(Unbelievably) Early Morning in Piraeus

As I write, five of my dear friends rest their eyes and bodies in rather uncomfortable chairs in a cafe in this dingy little corner of Athens. More and more locals join the line for their daily cappuccinos, gazing curiously at our dreary bunch (probably judging us, but..YOLO). We’ve been at these tables for an hour or so, before that, on a boat for roughly 6 hours – we’re all exhausted. Today, we’ll board a plane to Prague for our spring break trip. We’ll stay there a few days, then to Paris, then back home to our sweet little Paros. I’m starting to love that island more and more each day. It has a charm all its own and that reminds me of Oxford and of my family. I’m forever thankful for that.

I’ve finally adjusted to life abroad, I think. More than “life abroad”, it was island life that took the most adjustment. Siesta time every day — EVERY DAY! No one’s in any hurry. Running for exercise doesn’t even make sense, but I’ve been doing that anyway. What a blessing to sweat all over the world! #meatheadprobz

Here are a few things that I’ve been learning/experiencing/living that I didn’t expect:

1: I LOVE CAPPUCCINOS! I thought I hated them at home, maybe they’re different, but I’ve been getting (at least) one, almost every day. Uh oh.
2: I’ve started being able to communicate – in the most elementary, one and a half year old manner – in Greek! I ordered a donut and a cappuccino at this cafe this morning all in local language. I’m loving that.
3: A band called Wake Owl. Look up their song “Wild Country”. I’m listening to it now and it’s smoothing out the rough edges of my tattered, tired soul. Also look up “No Silver” by Chris Bathgate. In love over here!
4: Greek women’s style is so interesting, and I’m buying into the trend. I went shopping for the first time the other day and bought a “greek sweater”, which isn’t really a thing, but I bought one anyway. A few things are hard for me to understand, such as the abundance of sweatpants, at least in Paroikia (the city in Paros where I live). Everyone wears sweats, all the time. Still not used to that. But they all look so cool! One day, maybe..
5: I’ve learned that when I get excited, particularly about a landscape (i.e. a visual representation of the greatness of my Creator, which are all over the place in the Cyclades) I start running. For example, last weekend we took a trip to Naxos, a neighbor island. We took a bus up into the mountains and parked about half way up the tallest peak, Mt. Zeus. Our plan was to check out an artisan fountain built at the foot, but I couldn’t help but jet up the side of the mountain on a trail covered in sheep tracks (and evidence of the efficiency of their digestive systems..). I made it about half way to the peak before I turned around to see the most beautiful, majestic, God-filled landscape I’ve ever had the honor to behold (Behold!). Tears filled my eyes, and I didn’t run anymore, because I was alright and I didn’t need anything more than knowing just that. I am alright.

I’m about a third of the way through my stay here in Europe. A month has gone by, can you believe it? It’s an odd reality, the one I’m living. It’s an adventure, and I’m having so much fun. I am learning, however, that I value so much my home and a routine and familiar eyes to look into when I come home. But my God is faithful and faithful and faithful, regardless of my circumstance and THAT is my comfort and joy.

Kisses from Greece (and Prague, and Paris, and wherever else I end up today). And look up those songs!