Monday, July 19, 2010

Farewell Paroikia!

Classmates waiting at the exit of the Ancient Marble Quarries for others to climb out

Me at the Frankish walls of the Ancient Marble Quarries

Me at the caves of Anti-Paros

One of the boats in the Anti-Paros dock was named Katerina

Dock of Anti-Paros, Summer home of Madonna and Tom Hanks

The last week was bittersweet, but mostly bitter, as our time in Greece was quickly ending. We remorsefully lamented "Its our last Monday, its our last time at the Dubliner, its our last class., our last time going to the beach." Basically, we lamented everything the last time we did it. We started talking about everything we would miss. The Greek yoghurt with honey, tsaziki, spanakopita and all other Greek food, waking up with a sea view, impromptu trips and being with friends.

When I came home to South bend, I realized how much I already missed Greece. It was sad not waking up in Paroika, Paros and looking forward to beach time and a great dinner with my friends. The gorgeous mountains and sea has been replaced with Indiana flat plains and cornfields. While Indiana has its perks, something ..I’m sure, I am already planning my trip back to Greece. I want to explore more of the Peloponnese and see Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio, Monemavasia and Meteora. And of course, I want to explore more of the Islands. The islands, which are full of the breathtaking views I identify Greece with. The last week we were sure to enjoy every bit of it. Monday, I took a visit to the nursing home and was busy writing my final paper about elderly care in Paroika. Tuesday, we had morning class followed by more beach time and then a class field trip.

That evening, John Pack took us on a tour of the Ancient Parian Marble Quarries. Paros has some of the best marble in the world. Even the Italians will admit this. This marble was used to make Venus Di Milo and the Parthenon. The marble is renowned because it is so white, pure and translucent. We were able to travel into the heart of the quarries where John Pack had us all turn off our flashlights and sit in pure darkness for five minutes. And then he told us to use our sixth sense and turn to him. When he estimated we all were looking at him, he turned his flashlight on underneath a piece of marble. This was a gorgeous sight of the marble illuminated in an unearthly sense surrounded by complete darkness. He even let us take a piece of the marble. We made a steep climb out of the quarries. It seemed like an 85-degree angle of climbing rock to rock. It was quite a workout. On our way to the bus, John Pack showed us oregano, thyme and sage growing in the area. I took some of each as a souvenir for my Dad.

Later that night, when we returned to Paroikia we saw the documentary video, which the IUPUI informatics class assembled only in the past three weeks. The documentary was over agro tourism and explored the role and source of food and tourism in Paroikia. They showed the donkey man, an old man who goes through town selling fruits and vegetables off the back of his donkey, farmers, restaurants and more. The town and IU students both really enjoyed the video. It was very interesting and the shots were great. We celebrated with the Informatics class and were up until breakfast the next morning or for most of the group, the last call for pizza. After a nap, I woke up to go the beach. However, I ran into Sam and Cari going to Anti-Paros. So a bus ride and a ferryboat over, we landed on Anti-Paros, the summer home for Madonna and Tom Hanks. Our mission on anti-paros was to see the caves. The formations of the cave were pretty cool.

Thursday, we took a field trip to the animal rescue center where there were mostly birds. I never knew vultures were so big! The mayor gave us a reception at 9 pm Thursday night. He thanked us for our service hours and cleaning the beaches of the Island. He hoped that students of Greek universities could learn from us. They provided a spread of food for us. It was interesting that the librarian at the reception told us she was hung over this morning. She told us how typical it was for Greeks to stay up late, drinking, partying and this nightlife ran into the morning work schedule. Then they had siesta, really worked from 6-8 pm and started again. She commented, this must be why we are in an economic crisis! The culmination of our class was Friday morning breakfast. We presented on our non-profit organizations we studied while in Paros. I presented on the nursing home. Then we said goodbye and left on the 10:45 ferry back to Athens. We sadly waved good-bye to our new home.

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