then met John Pack to get ready to go on our hike. We walked around Paros really. We didn't walk around the island, but we walked around the beaches and then did some pretty hefty mountain climbing. It was so incredible doing it. John surprised us by taking us to the cave that Archilochos wrote it. It was a hell of a climb. He is a classical poet that is credited with the invention of iambic pentameter. Pretty cool eh?

After that, we climbed around the rocks (literally) and went to a section way out on the rocks. It was amazing. Many of us jumped in the water and flopped around for a while. It was freezing though, so the swimming didn't last for long.

When we were done there, we walked back and grabbed food quickly and made it back outside in just enough time to watch the sun sink below the water of Paroikia. That was a nice experience. Possibly, I will go find chocolate when I am done writing this.

Todays topic to take up is the ancientness of the Greeks.

When I was in America, anything from the beginning of the 1900's was old to me. I was really surprised that anything would last that long. When I think about it, the entirety of the history that I know in America is based on the three hundred years that people have been living there. Really, the Salem Witchcraft Trials seemed to be so long ago, but you really get the idea of old when you are here.

There is a little lump of land that I won't bother to call an island that lies between Paros and Anti Paros. Someone recently found evidence of VERY civilized life on that little hunk of land that was from THOUSANDS of years ago. It's just waiting there to be discovered. There are human artifacts that are laying under the ocean from when the landbridge sunk between Paros and AntiParos.

The other day, I was walking along a path next to the school and there were some boys playing there. A ball flew over the fence and they ran out to get it. When I really looked at where the boy went to get the ball from, it was next to a gravestone. I realized that I was walking through an ancient cemetery. I looked up and then I realized that I was standing right in front of several sarcophagi. There were headstones around me that were more than two thousand years old.

I learned in my art history class that people have been inhabiting this island for around eight thousand years.

Last weekend, I went on a hike up a mountain, and after I walked through an olive grove, I came upon a house built on a hill. The house was clearly ancient.

On my way back down from my hike, I walked by some house foundations that were from houses built in the first century BC. They weren't protected or guarded from erosion at all. In fact, there was a donkey tethered in one of them. Heh! It makes me laugh to think about it.

And then there's the fact that there are Greek ruins all over the city, a fort made out of a dismantled castle, a graveyard that's from the fifth century BC (another one) Roman columns everywhere, converted pagan churches every 100 feet and the second oldest church in Christendom.

When I come back to American, I don't know that I'm ever going to be able to say that something is old!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Olive Oil!

Things are finally starting to calm down now, and I realized that I'm going to have to take up more specific topics to talk about and go more into detail on, so in addition to just blabbing about my day, I am going to take up one thing that strikes me about the Greeks or their way of life. The best starting point here would be to talk about olive oil

Now why would I choose olive oil? They have corn oil in the United States, but it wouldn't be the first thing that I was going to talk about when describing the US at great length. In fact, they have corn oil here, but why would the olive oil be THE oil here.

First of all, I guess it's time to address the olive tree. The olive tree is of utmost importance here in Greece, and it has been since the dawn of time. Odysseus talks about seeing olive trees. If you have never seen an olive tree in your life, you are missing out. They have a leaf that has one side silver and one side green, when they blow in the wind it looks fabulous!

Because of the rough terrain in Greece, it's hard to grow anything but olive trees. Many times, the olive groves are on the side of a hillside where nothing else useful would be able to grow, so the Greeks have terraced the land so the olive trees could grow. I have met olive trees here that are thousands of years old!

When the olive trees ripen with olives, you can imagine the fuss of the people going around picking them for their beautiful olive oil.

The farmer takes these precious things to the local press where they are turned into the oil that he uses to cook with for the rest of the year.

Olive oil has a taste to it that is unlike anything else in this universe. I have realized that it is a replacement for butter here, butter exists of course, but no one would dream of using it when they could use olive oil in its stead. If you want a pre dinner snack, just put some olive oil in the fresh baked bread and you have yourself a masterpiece that is unequal-able!

Guaranteed in Greece, the first ingredient for any recipe is olive oil (garlic follows second). If you are without olive oil, you are without my friend.

Note that the Greeks eat some of the most saturated fat in the world per meal, but also note that they don't have cardiovascular disease, hmmm...I wonder if the olive oil has anything to do with that.

So you were right when you said that we would be cooking with it when I get home. More than that, it will be my elixir of life!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005



It's been a few days now since I wrote.

Briefly, Monday I was what I am coining to be grasped in the death throes of art. I was having a hard day technically with figure drawing and photography, so I spent the entire day working through my issues in that area.

Yesterday, I had a beautiful day. Our photo instructor took me outside and really, really showed me what was going on technically when I made certain decisions with my camera. I realized that I knew a lot but didn't really have that much of a WORKING understanding of what was going on, so I am now ready to gain more of an understanding of that area.

On the shoot, we ran into an old man at a church. He was great. He saw that we were from American and that we were taking photos and he came over and gave me a hug and totally adopted me. Later in the day, I went back to the spot to take some photos in a different lighting and he was there watching the sun set. He was so overjoyed to see me. He spoke two works in the English language "America" and "boat." But we managed to communicate pretty well. He asked me to take his photo, and I think that I got a nice portrait shot of him, and I intend to print it and keep it in my portfolio.

I also started a new painting that I think is going to turn out incredibly. I have learned a lot from the mistakes of my first two, and I know that I can do a good job on this one!

I had an excellent day today as well. I was having a hard time mastering a technique in figure drawing, and I almost quit, but I got it at the last second and really, really was happy when it all came out OK.

After that, Aggleiki (one of my good, Greek friends) and I went out and ate a Gyro. It was really good.

I came back and watched John show his work, which I have made a note of in another piece, it was incredible.

After that, I really got a jump on digital photography.

I did a literature seminar tonight, which was totally incredible! I am reading the Odyssey in 4 weeks, tell your students that!

I also found out today that I got a 4.0 last semester, I'm on the honor roll again!

I did my first Greek class yesterday. I can almost eat a meal using only my Greek!

I am starting to be overwhelmed by everything I am doing, but I know that will soon pass as I get swept up in really just working at it!

I love what I am doing here.

Sorry this isn't longer, but it's rounding past midnight, and I need to still get some more things done.

I love you so much my love. Sorry this isn't longer, but I'm so tired.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

Better Weather, Better Day!

Today was a beautiful of all beautiful days every. The weather was great and everything just seemed to go well.

I decided to take the day and sleep as long as I could, and that ended up being until 8. I looked outside and it was just gorgeous so I opened all of my windows and went about getting ready. It was so nice that I decided to go on a run.

As I ran down along the water, I saw all of the Greek people getting ready to go into the Church of a Hundred Doors for their morning church service. People here were very happy and they were out having coffee before they had to run off to Church. I felt odd running as the Greeks aren't used to exercise. So much so, that when students here go running the Greeks sometimes run after them and ask if anything is wrong!

I came back to my apartment, and took some really great photos along the way.

I ate a brilliant breakfast of cereal (I have been deprived of it for two weeks, so it was exciting to me).

Then I went on to do some art. I got out my drawing book and put the finishing touches on 4 drawing that I had done. I used my pastels to make them nice and pretty. I got them all preserved to make a trip home so that I can show them to you!

Then I got all ready and sat in the sun for a couple of hours while I got down and read two chapters of the Odyssey. I really enjoy that book. The sun was burning and it bore down on me very heavily. I am now officially tanned, and I KNOW that that's not going to go away for some time now! That's definitely something that excites me!

When I was all nice and tan, I walked back to my apartment and got ready to take some photos. I got my film camera out and my digital camera and I went around and took some great photos. It was the first time that I had managed to work the film camera in an ACT of GOD. I then got it in my head to take a walk so I went out on the road and started to go up the hill outside of Paroikia. When the road ended I got on a donkey path and when that ended I just climbed up the sheer hill. I was in a skirt, and it was just crazy. I got the hell scratched out of my legs, but I had a hell of a time. I got some incredible pictures. I actually climbed so high that I could see the ocean on both sides of the island. It was incredible. I have some beautiful photos of it!

