6 am, November 4, 2014. A black taxi took five excited girls to the airport and onto the warmth of Athens, Greece. Suruchi, Mariam, Erin, Alicia, and I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime. “We’ll figure it out,” became not just a phrase to us, but a lifestyle. After we landed and got through customs, we forgot one little detail, how do we get from the airport to Erin’s friend Sarah, who is in the Arcadia Greece program? After finding a metro and arriving in the busy square of Syintagma, I had some intense culture shock. Before I arrived in London back in August I had never left America, besides a quick trip to Victoria Canada when I was like six, now at 20 I finally got a taste of a non- English speaking country. That night I was ready to get back on a plane and return to London. But after Alicia told me that I was just culture shocked I realized I just had to take a breath and live each moment as it came.
Wednesday: this was the day where we began “touristing” to the max. Erin spent the day with Sarah, so Alicia, Mariam, Suruchi and I decided to purchase a ticket for a “hop on and off” tour bus. We rode around the entire route and then hopped off and saw what Suruchi wanted to see, because she could only spend Wednesday in Athens due to a test on Thursday back in London. Lunch came around and we found a gyro place. When in Greece! Sabbras had the best food ever!! All four of us devoured our food, not just due to hunger, but because it was so warm and yummy. After lunch we wanted to go and see the Acropolis. In the winter they close at 3 pm and we arrived at 4:30, the guard at the front shut the gate in our face, Suruchi asked where a good view of the ruined temple was, and a nice lady pointed into a direction that looked a little scary. We walked over to the spot and found some stairs which took us on top of a very slippery rock pile, but the view from there was worth the risk of breaking our necks. Looking at a view where so much influential history took place gave me chills, then all I could think about was Hercules. In my head I just kept singing “Zero to Hero” from the Disney cartoon. Standing in a city where the movie was inspired made me speechless. That night we met up with Erin and got some pizza and just enjoyed it being the five of us.
The popular TV show “Friends” is a great way to describe the five of us. We are in our 20’s trying to figure it out and we have some strange similarities. Alicia has Phoebe’s positive attitude on life, she can be a little off the wall sometimes, but in the end you always have a smile on your face around her. Mariam has Chandler’s one-liners. The pint size Kentucky native will be quietly standing next to you and BAM! Just like that she hands you a stomach hurting worthy one liner. Suruchi is definitely just like Ross. Suruchi will help us think about the little details and if you ever need to talk to someone about anything, this girl is a listener and a beautiful gift from God. Erin is Monica. The only one from our group from the real “AU” (Arcadia University) can be just like Monica, not just because she likes for everything to be clean, but because she usually leads us in our adventures. Lastly there is myself. With only having Rachel and Joey left I find myself leaning more towards being like Joey, especially on this trip to Athens. During the five days of being in Greece I could not say Acropolis correctly and kept calling in the Apocalypse.
At 4 am on Thursday morning Mariam, Suruchi, and I hopped in a cab and made the trek to take Suruchi to the airport. Even though we only got to spend one full day with her it was a great trip. When five became four we headed out to see The Panathenaic Stadium, Zeus’ temple and the Acropolis. Starting off with the stadium I geeked out. It was where the first modern Olympic games was held and was ginormous. After walking through the tunnel that all Olympians have passed through there was an exhibit on all of the past Olympics. The coolest part being all the old torches that light the Olympic flame at each opening ceremonies. The Olympics have always been a huge part of my family, but Sydney 2000 is one that stands out to the Eggleston’s. My older sister Sydney was watching the games and when the Show Jumping section came on she pointed to the screen and the age of nine told my parents that she wanted to ride horses like that. Ever since she has been riding and turned it into her profession. Seeing the symbol of greatness and hope for a great Olympics and knowing that year helped define who my sister is was amazing to stand next to. Once done with taking some amazing photos we headed to Zeus’ temple. The ruins were extremely large, however they built that temple is beyond me. Finally came the time to make our way up to the temple of Athena. After walking through rows and rows of olive trees we stepped onto some marble steps. The greatness of the temple was outstanding, but once again the view got me. From one point you could see the sea, which from an eastern Washingtonian viewpoint was incredible!
Later that day we met up with Sarah and the majority of the group of students from the Greece program. They took us Londoners to a restaurant on a hillside and we had a great time talking about the differences in our two programs. The major fact being that the London program is HUGE compared to the eleven in the Greece program.
Friday we went to the National Library and the (cant spell the word) Museum. The day was gloomy and so was our moods, it was just Alicia, Mariam, and I, because Erin was at a school event with Sarah. We saw statues and pottery from the BC era, seeing the artifacts from before my country was even a thought was inspiring.
Saturday came around and between Alicia, Mariam and I we were ready to go home and by home we meant London. We missed the crazy streets and crowded tube stations. I haven’t been overly homesick this trip. I miss my family and my friends, but if London were closer to Spokane and Nashville I would be one happy person. During these last couple of weeks my friends and I have started to find we refer to “home” as London. I knew when I started into this study abroad experience I would fall in love with London town, but I didn’t know that I would be looking into jobs and internships at companies where I could transfer to London. Maybe because we were ready to go back so much, we all decided to stay up until it was time for our cab to pick us up from our hostel. Around the 2 am hour heads were on tables and eyes were extremely hard to keep open.
As we got to the airport at 4 am for our 6 am flight, the entire airport was closed. We sat there with our bags and zero sleep for a good 45 min before the desks opened. 4 hours later we landed in the beautiful UK. To get back to our residence it took 1 cab, 1 plane, 1 coach, 2 buses, and a very happy run through the halls to our awaiting rooms.
Overall this trip was one of a lifetime and I am so excited to have been able to experience a new country.