T Minus 5 Days Until Lift Off!

“Don’t be afraid of change. You may end up losing something good, but you will probably end up gaining something better

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We both prefer the Seahawks.

– Unknown

Well, I have been a vagabond for 2 months now,  4 days until my last day of work, and I leave in 5. I am a big ball of emotions. I am stressed, excited, and tired. In 5 days, I will have put the last of my belongings in storage, given my Idaho friends my last loves, and began my trek.  I have a pretty significant road trip to take my last fur baby to his temporary home and then from there… my first international stop will be the land of kangaroos, great white sharks, and camping, where Marlin finally found Nemo, the land down under… Australia. 🙂

Originally, I was going to talk about the stresses I have

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Awkward 4 year old faces

dealt with in the last two months, jumping from house to house, my entire life organized into two suitcases, a shower caddy, and one rather large makeup bag. But as I started putting it into words, I realized that every stressful situation also had a blessing counterpart. So instead of whining, I am going to tell you what has been great about my last two months.

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Clearly, no love here

It has been one long sleepover with friends. I have stayed at 3 different houses, each place the stay has been between 2 weeks and a month. These women have gone from coworkers and casual friends to deep rooted friendships. There have been talks until 4 AM, late night dinners, early morning coffees, some pretty serious Game of Thrones 20160715_163735theories, and of course Netflix marathons-you can’t truly know someone until 7 straight hours of Drop Dead Diva.  We have enjoyed happy fun conversations and some not so happy talks of how life may have not been so fair. These people have opened up their homes, but more importantly their lives and hearts. It has been sad when the stay comes to an end, but I am so appreciative of these memories and friendships I walk away with.

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Boss’ current best friend

My preparation time is drawing to a close. As I come to the end, it is a little convenient that I had to pack everything into storage early, now I have time to address the little details that will make this complete inversion of my life a little easier. People keep asking me if I am scared; yes, I am stressed about getting everything together, but not scared about going to a foreign country. That could definitely hit once I get on that plane, and all those previous issues have been handled, but as for now, I feel like a 6 year old child, waiting on Christmas, except I have chores I am required to complete in order to even participate… the responsibilities seem like they will never end and time, is just not moving. But again, the positive counterpart is: while doing these ‘chores’ I have more coffee dates, Netflix marathons, and late night puppy snuggles to cancel out the long work days and my suitcase ‘dresser.’ They are all good problems to have when you consider what I am getting in return! 🙂 Australia, I hope you are ready!

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Two days in Athens

20160706_130559Athens, Greece; This has always been a place I thought I would only dream about. When choosing my destination, I almost cancelled Greece out, there is no way I could even scrape the surface of this ancient city in that amount of time.  In the end, when given the opportunity, everyone should absolutely choose a two day trip to Greece. Surprisingly, I was able to make it to many sites, swim in the Mediterranean, and make sure to slow down and smell the local flowers. Here is how I took advantage of the small amount of time in such a big city full of history.

20160621_120809Tourist: That is the word that would describe my first day. Ten hours, which wasn’t nearly enough, of walking downtown Athens. I visited the Acropolis, Parthenon, Plaka, Panathenaic Stadium, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Erechtheion, Arch of Hadrian, Odeon of Herodes, Theatre of Dionysus, (to name some of my favorites) as well as many old halls and churches. It was an entire day committed to walking to each, can we call them attractions? It was a long, hot day, full of pictures, (roughly 250 of them) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I ate breakfast and lunch, at local restaurants with outdoor seating both within view of some huge, ancient structure.20160703_005801The second day, it was time for some relaxation so I went to check out this little lake I have heard so much about… the Meditteranean!! I wasn’t let down. I found a nice beach club,  Akanthus, and this is were I posted up for the day. They supplied umbrellas, chairs, food, and refreshments along with a beautiful view of the pebble beach and clear water.  Maybe I am a little to sentimental, but stepping into that water, changed that sea from a backdrop for all those Biblical and historical stories I was raised on, to reality and it was as magnificent as I had imagined. 20160621_125108

I chose to stay in Ilioupoli, a charming neighborhood, it required a little bit of travel to the city center, but it was packed with little boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and even a little park. I was thrilled with this decision, I  fell in love with this little corner of Athens. In my three nights there I became a regular at a local restaurant, getting a delicious Euro and Greek salad-the last night I just had to poke my head in the door and they knew exactly what I wanted. I sat on the patio to relax, recap my evening, and watch the Greek evening happen around me. This was one of my favorite parts of my trip, I loved all of the sightseeing, but it is here that I established relationships with the locals and witnessed the Grecian way of life around me.

20160706_155720During my two days in Athens, I was serenaded by an accordion, had pigeons eat out of my hand, pitted my first olive, ate a Mediterranean pizza, drank ouzo, contemplated how to pack a stray cat in my carry on, see my first park full of kids at 11:30 PM, hear a Greek remake of Brittany Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again,” swam in the Mediterranean, made new friends, contemplated how to pack a stray cat in my carry on, all while in one of the oldest, most stunning cities in the world. It still doesn’t seem real.

Have I convinced you of how magnificent Athens is? Do I have your atte20160621_163759ntion? I have something else I would like to share about this city. Remember a year ago, all the news stations were covering this country because it was going to default on debts? Well, they truly are facing a serious economic obstacle. The government is near collapse, the elderly face losing their pensions, businesses are closing, corporate employees are forced to take any job that will have them, people are losing their houses, their cars, and are struggling to provide for their families. I saw the most beautiful buildings vacant because whatever business it housed before could no longer afford it’s rent.  Furthermore, I spoke to the locals and they didn’t see it getting better, but worse. One of the oldest cities in the world is facing a crisis.I share this, because I fell in love with the Athenians, because I want to help, because I also want to have the quality of life that everyone seems to have in this city, and finally, because the child in me hopes that maybe just drawing awareness to this problem will help bring a change. Even in the midst of this, the people I spoke to didn’t complain, they simply stated the facts and answered my questions. It is far from prime there, but these people still have a positive look on life. You could go there and see the sights, eat their food, and you would never realize what is really going on, because while it is a looming stress, they don’t set that as th20160706_161238.jpgeir focus

Athens, thank you. Thank you for sharing your city with me, for taking pride in your history, and allowing me to experience it. Thank you for being so kind and catering to a simple outsider that couldn’t speak a word of your language. Thank you for stealing a little part of me. I hope one day to make it back, but if not, this experience and these people will always be in my heart.