Then I walked back home and actually cooked myself some dinner. I hadn't cooked anything in the two weeks that I had been here, but I made some spaghetti, and for sauce I used pesto sauce with Greek cheese in it. I TOTALLY loved it. I can make it really easily.

Then I went and developed my film and it came out OK. You have no idea how much of a relief that was to me. I have gone through hoops to get it all working fine.

I also found out that I got an A in my college math class. That was a relief, as I wasn't sure if I was going to even pass. No more math for me!

Also, we had a barbeque on the beach last night. I was very nice.

Today was excellent. If every day were like this, they would call that Heaven.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Beautiful, Sunny Weather

Ok. The weather outside is absolutely beautiful. No wonder the Greeks have such a wonderful life. Today was a day that you would typically expect to be the 4th of July. The outside was warm, and
the sun was shining down bright, and the inside was cool. It is the perfect time to just be outside and enjoy everything. I now have a suntan because I was outside just hanging out painting and drawing, and the sun totally overtook me and stole my heart! I LOVE the light here. It IS different here, as many people say, and you really can't understand it until you've been in it. I love how the sun beats down on you in a friendly manner letting you know that he still exists.
These are the joys of the weather that I have experienced in the last two days. But you'd better watch out because if you get caught outside without layers of clothing after the sun goes down, you're one cold cookie. These are all of the things that I enjoy about being here.

Yesterday we went on a very, very special hike to Anti Paros. If you don't know what or where that is, get a map of Greece out and look for Paros in the Cyclades. Then look right next to it, that is Anti Paros. The two islands were connected during ancient times, but the water level rose and the land bridge is now underwater. Supposedly, there are plenty of artifacts around there under the water. Also, I saw another island off the coast where they found traces of ancient civilized people in Greece during 6,000 BC. I guess that information sparked things in the historical realm as it opened up the possibility that the people in Greece were indigenous all along. Interesting
how a little fact changes a lot.

We took a bus to the ferry and then rode the ferry for 5 minutes to Anti Paros. The town was beautiful. We stopped and I bought an orange that was to sustain me for the day. I was dumb though and I didn't have anything cool to wear, and the weather was up to the 80's. I just hiked my pants legs and arm sleeves up so that I didn't have to be so hot. I was wearing dark and that didn't help. We went on a hike all through the mountains. It took 3 hours to get to where we were going. A lot of it was uphill and owing to the fact that I only had 8 ounces of water with me, it was a rough hike up. We probably went in several miles. In fact, we hiked across the entire island that day! We went from seeing the shore on one side to seeing the shore on the other side. I really enjoyed being one with nature. Of course we walked down a lot of donkey trails and up mountains. I didn't have perfect hiking shoes on either, so it was fun. However, I did get to see the difference between the two islands. Though they are very close, they have different plants and different terrains. I picked some more Oregano because it's only the best. I also found a
lavender plant that I picked a top off of. I've taken so many photos of the plants around here that I know I could be hired to do the photos of a Greek plants book. Maybe I'll actually pursue that. We saw lots of goats and sheep along the way, and it was a great hike.

We had lunch at the very top of a peak that overlooked both sides of the island, it was beautiful!

We then hiked down to a very, very nice beach, which I am going to try to get photos out of. You'll never imagine the wonders of the Aegean. The sea is so clear you can see to the bottom, even if it's more than 30 feet deep. There is a mixture of deep and shallow, and that makes for some beautiful plays of green and blue. The tide only varies 4 inches at all. The waves are small and the water was warm. I waded in it, but some people swam.

After our swimming, we had to walk back, but it was quite late, and we were going to miss getting our ferry, however, a really nice guy pulled over and picked up the entire school group and took them back to the port. The man was so nice. He invited us to eat in his restaurant and he also told us to go to his farm where he grows olives. We plan to make a trip back to do that soon. The man was so incredibly nice though. How often in America does someone pick up 13 strangers and take them wherever they want to go?

We had milkshakes while we waited for the ferry and then we went home. It was very nice.

But the day hadn't ended yet. We went out to dinner with the whole school group. It was wonderful to eat traditional Greek meals with 20 people at the table. We laughed a lot and one of my very closest Greek friends taught me how to say sundry things in Greek. It was wonderful. My vocabulary has now doubled!

After that, it was my friend's birthday, so we went out and danced. It was a lot of fun. I had a small drink at midnight to celebrate with her. It was so much fun.

Today, I had another lovely adventure. The painting students went out with some Greek art students and we were videoed doing earthwork art. We were making art out of natural materials like clay and rocks in honor of Earth Day. I was very proud of the things that I did and though I am not able to bring them home with me, I do have photos of them! I will try to put them online and get them out! We were next to a beautiful beach the whole time and the sun was very warm on my neck. I got to make two wonderful works of art and then we went around and looked at those works that others did. The lady that videotaped us is going to edit it into a work of fine art that is going to be displayed in a gallery. Cross your fingers that my piece makes it in! I found a section of a handle of a clay pot today in the sea. It can be really, really old!

When that was all done, I came home to get a start on the things that I needed to do for the weekend. I stretched three canvases by hand (which is awesome and a blast) and then I made a pastel drawing while I was out in the sun. I have come in to avoid a burn and to write this wonderful email.

Things are going great here. I have been eating fruit and break like never before because it is all so delicious. It's just such a paradise to be here.

Hope all is going well.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Learning in Greece!

I have heavy doubts that this is going to make it to you tonight, but it is by no fault of my own. Despite the fact that I am still here working in the office after a long day of classes at midnight, the network is down on the island, which means that the Internet connection is lost. Though we do live in a modern world, it's not AS modern as we all think that it is!

Today we did figure drawing. It was totally beautiful. I know that I am getting better, but I am starting to struggle with the things that I should be learning. I have a feeling that I am going to need to spend a lot more time learning and practicing all of the things that I have been working on here. Many people in the class have also never drawn though. I just want to get better at a very fast pace, and while I have the model and the teacher here, I want to learn as much as possible. As I mentioned yesterday, I have so much to learn from the people around me. Each of these people are professional in their own field. I truly do think that I am learning from the best here.

I also did my first photo history class today. Liz (the teacher) is amazing, and she knows so much. She was able to put my history straight a little big more. I fully appreciate the things that brought on photography in this world. It's unreal what has gone on in this world and what individuals here have been able to create.

After that, I had a digital class with John, and it was absolutely amazing. He's such an incredibly smart guy, and it's just a pleasure to work with him!

Tonight, I had a literature class, where I learned all about the Odyssey. We went over stories that we had read over the week, and I got correct pronunciations of many of the main characters in
the book. My reading assignment for the week is very long though, so I'm going to have to get a move on it early! This class is just amazing though, and working with this guy has been a pleasure. He is going to help me to understand where I need to go and what I need to study while I am going to be in Venice, Prague and Italy. I LOVE the knowledge that he has.

After class, we went out to eat at a traditional Greek restaurant. It was been amazing to do it when we have, and I enjoy it. It never ends up being expensive, and it is so enjoyable. We had all the traditional Greek food. I had fish that I actually liked for the first time. We went out to spend time with a school benefactor and pretty famous composer and Professor from Germany. He is an amazing guy, and he totally treated us for the night. It was actually very special for me. You can learn so much by being able to just be a part of and be in contact with other people and their lives. It is so amazing to me! We had fish and calamari, wine and ouzo, chick peas and beats. It was all amazing. After that, I had quinces and yoghurt for dessert. Greek food is absolutely the best.

I also got a spare moment today, and I got a chance to go up on the roof and draw today. The sun was so hot and the weather was so warm that it was just amazing. Imagine the most beautiful day possible and times it by ten. Greece is so warm and lovely.

After dinner, we went on a short walk along the waterfront, and it was wonderful as well.

I also went to the gelato shop and had some homemade gelato! The woman is just amazing, and I just love her ice cream!

I am now heading off to bed for the night. I have made it through all 659 of the photos that I had taken over the last two weeks. It's time for me to take more and of course to print the ones that I do have.

