I’ve never lived in a big city. And, apart from the fleeting passions of my eight-year-old “I’m going to be an actor in New York City” heart, I’ve never wanted to. Coming to Athens, a metropolis of a modern city and an empire of history, has been a mind-blowing experience. I am constantly flummoxed by the hustle and bustle, the chaos that locals don’t even blink an eye at, and the fast paced environment. Pangrati, the suburb in which the Arcadia Center and its students reside, is slower than the center of Athens, but still moves at a pace that races my small-town heart. As the end of my program approaches, I find myself trying to slow down time. I’ve spent the past three months here just trying to catch up with the pace of Athenian life. Constantly moving quickly to get to my next class, my next destination, or my next meal. Now, with less than a month left, I just want everything to settle down a little bit.
One way in which I’ve managed to slow down my experience here a little is to explore outside of Athens. In a recent trip to Delphi, I realized that maybe slowing down time isn’t the solution, but appreciating my time more is. Delphi is a place full of myths and legends. In my travels through the archaeological museum of Delphi, I came to understand that it’s okay to live in or appreciate the past, that moments aren’t as fleeting as I normally perceive them to be, and that there’s no reason to rush.
The archaeological museum in Delphi has been my favorite museum that I’ve visited since coming to Europe (and I’ve been to quite a few via my wonderful Athens on Site course), it was filled to the brim with artifacts and information, but also presented a fluidity of movement conducive to appreciating my time there. I didn’t feel rushed to see everything, I took my time in reading the information on artifacts and pieces, and I left with a greater understanding of the city and of myself. Moreover, in the exploration of the archaeological site in Delphi, I was relieved to just let time pass and let my mind wander as I looked at the Temple of Apollo and the Ancient Gymnasium. Hours flew past as we explored and I genuinely didn’t notice.
By leaving Athens, just for one day, I came back rejuvenated with the idea that I don’t need to rush. I can take my time and I shouldn’t feel the need to constantly be catching up. I am so grateful for my day in Delphi for helping me to gain this understanding of time. Especially as the end of my time in Greece so quickly approaches, I think this understanding of time will be vital to making the most of my experience. My new appreciation for the time I have left in Europe means that not a second will go wasted. Perhaps it is fitting that Greece is the birthplace of the marathon, because I have realized now that Study Abroad is a marathon, not a sprint and I need to be more willing to pace myself.