3 Days in Athens

IMG_4667The timing of our ferry ride back home from our beach day on Aegina island was perfect as we got to witness the most picturesque sunset. The golden hour gave us all a soft, red glow and the most mundane moments looked so beautiful to me. Ellie sat across from me looking pensively out the ferry window and then suddenly jumped up and yelled “Dolphins!” after spotting some in the horizon. Paxtyn chatting with Olivia post french-braiding her hair. Bradley counting the remains of his funds, carefully adding up his change. Kissed by the sun, Luke is fast asleep on Isaac. Alexa laughing from afar as Danny’s mouth is once again wide-open as he snores away.

Not sure if it was the RadioLab episode I was listening to about time, but I was definitely in a mindset of gratitude. We’ve only been here in Athens for 3 full days, but already so many wonderful things have happened.

Day 1 (Thursday, June 1)

After waking up from a glorious sleep thanks to the comfiest of comforters, we started the day with a feast of a breakfast here at Titania hotel. Theo gave us a quick tour around the center of town so we could better orient ourselves. We passed by a beautiful public library and a plethora of markets that I want to check out. After the short tour, Gwen and I did some work at a cafe.

Shortly after, Ellie and I headed out to interview a Massachusetts resident working at Amurtel. During and after disasters, women often show symptoms of stress, depression, lingering shock and grief. Research shows us that pregnant and postpartum women are especially vulnerable. Amurtel supports refugee mothers and infants during pregnancy, birth, and infancy. After being with several volunteers here in Greece, I am continually amazed and inspired. Didi, the lady we interviewed, has devoted her entire life serving others. Check out our video coming up this week!

To close out the day, Hsiang Yu worked her restaurant magic and we enjoyed a nice meal together at Nolan where Isaac learned dinner etiquette.

Day 2 (Friday, June 2)

It was a packed Friday. Ellie and I went back to Amurtel to interview a woman who has been receiving support and care from Amurtel since it’s beginning. The place was packed the entire time we were there. Didi said it was getting to be busy because of Ramadan. While we were waiting for our interviewee to arrive, Ellie and I sat in the women’s waiting room with the most beautiful, sweetest babies I have ever seen. Didi mentioned that we were probably in the most calm place in Athens. The mothers sitting in the room with us came from different countries, Congo, Syria, and Afghanistan and thus all spoke different languages. After some hand gestures, they all realized that their babies were all the same age, 2 months old. We witnessed firsthand the incredible power of this facility, where women help women.

After the shoot, the group ventured off to the Acropolis! Here are some pictures of our good looking group:

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Day 3 (Saturday, June 3)

Desperate to get on an island before our Greece trip came to a close, we spent the day at Ag Marina on Aegina island. I’m so grateful to be with a dialogue group where everyone actually does want to stay together, but it does make logistical details difficult. After we figured out how to get to the largest beach on the island, we all cabbed over on winding roads and through mountainous terrain to reach our destination. It was a much-needed quiet, slow day under the sun. The water was perfect, the sand was perfect, the water in the sand was perfect AND Danny and I crushed Bridget and Bradley in spike ball. We headed home looking like the happiest of lobsters.

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