Tomorrow, I have basic drawing for two hours and painting for five hours. The most important part is that I get to produce art the way that I have been doing so.

Ok. I must be off.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Greek Wonders

Today was a wonderful day. Every day here is wonderful, but I was just so happy, and I noticed it in particular as I walked from class to class that I am so lucky here. I realized that I am actually studying as a full-time student, and it's so great to have this experience. I also realized how important education is to me. I was kind of telling people that I was interested in doing art history just because I was bored and I thought that it was kind of fun. I realize now that I would never be willing to drop these studies. They are totally incredible. I love every second of what I do here. I just eat up the information that is available to me. I am doing more classes than anyone else, and the main reason for that is because I love them all, and I would never forgive myself if I left this Greek Island without the most amount of knowledge and experience that is possible to me. Every time I sit in a class, I realize how much information the person standing in front of me has to impart. There are so many people in the world that are good at their jobs, my dad, for one, knows so much, and he's just one person. There are so many things to be incredible at here, and I'm doing them all. I don't feel ashamed to be doing so much at all. I like that every waking hour of the day from 9AM to 1AM is devoted to the things I love most about this world.

I have worked out a twisted and contorted way to take a shower, but at least it is a shower. You have to lean over the side of the tub and wash and condition your hair in completely cold water. After the water has ran long enough, the red light comes on in the water heater. It takes about 40 minutes for a few gallons of hot water to heat up. While it is heating up, I wash my face in semi-warm water and put my hair up and get my contacts in. Once it has heated up, I get 45 seconds of hot water. I jump in the tub and wash my body. Try holding a shower head while scrubbing yourself and at the same time adjusting the cold water so that you don't scold yourself for 45 seconds and you don't freeze yourself. Not adjusting things right just lands you in the position of taking a cold shower. I'm getting pretty good at my little system though! I can't wait to go home and take showers for hours on end!

It's funny to note that I went shopping in the supermarket. I can understand where the idea of the market being super comes from. There are a lot of different products to choose from (underwear to dish soap, oranges to squid). However, the size of the market is not super. The whole thing is probably a little bigger than the size of our condo. It's a lot of fun to try to find a product too. One hell of an adventure to look at cheese and then try to see the price tag. It's all written in Greek. No kidding either!

I also got my laundry done today. You take it to a lady who washes it in a washing machine. When that has been done, she gives it back to you wet, and you have to dry it on a clothes line. Let me tell you, I couldn't figure out how to make the clothes line work, so I just laid them all over my apartment to dry. It was kind of funny actually. I was so American I didn't know how to make a clothesline work! But I have clean clothes, and that is a relief.

I did have a big success today, and that was that I went shopping and did the entire thing in Greek. I got everything I needed, and I paid for it all by using Greek words that I know. I didn't speak a word of English. I'm getting pretty good actually. I'm trying to learn two words a day. I'm not bad now! I can't read it yet, but I'm starting to learn how to speak it!

Here are a few Greek words for you.

Signoma (long a)- Sorry/Excuse me
Ti Canis- How are you
Ena- One
Kala- good
Ti hora ini-what time is it
Efharisto-Thank you

The Greek vowels are so hard. I have to learn the alphabet. I can't survive without being able to read simple things at least!

Here are some things that being on his island have inspired me to do:

• Draw
• Paint
• Carve/Sculpt
• Write
• Write a book
• Continue serious schooling
• Go to Italy
• Grow herbs for my own kitchen
• Cook hearty Greek meals
• Read heavy literature
• Read heavy Greek literature
• Lean Greek
• Survive as an artist
• Do freelance photography/writing
• Sell my art
• Do art everyday
• Travel
• Most of all, I want to be myself

These things come to me like a ray of light each day, but they are a final part of who I am!

There are some serious changes going on here!

Other than that, I learned some incredible painting techniques today, and I spent 5 hours in my beautiful painting studio learning how to perfect them. I turned a painting that I hated into one that I like a lot. I worked on a second painting that I loved quite a lot when I was done with it. There are still lots to go though!

I felt very satisfied after working with the poetry that I wrote last night.

Also, today, I had a photography class, and I realized that silver photography is very much so a part of who I am. We need to work on getting me a darkroom space really because when I come back, I am going to produce like a maniac. It is possible that I am going to need to work with medium format (BIG) film if I can't get my camera fixed, and that doesn't bother me at all. It's cheaper anyway!

I'm having a hard time living without a clock at all, but I'm starting to get used to it. It's interesting living in a culture where time isn't really important!

I had a wonderful art history lesson tonight that has inspired me to go with a bunch of friends to Crete over our Spring break. It will be very, very inexpensive if we all go together, so I'm very excited! We may just do that!

Tonight I have a lot of things to do, so I am going to go. I have a class tomorrow that I have to do some serious preparation for. I have figure drawing tomorrow as well. I love that class, I'm getting better at it. It's the one thing (after painting) that I was terrified of, and I'm glad that it's something I can conquer while I am here!

With much love,


Monday, March 14, 2005

Greece for 2 Days

My hike last week was so incredible that it has left me hungering for more. There are so many exciting things going on here at the Center.

This man named John vanBuren came here to see us today. He is a gracious benefactor of the school. He is an Oregonian and he donated quite a bit this term, and he has agreed to fill the school's library. He is a famous composer, and he is living in Germany. I really liked working with him today, and I will see more of him in the future.

This week we are going to go to the Paros marble mine, I can't wait. It is the spot for the most pure marble on earth. It just sounds like so much fun! After that, the next day, we are going to do some art outside called Earth Art. Jane (John's wife) and the painting class are going to go rearrange stones and stuff in honor of Earth Day! That seems exciting.

Other than that, I'm working on my normal classes. I had a figure drawing class that was just amazing today. I am learning tools on how to draw that have been used by many masters of the past. We work on a skill, and then Jane shows us things in books of sketches done by famous artists using the same tool. I am getting relatively good at drawing the human form. Much better than before, and there is so much to learn. Also, learning about the human form and the use of lines in drawing are helping me so much to learn about photography. I see so many new things through the viewfinder here.

The teachers here really are working professionals. Each of them are incredible in their own right. They have so much knowledge to impart, and I just eat it up. That is why I am up until 1 AM every day working on some new project or reading Greek literature that could only enhance me further. My teacher in that class is so knowledgeable, and I just feel like a sponge as I soak it up!

Today was Clean Monday, so we did little class work. We took part of the day off and rented a car and drove it to the other side of the island to a restaurant one of our friends has over there. When we got there, we ordered a feast. We had Shrimp and Calamari and Humus and Chick Peas and Fried Cheese and special Lent Bread and fried zuccunni and zuccunni rolls and Lent dessert. The deal on food for Lent is that you can't eat fish, meat, oil or dairy products for the 40 days of Lent. I am told that all the stores will be open for these things anyway. Also, the people only strictly follow the diet for the first and last three days of Lent.

I am going to go to the supermarket tomorrow to get some oranges, bananas and yoghurt. I'm running out of food here!!! All I eat really is bananas and oranges and yoghurt. Then for dinner it's olive oil and bread with cheese on it. Good stuff. More and more commonly the whole group has gotten together, and we have done potluck dinners. It's been incredible. I've eaten some pretty good food. I'm looking for a collection of Greek Recipes for when I come home. Please get used to the idea of being Greek at heart! I'm just so excited to be a part of something this cool.

Our lunch today was awesome. After, we went for a walk along the beach. It's the first time I've been near the water. It was still quite cold, but that didn't hurt its beauty. We could see the other islands out in the distance. I got to see AntiParos up close today. It looks beautiful, and I will get to go snorkeling there soon! I also saw many more fields of goats today. This one little lamb (a couple of weeks old) came running up to me (they always pick me) and started playing with me. It was the most incredible experience. We also got to see a random donkey on the side of the road. How did I choose the two animals to love that they happen to have in Greece?

Ok. I have a thousand emails to sort through and some photos to do the same with. I just finished my second painting assignment. I don't love it, but it's better than the first. We're definitely going to improve on them both, so I'm excited for that. My photos are coming out absolutely incredibly. I love this place.

