In Athens

I have quite a bit of catching up to do.  If you are waiting for an email from me, you will hear from me soon.  You have not been forgotten.  🙂

Turns out, I am not a very good travel writer.  I always thought I could do it.  Now,  I am not so sure.

Before leaving home, I was blogging consistently.  On the road, I blog inconsistently.  I am not frustrated.  Just learning.

I wrote a little about our time on the island of Paros in a previous post: http://dwanethomas.wpengine.com/an-american-in-paros/.

At this point, again, this blog will take a decidedly personal turn.  Even though this site is, for the most part, a navigational guide through the perils of Latin learning, the base of the url is dwanethomas.  Ultimately, this means that this is my own personal site.  It is my own personal online journal.

For the most part, I prefer to keep the attention away from myself and focused on my journey through Latin, Greek, German, Spanish, Italian, and English, but… every now and then, the blog will turn inward.

This is one of those times.

Read on if you like, but this particular blog is more of a personal record.

On May 31st, after two months, we left the island of Paros.  We have heard that Paros is one of the summer “party” islands of the Cycladic isles, but we saw none of that.  We were there during one of the low seasons.  Life was calm, peaceful, and sometimes boring.  After twenty years in the classroom, and after many years of frantic American life, this is exactly what I was looking for.  Boring.

I went to the island to disconnect.  I wanted to disconnect from the frantic pace in America.  I wanted to disconnect from the perpetual errands, chores, and hoops that our family had become accustomed to.

I am reminded of what the Roman author Seneca once said.  “Love of bustle is not industry.”   

I believe there is a real temptation to hide lack of direction behind bustle.  American life, at least in my circles, feeds that temptation.  In all of the constant run around, we begin to feel we are accomplishing much, when in fact, we may be ignoring what needs to be done.

I went to the island to disconnect myself from the bustle.

But, I also went to the island to reconnect with my family.  My wife and children were drawn in by the bustle and by the distractions as well.  I needed a place far away.  I needed a place that would force all of us to disconnect and to reconnect.  Paros was that place.

A few days ago, we left Paros and came to Athens.  We stopped for one day on the island of Santorini.  We slept in a postcard and roamed through that postcard the following day.  However, I have to say… as beautiful as Santorini was that day… it was a very hot and extremely crowded postcard.  I would not want to go again in June.  And, the locals told us that it was not yet crowded.  The crowds come in July and in August.  No, thank you.  If I go again, I go in March.  Maybe April.

We left Santorini at 1:30 in the morning.  Turns out the night ferry is a bit cheaper.  We staggered into the ferry with our heavy packs (it is hard to pack light when you leave home for four months), and found a place to crash on the floor.  Everyone fell asleep quickly.

We woke to the announcement that passengers were to prepare for disembarkation as we were arriving in the port of Piraeus.  We packed up and, a half hour later, staggered into the bright port.

We had found a place to stay in Athens via Airbnb, but due to our travels, had not been able to arrange a meeting with the owners of the house.  We had the address, so we decided to take the bus.  Moments after arriving in port, we were informed that no busses were running due to a strike.  Sigh.

Not sure what to do, I called the owners of the Airbnb home.  Stellla happily offered to come pick up my family and all of our gear.  She and her father would personally drive us to the home.

This was not what we were expecting.  In fact, in our few days here, Stella and her family have continued to go way above and beyond.  They have far exceeded our expectations.

I was a bit nervous about taking my children into Athens for a month.  Stella and her parents have shattered by fears.  They have turned Athens from the unknown into the comfortable in a matter of days.

I will try to post more in the days to come.