Being here, not only away

Greetings from sunny Santorini!! My sweet friend Marialeen and I jetted over to the island for the weekend to celebrate my 21st birthday, and it’s turning out to be a very happy birthday, indeed.

I was thinking about this blog today as I laid on Kamari Beach (with black sand! cool!) today, and I realized that my blog has not been very good about keeping y’all updated on being here. Being away from home, however, is totally a different story. A lot of this trip for me has been about finding a balance between being gone and being present all at the same time. I know what I’m missing at home, but all of this glory to behold here won’t be my backyard when I get home! So consider this my manifesto: I will be present and not just away. That being said: let me tell you about this weekend:

Yesterday was my birthday. Mar and I spent the first minutes of it with our friends Kostas and Rafa at a bar that we frequent. The owner, Yannakos, sent me a beautiful (I mean beautiful) bouquet of garden roses from his home. They all gave me hugs and wished me well and I even got a drink with sparklers in it, so that was fabulous. Marialeen and I then had a sleepover, and when we woke up we jumped on my bed and it was the perfect start to my 21st year, I mean it. We then got ready and headed to the ferry (not, of course, before we stopped by our favorite bakery). The boat ride was long and hilarious, because the local high school was taking a school trip to Santorini and high school people are so funny. It made me miss my friends at FHS and Fairfield Young Life so much, but I’ll see you all soon – LAKE CHAMPION JUNE 7-14!

When we arrived at the port of Santorini, we were far less than impressed. You literally pull up to a big rock, that’s all you can see. Rock and water, and some dingy cafes. Super sketchy. But we needed a ride, so we stopped in a cafe to pull up wifi and check out our reservations. As we sat down, the waiter struck up a conversation, asked us where we were going, and then offered us a ride to the next town. Now usually I’m pretty wary of taking rides from strangers, but for whatever reason, we told him we’d love a ride. So we hopped in his VW minivan (that was comforting – not many kidnappers I know are into VWs..) and he dropped us off at a scooter rental store. Our plan was to get a cute little scooter to zip around the island, but we were informed quickly that unless we had a motorcycle license, that wasn’t an option. Our only option was an ATV. So we got a dang ATV! I’m gonna give you some space to laugh.

I KNOW! It’s so funny! We got pink helmets, too. More space.

Dying. We look ridiculous. But it’s cool because it’s kinda baller. Anyway, the rest of the night was nice and quiet – we checked into our hotel, went to dinner, came home, watched a movie, loved life went to bed early, etc. It was a great day. has been a dream. We slept until 10ish, went downstairs to be greeted by the most delicious continental breakfast I’ve ever heard of, and then got massages. Full body massages. My life changed in that 50 minutes, y’all. I’m talking everything. My EYEBROWS got a rub down, for pete’s sake! I didn’t know it was possible for some of the muscles she was rubbing to be tight. It was crazy. My calves haven’t seen that much action since Katie and I tried to run stairs at Yager Stadium (she threw up and it was hilarious).

After the massage, I rinsed off all those essential oils, and we hopped on Bruce (that’s what we named our ATV, because I was thinking about the Reds. BRUUUUUUUCCEE) and rode over to Kamari. The drive was chilly but beautiful. We took the lower road next to the farms and it was unbelievable. We got to the beach, stayed for a while, ate some delicious food, and made the journey back. We just got back from watching the sun set. It was beautiful, I think the sunset anywhere in Greece is beautiful. Especially Paros. Sweet, sweet Paros.

That’s been my weekend. Two days. I’m so happy, I miss home, I’m so loved and so grateful for that. I’m also caked in dirt and essential oils. That needs to be taken care of.