I miss you, and I wish you were here! Chris

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Greece for a day!

OHHHHH. Carnival. I never told you what that was. I am turning more and more Greek Orthodox by the day. It is a highly complicated religion that is even more complex than any Catholic stuff I've ever heard. The best way to explain it is to put it in terms of the Roman Catholic religion. In Catholicism, they have Mardi Gras, which indicates that it is the end of the "fun" part of the year. It's the last party day before you have to endure 40 days of suffering (Lent) before Easter.

In the Greek Orthodox religion, Carnival is the Greek version of Mardi Gras. It's kind of neat actually. School is out, and the kids run around in costumes (many dress in drag) and celebrate the time before Lent. It happens for a week or something like that.

This weekend is the last big party part of Carnival before Clean Monday. Clean Monday is the Orthodox version of Ash Wednesday. It's really the last, last day before you are supposed to give up eating (really, I'm told that bread and meat won't be available for a while here).

On Clean Monday, everyone gets to eat special foods (I've sampled the unleavened bread, which was quite incredibly good). All the families take the food out into the countryside and fly kites.

After that, is Lent and there are all sorts of rules about giving up food and what you can eat and when. Apparently shellfish are a valid food, and they'll be available all over the place. I'm also told that we're supposed to eat fish tonight. A bunch of the clan are getting together to celebrate. I'm going to go, but no fish for me. So that's what Carnival is. It's the last chance to have fun before Christ had to suffer so much.

It's crazy here. My friend, Sara, and I had two little boys chase use through the streets throwing colored cherry bombs at us. It was kind of scary, because we had no idea what it was that they were doing, and we ran like hell! They weren't trying to be mean at all, but celebrating, we were so confused.

I haven't written in two days. Its' hard to believe actually. Two nights ago, I actually went with my friend to a bar. Apparently, there was some situation with an Albanian doing not nice things with one of the girls here, and we went to handle it. The situation ironed out very easily. Later, John told us that the Albanians have this twisted idea of romance that often gets them and people around them into trouble. There is no situation now, but I was out late with my friend making sure that everything was ok.

Last night was just incredible too. We decided not to go on our hike on Friday because the weather was so incredibly horrible. It was so cold and the wind was blowing, so we decided to do it on Saturday (today). That meant that we had the day free yesterday to do whatever we wanted to do. I hung out and took some photos, but last night we had a huge pot luck at my friends Mike and Daisy's house. We had all this Greek food and we ate it until late, late at night. We had so much fun. I really like this group that I'm around. I've been talking a lot to Mike, and he is an awesome guy. He married his wife, Daisy when he was 20. We have very parallel lives, and we have a lot of reality. I asked him how he could justify being married so young (as that's what I've been getting recently), and we had a very inspirational conversation about marriage and life. He's been happily married for 5 years. He came with his wife to Greece last year, and then applied as a student for this semester. They've been around for 2 semesters, and they're just awesome people. Daisy is a photographer, and we're learning from each other. I found out that she does weddings for $90 and hour, and I'm going to learn from her how she does it.

A funny side story about the dinner last night was that I brought an orange, and we cut it up and were eating it, and it was just great. I wanted to get another one. I knew that there was a tree just outside the door, so Mike and I got our shoes and coats on and went out to pick oranges. We discovered that the tree was in a totally unlit area (as many places are in Greece), and we were in the middle of someone's yard trying to pick oranges. All I can say is that we laughed quite a bit during that time, and we also discovered that oranges have thorns on their trees. That was a good time!

Going back farther, and to the problems with my apartment! I woke up on Friday. After not having taken a shower for 4 days (due to water problems) I decided that nothing was going to stop me from getting a shower, and that if the water was cold, I was just going to have to deal with it. I got up and the power had gone out in my entire apartment. Believe it or not, it was INCREDIBLY sucky. It wasn't actually that bad, but I had to go another part of a day without showering. I eventually figured out how to get the power back on, and was able to take a 45 second shower yesterday. Short, but it got me clean! Appreciate our seemingly endless supply of warm water! By the way, my apartment has a name. Her name is Rodia. Everyone else has numbers, but because I was given the big apartment, it has a name, so if I ever say Rodia, that just means I'm referring to my apartment!

I wrote some Limmericks because I had to write something for my class, and I couldn't think of anything. I then didn't end up using them in my class, but here they are!
This poem goes out to a boy
Whose heart I played with like a toy
But since being in Greece
I've found so much peace
I know I'll come home to such joy

This lover I have in Sherwood
Is like our man Sir Robin Hood
He'd fight to the death
To enhance my last breath
How did I marry a man with such good?

This marble of snowy white
Has nothing but dotted my sight
Since being here
It's brought me great cheer
My soul's risen to greater heights

I up and got in a cart
To drive to study 'me art
I'm in the middle of nowhere
With this grease in my hair
But Hey! It's at least a start!

How do you like them? In my literature class, I have started to read the Odyssey again. It's actually beautiful, and I'm doing the class because we're going to read the Odyssey really fast and then move on to other stuff. I wouldn't mind being an expert on the Greek literature!

One touching thing was that I was by myself having suvlake (a Greek pita chicken thing) all alone. John Pack came by and saw, me and he walked into the place and sat with me, and he bought me lunch. It was really very nice of him, and we had a good time. He's a very wise man, and I enjoy talking to him very much!

There was one other thing that I had written down to tell you that I had totally omitted in my other emails. I have decided to take up painting, so I got all of the supplies, and then Jane (John's wife and the painting instructor) was trying to decide what space to give me to paint, as all of the other spaces had been given out. She took me into the front entry of the school (that no one ever uses because the door is hard to open). Inside the front door, there is a foyer that has a very, very high ceiling. There is a spiral staircase that goes up from there. She was using it a little for storage, but she gave it to me as a studio. I cannot tell you how beautiful this room is, and if I can figure it out, I will get some photos online for you, but it truly is INCREDIBLE. So I have this incredible painting studio all by myself, and people walk by the front street and look in to see me painting. I love the spot, and I'm so glad I got it. The ceilings really are like 13 feet high. Just incredible.

And it really does get so much better from there! Yesterday, the hike was cancelled, and as we never have classes on Friday, I had the whole day to myself to do what I wanted. As I haven't been out on my own really to take photos, I got my camera ready. I took 1 G of memory and 3 batteries and set up out this huge hill that overlooks the sea. I went out that day and took 200 photos of everything that I could possibly see. It was just amazing.

And the even more incredible part of it was that I was walking along, and there was this little brown sign pointing out this spot in the road. I stopped, and I finally figured out that it was pointing to some houses (foundations) that had been there since 3000 BC. They were just sitting there, and there were mosaics on the floor of the house that has been there equally as long. They weren't protected by anything. They had lasted for so long. Anyway, just understand what kind of an incredible environment I'm in. The second oldest church in Christendom is only about 500 meters from where I am sitting at this second right now!

This walk I went on was just incredible. I took pictures of olive trees and flowers. I ran into a herd of goats that I took photos of. I climbed half up a hill, and then looked out at the ocean, and I could see the other islands out far into the sea. The sea was a deep, deep blue with green interspersed. The whole thing was just so incredible!

And then, the hike that we took today is just too much for words. We went into the center of the island to a town called Lefkos. It is where all the people went when the island was being attacked by pirates. We got off the bus and then walked far out into the country. Along the way, John pointed out different herbs. I have collected some thyme, sage and oregano that I am going dry and bring back with me. The herbs were just growing along the side of the road. They smell just incredible. It was such a humbling and liberating experience to see such incredible things. We then went along this stone wall and saw churches and old mills (from when the windmills actually ground the wheat)! We also had some sourdough bread that probably was made with starter that has been around since Chaucer's time. John knows so much, and we got such a lesson. I ran into a donkey along the road, and I stopped and took some photos of him! After that we ran into this herd of goats that were probably only a couple of months old. They followed us on our hike because they weren't fenced in. We then went and sat in an olive grove that has been there forever. I saw some olive trees today that are more than a thousand years old. That's just incredible. And in addition to that, I found some broken shards of pottery that are probably just as old. John said that it happens all the time. I'll bring them home and show them to you! I also got to see the island of Naxos from afar!

I had the goal to have 1000 digital photos to use as a raw database for my trip to Greece. I wanted them to be excellent photographs. As of this point in time, I have 600 photos. Most of them were taken in the last 2 days. Looks like those memory cards will come in handy (and they have already).

And just to end the hike off well, we sat at this incredible little place and had some Greek food. I can't even pronounce what I ate, but if I could cook that well, I would be one happy girl.

As I sit here, I hear the bells ringing as a sign of celebration for Carnival. It's not hard to get used to church bells and ferry horns. What a great life! So that's what I'm up to.


Ok. I have gotten the photo thing resolved, but it's happening in a completely different way. I have put them on the yahoo photo share thing. Check them out because many of them are great. I sent out an email to almost everyone I know with the link. If you didn't get it, let me know, and I'll send it to you.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Today's Greek Journey

So the computers here at the Center were down yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to write anything to you. I found out that all computers on the island were down, so it wasn't bad. I hear that that happens whenever there are thunder storms (and there were). That's Ok because I went to bed. I view it as one of the last times that I am going to be able to sleep for a while.

I have packed my schedule in a very beautiful way, and I'm not required to work as hard as I am and as hard as I have committed myself, but I know that the more that I put into something the more I get out of it in the end. And knowing what a beautiful place it is here. Every time I step out of my door, I think of how lucky I am to have found a place, and in fact, how lucky I am that such a place even exists in this whole wide world. It's worth every second it took to get here, as well as every dollar I spent making it work! You can tell anyone that.

Here are the interesting things that I've run into. I've discovered that I am actually picking up the Greek language quite fast. When people ask "Ti canis?"(how are you), I am able to give them a response. I walked into a bakery and knew that I could have ordered my entire thing in Greek, but it got a little complex when they didn't have what I wanted. I know that I will do this at least by the time that I leave the island.

I have also discovered that I am learning to read intuitively. It's more a survival thing, because when you are trying to buy groceries, you need to know what you're buying, and nothing is written in English, literally NOTHING. So when you are shopping for something, you need to know if you are buying hair oil or olive oil, and if the fish you are looking at is squid or tuna (an actual mistake I made). I was in the store today, and I realized that I actually did know what I was reading. Somehow, the thought came to me that I was holding milk, and I was, and it was not even near the refrigerated aisle (they don' refrigerate their milk here).

I have gotten quite good at saying hello to people on the street. One other story ties into this. Yesterday, I was quite late for my class, and I was totally lost. As a pirate, I was making my way through the maze of streets, not wanting to raid and plunder, but to find my way to the darkroom (conveniently not connected to the school and down a very windy street). As I was hurrying along, I saw that an old man was taking up the whole road. I then looked more closely, and I discover that it was an old man and his donkey. My heart almost fell out of my chest, but I kept my cool, walked around them and made it to my class (not without being scolded about being late).

Today, however, I was hurrying off to the Center to start my drawing class, and I saw the old man again. Sure enough, he had is trusty donkey by his side. I wasn't in a hurry really this time, so I walked slowly around them and looked carefully at them. I saw that he was selling lettuce off the back of his donkey. It was the most touching and beautiful scenes that I've ever seen, and I plan to make a whole art piece around it (I'm nervous about asking if I could photo him). Rather than just become the girl that always passes silently, I decided it only polite to at least address him. I have him a nice quiet "yasas" (hello). He looked up at me and smiled like I had made his day, and he said "CALIMARA" (Good day). I flashed him a beautiful smile back, and walked on. Little did he know that he made my day much more than I made his!

I plan to ask if it would be polite to take a picture. It is going to be the basis of my work here in photography if so!

I also ran into another beautiful thing the other day as well. It was thundering outside, but the clouds were far off, so I decided to go for a walk. John commented to me, "Don't go get wet now." It was a joke, but you know how these things can turn serious real fast! I walked out with my camera intending to take some photos of the clouds that I was falling in love with, and it started to rain softly. I thought, "I'm from Oregon, I can handle this." And I kept walking on.

However, it started to really pour, and I diverted from taking photos. I needed to make it either to my apartment or the center very fast, and neither were close at all. Then the hail started coming down. It was bigger than the size of peas, and it was really starting to hurt. I walked by a bakery with some old men (no women) in it making loud conversation as they smoke cigarettes, drank coffee, made good conversations and played with their dogs. They saw me passing them by, but they couldn't take it. Two of them walked out into the street where I was and pulled me into the bakery. They were very polite about it, but it was probably the most touching thing I had ever experienced in my entire life. These two old men actually cared enough to retrieve me from the rain and take care of me while it hailed. This culture is so beautiful, and I'm so glad to be a part of it!

I found out that it was a little expensive to do photography they way that they want me to do it. We talked about this on the phone yesterday, but I think I got it solved. I am going to try to use some supplies here, and maybe have you ship me something (very light, so very cheap). I am going to continue in photography, as it is an important skill to me, and I'm not going to let finances get in the way of anything. This many not be my main focus, but it will be an important focus. I can't not come here and not record the world the way that I know how to best. I discussed this with the professor, and she is willing to let me use my own film. I just need to get some canisters to hold the film now.

Tomorrow I have basic drawing at 10:00 (I love this class) painting at 13:00 and writing at 18:00. I am going to have 3 pieces of writing done for tomorrows class (because they are just crawling non-stop out of my head).

I took my first long walk alone today. I had to go buy a painting supply, and it was on the other side of town. It was fun to walk around and see what it was the town had to offer. I am definitely in the nicest part of town!

I also went to try to sort out my hot-water issue. I went to my landlord, and she said, no it is working fine, and then walked away. I was like, OK. Siega Siega (slowly, slowly(another motto of the Greek service industry). She did give me one solution. However, it looks like I am going to be taking two showers a day. One in which I can wash my hair quickly and one in which I can wash my body quickly. I'm going to have to do something, as I haven't been able to shower for 2 days now. GRRRR. I wouldn't mind except that it's so cold here, so when you take a cold shower, it just makes it worse. I hate shivering. If it weren't for that, I would be just fine!

When it all gets totally overwhelming, all you have to know is that Boogatza will fix it all. I had one yesterday when all was looking dim in the photography world. It was GREAT. Cheered me right up. I have some chocolate milk I'm saving for a rainy day. Other than that, bread soaked in olive oil with cheese on it has made the best meal so far. It's excellent. Olive oil is heaven. We're going to have to find cheap suppliers in the US, because this stuff is excellent! I've also discovered the great joy of bananas and yoghurt. It's what I eat every day for breakfast. The yogurt here is just divine. I could eat it for the rest of forever. These two meals, together, are making life great for me. Throw in a boogatza, and you're in heaven!

It must be said that I had a large win yesterday when I made my first painting. It was nothing to be proud of, it would out of proportion, and I didn't do the exercise very well (though it wasn't THAT horrible), but the most important part was that I stepped near a canvas, and that my friend, is something more valuable than life itself. I am conquering some real fears that have actually been hindering me as a person here. Not just in art, in so many areas of life. This is a true education, and I couldn't ask for anything more except to have you here sharing every moment of beauty with me.

Goals for Greece

I have now made my dream of studying art on a Greek island a reality and I want to be very productive as an artist. Following are my areas of study and what I want to accomplish in them while I am here. The schedule that I have decided to take is almost unmanageable, and I am told that no students have been able to maintain it in the past. I am determined to make progress in all areas.

Following are the products I wish to create and the skills and abilities that I wish to leave the Aegean Center with.

Art History:
• A fundamental understanding of the basics of Art History that I can add onto my present knowledge. A specialized knowledge of Greek Art History.
• Either a painting, drawing or paper should be the end-product of this class.

Basic Drawing:
• This class should be completed with a basic understanding of the fundamentals of drawing.
• I would like to add six new drawings to my portfolio to take home with me (pastels are preferred).

Creative Writing:
• This class will be completed with an even greater appreciation and understanding of this art.
• I would like to add 26 new pieces of writing to my portfolio as well as go home with a book started.

Digital Photography:
• In this class, I would like to master and understand all controls on my camera.
• I should leave the class with a full understanding of the Adobe Photoshop program.
• I would like to leave this class with a basic understanding of all aspects of the art of Digital Photography.
• I should leave this class with no less than 1,000 raw images that can be worked with later and used to show people my Greece Experiment.
• I should leave this class with no less than 15 final and professional prints that are portfolio/display quality.

Figure Drawing:
• I should leave this class with the basic understanding and ability to draw the human figure.
• I would like to leave this class with three drawings of the human figure that I would be proud to hang on the wall.

• This class is very important to my understanding of the world that I am in.
• I will leave this class with a very nice foundation in Greek Literature.
• I will re-read the Odyssey to full understanding.
• I will continue to read other plays, poems and books until I have a minor background in Greek Literature that can be continued while I am away.
• I would like to purchase a copy of the Greek books that I read.

• I would like to leave this class without the fear of showing my paintings to other people.
• My utter terror of painting needs to leave me.
• I would like to add 3 good paintings to my portfolio of work.

Photographic History:
• I would like to leave this class with a more full knowledge of the history of photography that I can use later in life.
• This class goal fits in with that of Art History.

Sculpture: • I would like to leave this class with a basic understanding of marble sculpture.
• I want to add one or possibly two sculptures to my artistic portfolio.

Silver Photography:
• I need to leave this class with any present holes in photography filled in.
• I need to discover new products for me to use as a photographer.
• I need to have 200 raw images for use later.
• I need to have 15 photo prints that are portfolio quality.
• I need to use my special photo equipment to create images on canvasses that can then be painted.

Final note on The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts
I need to leave this opportunity a lot more full as an artist. I am gaining the understanding of the ability to see beauty in everything. My ultimate goal is to leave here with a sizeable portfolio that I will be able to use to display myself as an artist. I also would like to change my frame of mind on life so that it is as it has been this past week here in the wonderful country of Greece.

Some Photos of the Center

If you would like to see some photos of the incredible building that I am studying art in, go to this link. More photos actually taken by me soon.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Great Men Before Us

Men of the past have come so far before me. Built great walls and sent forth their ideals as much as their sculptures. Brilliant men so far behind had it mostly right. Bud did THEY live by their ideas? We now, in our hands, have the ability to build such a great civilization. What of the nuclear weapons? And the hate crimes? What of the AIDS and the people unable to feed themselves? We have many, many thousands of thinking men’s ideals behind us. And why do we not live by them. One great man sends forth great genius; then why does he not live by it? We’re no lack of brilliant ideals to make a great civilization where all prosper. All that lacks is our genius application of that data. We all say it, why do we not all use it?


My name is Dimitri. You don't know me, nor do any people from any land that prospers. I live in a far off country that your land is embarrassed about putting in your history books. Nor does your geography text point you in my direction. We will never meet. You do, however, fight for my cause. Your history texts do talk about the evils of the government I live with daily. However, your help is not in the name of help. It is in the name of the interests of your government. That is why I still live daily devoid of the joys of life. My small country has nothing to offer your leaders. We have no potential of great world power. I write not to rant. I have talents I am not free to explore. I'm not free to open the bakery I want to open. I know not how far my untapped skills go. I have trouble finding food. Other people tell me what my freedoms are. I have not the rights you do. I even must write this piece in secret. When something happens that I think is wrong, it's not legal for me to voice how I feel. I could, but death would swiftly follow. I have not the right to believe in art or spirituality or any higher power. The old churches in my country have been converted into the metal factories that I am forced to work long hours in. I do not wish to bring children into this cruel world, but birth control being inaccessible to me, I have three. Many times, my stomach goes empty to feed theirs. They do not get an education, as educated people are free. They know not the trap they are caught in, nor do they know it doesn't exist everywhere. My children will be told where to work and what to do with any of their own dreams being denied to them. I can't leave or go on vacation at my will. There are guards at my borders willing to kill. I do not get to choose my doctor or my car (these are not available in any case). I have no freedom of choice in what I buy. The work I produce need not be of high quality, as the same level of work will get me the same either way. Nor do I feel sorry for myself. This is who I am. My life is only one situation out of the thousands of people in my country. My neighbor's story is similar, and she has her own hidden, untapped skills and her own children who will never see their full potential. You have the great advantage of being prosperous. You have money and birth control. You have churches and education. So do not just say that this is bad without understanding, and do not support it's eradication with the government only using it as an excuse to continue it's own corrupt aims. Take a look outside your textbook and see if this is right. Take my individual situation and weigh it against your own, but make sure you look. Our government's agendas mean little against feeding a hungry child. Inspired by a free Albanian

Chris' Recent Journal

I had to wait for some time to get onto the ferry. Waiting is a killer, and boy did I wait for a long time. Riding the ferry was very interesting. I had a class C ticket, and if you can tell me what that means, it would be great. I wandered the boat wondering what was up until I just stood on the deck and enjoyed the view of the men loading the ferry. You try backing a semi into a boat. They were very skilled.

I sat so much that day and contemplated my situation and my life. It was a nice experience. I haven't done that in so long, it was just incredible. I figured that since I'd be going to an art school that I should produce something as an artist. I wrote a poem/story. It was nice. I was prepared from that point to arrive on the island. I think that I now have the ability to produce art and believe that it is good. The one I wrote on the ferry was an accomplishment for me.

After writing, I wandered the ferry looking for a warm place to sleep. However, anything that was above freezing was infested by smoking Greeks. I swear to god that they are the reason that the world grows tobacco. None of them would survive in New York. Damn the people that put tobacco in the hands of the Greeks!

After 6 hours on the ferry, we made it to the Paros port in Pariokia (note this can be spelled any of thousands of ways you choose). It was beautiful to see the boat coming into the port as everything was lit up, and it was just a beautiful site! It was the dawn of my fairy tale.

At the end of the ferry ride, I ran into a girl that had been traveling around the world on her own for 10 months. She was the only person I had seen in days that spoke fluent English, and we got on well. I agreed to help get her a place to stay (at least find the one she was looking for).

Jane Pack was standing there with the entire art group when I got off the boat. I was introduced to them all. I finally met Suzanne, who I had been talking to for months. She said that the girls were going out that night, and they wanted me to come.

Jane showed me to my apartment. Apparently, I had been given the biggest and most incredible apartment of them all. I was told how large it was compared to everyone else's. The bedroom had a huge bed, and I have a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room and another random room that really serves no purpose that separates the house into three parts! The floors are marble as are the baseboards. I have a courtyard just outside with lawn furniture that will go on it when it gets warmer. I also have a fireplace. It is a quaint little place, and I'm excited to spend the next 3 months in it!

We went out to a bar called Karen's. Karen is a bar tender from Ireland, and she lives in Greece. She was completely hilarious, and I spent a nice night drinking water and meeting everyone. We then went to the other town hot spot, where I met more people and found a computer for the first time! I emailed Jared and checked out what else it was that I had in that department.

Jared has been wonderful for this whole trip handling anything and everything that he can! I went to bed at 4:00 AM. I slept until 10:00. Now, I do warn you that living in Greece has its quirky little things. I woke up to a freezing house (literally it was under 32 degrees) and no water. I went out to seek a way to get my water on. If you ask Jared, he will be able to tell you some of the adventurous things that I have been through. You take things for granted like being able to lock a door (locks are not even close to normal here) and being able to take a shower with a showerhead that is attached to the wall (we hold them here). You also take for granted porch lights and warm showers. Learn that when you travel, these things are not always dependable. I will save the details for a piece of art later!

I spent the day exploring this beautiful island I somehow managed to land myself in. I saw an ancient temple and a graveyard. I saw some beautiful green water and windmills that have been used to make electricity. Best of all, I walked all around a church called the Church of a Hundred Doors. It is the oldest continually used church in Christendom. Fancy that. It's on my island. I'm so privileged.

I went out to a bar that night again and met some Greek people. The people here have different viewpoints on life than the normal American, and I cannot say to you how beautiful it all is to me. I also talked to some Albanians, for which, my second piece of writing was made (read it on my blog).

I spent the rest of the day exploring what is called boogatza. It is the most delectable Greek pastry ever. Eat it if you can find it. I've never tasted anything so wonderful. And now my journal is going to consist of things I write to Jared.

This was what happened today.
Jared, It's just amazing that I'm sitting here on a Greek Island doing what I wish, and you are there working. I would just be dying right now if you were in a job that you hated. I can't tell you how happy I am that I get this opportunity to do this, and it's so great that you're over there taking care of me. No one else has the advantage there (well, parents), and I just think of how grateful I am to have what you're doing. Thank you so much.

I did decide to do some painting, so that set me back about 50 Euro because I had to buy all of my supplies, sorry about that, I should have gotten everything in the US, but it was just a whim thing, and I really think I'm going to learn how to succeed here as an artist. It's so important as to who I am.

This experience is amazing. I am starting to open up a lot. I'm finding that there are several things that I find that I am missing here. They are as follows. 1.) Fingernail clippers. I keep breaking those suckers and I want to cut them all off. 2.) Art supplies, of course I chose to take the painting classes! 3.) I laptop or at least our palm so that I can write where I please. I have become a most prolific writer here.

Something very unfortunate happened today. Someone graffitied our building last night, and we spent a lot of the day sorting that out. It was some Canadian person that was drunk and crazy. It sanded right off, and I believe that he will be deported from Greece! I learned a lot about restoring buildings though because John had to restore the building the school is in. He did it in neoclassical style, and it is beautiful. The paint is frescoed on. It's not just painted on. It's a part of the wall! I want to get into that stuff.

Today was my first day of classes for real, and it was just fabulous. This is the schedule I have taken on.
10:00 Figure Drawing
18:00 Writing
10:00 Photography
13:00 Painting
18:00 Art History

10:00 Figure Drawing
14:00 History of Photography
16:30 Digital Class
18:00 Literature

10:00 Basic Drawing
12:30 Photography
13:00 Painting
18:00 Writing

Friday: COOLIO hikes with John. They sound AWESOME.

I'm also going to do some mosaic classes, but the instructor is on maternity leave right now! My figure drawing class was incredible. I've never drawn a nude model before, and it was actually great. I learned so much and the instructor really broke it down for me to really understand it. I actually got the hang of it, and my things really looked like people. Drawing is a subject I really want to conquer this term because I have all the help and experience backing me in the world.

I also discovered that John (the director of the school) worked closely with Ansel Adams. NEATO! He's got some great work.

Things have gotten even quirkier really! I took a very cold shower this morning. We can't figure out how to get my hot water to work. I turned on the hot water heater, and after 12 hours of heating, I got 1 minute of hot water. It's just kind of funny. I'm learning more and more about how to close a door every day here. I've got the locks to my apartment down, but getting into the school is impossible at this point!

I was going to have to buy a coat because it has been incredibly cold here, but I went into the old student lost and found and found one, so I'm going to at least borrow it until it gets warmer. It's a very nice jacket though!

I love quirky apartments. I'm just glad it's not one that we bought. Our house is just perfect! Keep making it more and more clean. I have a cleaning lady that comes to handle mine once a week, but I'm spotless anyway!

If only you were here to sort out disasters with our network here. I guess there are a lot of little quirks in that too. It seems to be a motto here in Greece. I learned of this term that I have been observing so heavily. It's a state of mind called Ti-na-kanomay. This is the motto of the Greek service industry. It basically means, we'll get to it no worries, no rush. That idea at least.

I also got the great pleasure of dining Greek today. I discovered it is much cheaper to get the Greeks to make me lunch. You can get a Greek meal for less than 2 Euro. This stuff is GREAT. I had a chicken pita sandwich with yogurt inside. It was delicious. I now know where to eat lunch. Other than that, I have been surviving on bananas and yogurt. Both very cheap but delectable items here. Really worth trying.

I also discovered a great Greek item that is worth any part of the trip. It is called a Boogatza (that's how it sounds). This is the most incredible pasty item you have ever tasted. I am going to learn how to cook it when I get home for all of my friends. This week is Carnival, and I am told that the bakeries will be making this fresh every day, and I can get it warm. I am SO into Carnival! The food here sounds delectable, and I can't wait to devour it!

I have learned here the importance of art in life. It's what runs you. I am going to post my first writing piece tonight. It's something you can appreciate. As I was looking at anthologies of past art students, I realized that this man that is teaching my class has had the great honor of teaching students that you have taught. Three of them to be exact. I wonder if he notices any difference. He chopped my piece of writing. I left a little discouraged, but I'm going to make it even better!

I love this little town. The best thing so far for me is the fact that you can walk around saying "yasas" to everyone. That is the Greek version of hello. Unlike in America, you make eye contact and wish the person walking a good day. It is only the polite thing to do, and you get a quick "yasas" back or a "calimara," which means "good day." It's so nice to be in a town where the people acknowledge each other's presence.

These notes are my daily journal, and also partially what I am going to post on my blog, so be warned. A lot of this stuff is the raw inspiration I plan to use in my writing class!

Ya Hara

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Several Days in the Life of Chris' Greek Journal

I must have been pretty naive to believe that going to Greece, 1/2 way around the world wasn't going to be at least interesting. It's as if I was put in a slingshot and flung here without hardly any knowledge of the fact that a place such as this would exist. Actually, I didn't come here by slingshot. I got here well on my own. A hard-won journey made by a plane.

I spent about 24 hours traveling from my beautiful home to the next time I rested my head—in my almost destination of Athens. I flew from Portland, Oregon to Cincinnati, Ohio with very little excitement. I was on the plane for several hours and besides the fact that I was supposed to be at a window seat and landed the worst aisle seat in history. Thing were fine.

Well other than the fact that the fever I was running for the previous 5 days had not yet decided to break! It continued on. I have a tough body, and my body had a very tough time fighting it off!

During my barely 45 minute stay in Cincinnati, I found a little coffee shop and asked for a hot water. When I pulled my money out to pay, this nice lady waved me off. In fact, she looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to pay. I brewed me up some Good Earth tea while I waited for my first European adventure—a flight to Paris.

While I sat there listening to the stewardess translate everything into French, I thought "how many of these people around me could possible actually BE French." I found out that it was quite a few, as I turned out to be the only one of two Americans on the plane. If they weren't from France or England, they were actually making a connecting flight to Bombay—go figure. I adored listening to the French men speak in their accents.

I was on that plane to France for 7 hours, and I managed to sleep most of the way. My fever continued on. It's a good thing that the flight wasn't fully full, and the seat next to me was open. Less germs to spread on! I made it through being sick AND air sick with the wonderful invention of 7-UP. I would recommend flying Delta. We all had personal TV's with many channels. The food was actually edible, and I ate my chicken breast while flipping between Friends, Finding Nemo and Jerry Maguire.

My flight to Paris got in 45 minutes late. I missed my layover, which I can understand. There was ice and snow surrounding the Paris landscape and we had a hard time landing. I ended up waiting in a very long line to get myself on another plane. I prayed that one would leave the same day, and I got my wish, it was 3 hours off. I got my ticket and walked toward the terminal.

The Paris airport is very confusing. Whole walls open up, but you have to know where to ask! When I asked if they could hand inspect my film at security, no one understood me, and I wasn't going to try my French. They ended up calling the police to deal with me. The officer that came told me to open up my film canister, and I had the hardest time communicating that it was film. They still didn't get it, so I told them to send it through the x-ray machine. It's dark in there was the response I got. I let it slide, and went on.

When I went to wait for my plane, I was very tired, and I fell asleep. They kept making announcements about delays, but they were all in French, and I had to learn how to hear the language that I only know how to read. I was able to do that very quickly. And of course my flight was delayed due to ice and snow in Paris. I was cold, and I was tired. I fell asleep on the plane for 3.5 hours while they took me to Athens.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I got to Athens with all of the ferries on strike and all. I found a travel agency. The woman there told me that yes; the ferries were on strike until Saturday at least! She was very nice, and gave me the way to a cheap hotel and some maps. I bought a bus ticket for bus E95 to take me to Syntagma Square. Not everything is written in Latin. They have it all in Greek. Don't believe the travel books. They are wrong. I missed my stop on the bust because I had no idea where I was.

When I asked someone where to go, he grabbed my bags and hauled them and I off the bus. He told me to follow him while he left my bags on the side of the road with a friend, and he took me to get directions. I was told to walk 200 meters that way (and points) to get to the metro. So I walk 200 meters in indicated direction and, "Do you speak English, Please? Where is the metro?" "Lady, it's 200 meters that way (points in indicated direction, same as before)." So I walk 200 meters in indicated direction and, "Do you speak English, Yes? Where is the metro?" "The WHAT?" "Umm metro, underground, train, the L the T the…." "Underground,… OH Miss, it's 200 meters that way (points in indicated direction, same as before)." GRRR. So I walk 200 meters again, and it IS there this time. Athens has a very nice metro that was just completed for the Olympics not months before. It's designed the exact same way as in DC, so I'm sure that it is American crafted because the more I learn about Greece, the more Xeno (non Greek) it seems.

I took the easy-to-use metro to my stop OMONIA Square and then got off. I was looking for my place to stay, the Alma Hotel. I had become so exhausted from carrying around my 56-pound suitcase, so I stopped many times and asked for directions. Everyone was very nice. Especially because I was asking other hotel owners how to get to their competitions.

After a long walk and a great workout, I finally made it. I got my key and checked out my small, two bed room. Very 70's like room that was clearly practical. I fell asleep and slept for 13 hours waking up in a bed of sweat. I think the fever finally broke. I was glad because I wasn't sure if I was going to have it forever or not.

I checked out at 11:00 after exploring the Greek traditions of not flushing toilet paper and checking out (by actual use) the Greek version of a shower. It's just a hand held head with water coming out. Nothing too incredibly fancy, and quite odd to a spoiled American. And so, me and my 56-pound suitcase set off on a new journey. Only I was smart this time, I had two backpacks before, and I consolidated it to being just a big bag and a backpack. I knew this travel was going to be easier than before. We set out to find Syntagma square, and using the metro, I had to problems doing just that.

However, after I got off the metro, I spent no less than 2 hours trying to find my next hotel, and after walking half way to the Parthenon and back many times (literally) I hailed a taxi. He charged me 5 Euro to go the 1 block away from my hotel that I was, but I may never have found it without him.

The second room was no more promising than the first. However I got to put my things down, so I had the day to explore. My hotelkeeper gave me a map of Athens and sent me on my way around. I talked to no less than 15 travel agencies inquiring on how to get to Paros. All reactions were the same.

"The ferry is on strike."
"I know, but I NEED to get to Paros, I can't stay in Athens."
"Oh… Hire a room, stay for a while, drink some wine, have some dinner, all the same. No worries."

And of course I was worried, and so I went to the next travel agency trying to find a flight or a fisherman who was willing to take me to a small island in the middle of the Aegean.

I did, however, manage to get someone to take pity on me and get me booked on standby for a flight to the island. If that failed, I'd no idea what lengths I would go to get to the island. I also went to visit the Acropolis. It was just incredible, and I can't write too much here about it because it just took my breath away. The people that made the place over hundreds of years had such care of what went on, and even small things like the place where the bronze sculptures were forged were all carefully planned out. It was in incredible experience I would never forget, and of course I took photos. Definitely worth the 12 Euro to get in. Also, it was simply incredible to see the writing that had been put on stones in 600 BC in actual ancient Greek. The Acropolis had all the makings of ancient perfections.

Socrates, Plato and all other incredible Greeks walked on that hill as well. I was with greatness. The sculptures that have survived to today are simply amazing. Many of them were broken down, and it just reminds you how much time can change things, even stone!

It's not how I thought it would be at all. However, it's humbling to understand that some communication, some sculpture that was made in ancient times still exists today, and I saw the originals. That is so priceless. The preservationists are incredible and I'm so honored that I chose to work with a profession/major that is so competent and beautiful. The lengths they go to to preserve our history is just simply amazing. I was in my place on that little hill—for sure.

After the Acropolis, I went to Piraeus, the port city, to see if I could get any data or see anything that had to do with the ferry strike. I saw it for myself, docked boats, it really wasn't exciting. Docked boats and empty ticket booths. I then went back to Athens for the most incredible thing. I had a Greek meal. It would have been much better I'm sure if I had done it in the traditional Greek way with people all around and a family, but I did it in my own unique style as the girl traveling alone.

I asked the waiter what it was that I should eat, and he took me into the kitchen and recommended that if I liked cooked onions that I have this. I told him to serve it up. It ended up being veal and onions. Neither of which I eat, but when I go into it with my large brick of feta cheese I learned to enjoy it very much. I ate quite a bit of the meal, and then I was brought Crème du la crème ON THE HOUSE. The people were so nice, and the food was so good. I was well taken care of.

One interesting fact is that I had dinner next to and practically ate with an actor from the play Cats. He was from Sydney, but he brought his wife and child to Athens to practice the play he is doing on tour around the world!

I finally figured out the Greek phone as well, and I was able to call Jared.

3.4.05 I couldn't sleep at all because I was so bloody worried about the stupid ferry strike, and I wondered if I was going to be able to get myself out of Athens or not. Also, the Greeks must have a theory about using clocks because the only inkling I could get of the time was the fact that the news was talking about the close of the New York Stock Exchange, which didn't really help, as I didn't really know the time difference or if the news was old or breaking! I woke up, watched the same newsreel I had watched all night and took a shower.

I must say that showers are much more tricky in Greece. I may come home with only half of my head clean, as I challenge you to hold something while trying to shampoo your long, blonde hair. Getting the soap out of the bottle, scrubbing your head and making a lather are all tricky with only one hand.

After my shower, I went out in search of a travel agency who could get me to Paros by any means. I had my fingers crossed that the standby flight was going to work out for me. When I made it to the front desk, the man that was there saw me and joyously announced that the ferry strike had ended.

Incredibly happy, I went out in search of an agent that would be able to get me on the first boat. The sun had just come up and it was beautiful to see all of the Greek people on their way to work. The fresh bread smelled excellent. I did manage to find a travel agency that was open. I walked in and asked about the "boat ticket" and the lady said, "not today." I held back my tears as I left to go back to the hotel.

Sad, broken-hearted and confused, I went back to the hotel where the man insisted that he was going to get me to Paros that day. He got on the phone and in rapid and loud Greek he managed to get me at least a reserved ticket on a ferry! I called another travel agency and asked them to get me a ticket printed right now. They accommodated me, and it as incredible! I had then in my possession a ticket for the 3:00 (15:00) ferry that was going to take me at last to my final destination. I grabbed my bag and checked out.

Though I was again stuck with a 56-pound bag and nothing to do. I made my way to Syntagma Square and looked at the short, ripe orange trees while I felt the breeze go across my face. There I sat in Syntagma Square. It means "constitution" and was good news for me. The square is a nice little plaza where people get off the metro and talk and smoke (as all Greeks do). There are fountains and orange trees and birds and everything. It is such a nice, quaint little place.

Here are some comments I have about the Greek lifestyle.
• I say, "I need to get to Paros." They say, "No worries, go in three days when the strike ends. Rent a room, drink some wine, talk to people and get something to eat."
• People here are very laid back.
• Everyone you see is either smilish or stylish.
• There are no people trying to force you to buy their goods in the square. You can sit just peacefully!
• They are VERY open to helping and talking to foreign people.
• I was lugging my overstuffed and over heavy luggage up the staircase because the dumb American inside of me didn't see the bloody elevator right there. A man walked over, grabbed my bag and hauled it up the stairs without saying a word. After hearing my large and prolonged thank you, he turned to me, said, "There is nothing to thank," in his wonderful Greek accent and walked away.
• And I've come to the conclusion that the only way to not be a Xeno (non-Greek) is to not be a Xeno. I'm going to try it out, but it's very hard to speak a language you know little of to a pro.