I am writing this entry from the Bibliotheekee (Library). For some reason this place seems a lot like home. Well, for those of you who knew me at Gordon, I suppose that makes a bit of sense. They have a really nice room here with lots of large glass windows, big study tables and multiple signs that boldly proclaim “ΗΣΥΧΙΑ” (SILENCE!). Actually, it is very quiet in here (as it was in the good ole Reference Room, whenever all of the student were actually doing their work) and the woodword is even quite similar. I suppose the only differences are the size of the room and the birds. Yes, you heard correctly…the birds. The first time I was in hear, the windows were open and there were large birds flying in and out. Now it seems as though there is even a wee little sparrow nest just to the left of where I sit. Well, as long as they don’t use my head as a toilet, I think we’ll get along just fine.
Today is allegedly the first day of class. I say allegedly because I just heard from two of my American colleagues who were supposed to have class today in the morning (mine is at 3pm) who told me theirs was canceled. This was not a complete surprise, nor will it be for me if mine is canceled, as the registrar told us that classes do not officially begin until the majority of the students who have been accepted actually pay their tuition. Oh well, pray that this happens sooner rather than later please!
Either way, life in Greece is become a BIT more normal. At least I am getting used to the varied and diverse noises in and around my apartment building. All in all, however, I have an unusually quiet situation for my central location in the city.
Before making the trek to the library this morning, I went to a church in downtown Thessaloniki where, I was told, there was a good English-speaking priest, who confesses many of the Americans. I was able to locate him in his office to the side of the Church (which is beautiful by the way), and we had a very nice little “getting to know you” type chat, in which he proceeded to give me very good advice: don’t treat your time hear, your learning the language etc etc as a hobby. He said something to the effect of: “if I must sit here at this desk for at least 8 hours a days, then you should spend as much time studying the language.” He warned me against feeling satisfied with the hobby-like mentality for learning Greek, because the external satisfaction of learning the language will come to the end, and there will be nothing internally. But if there is pain on the outside, and a little suffering, then the satisfaction will flow from the inside. Thank God for that advice, now if only I can follow it!
Oh, rewind to yesterday: I went vespers at Panagia Dexia (a really beautiful church about 1 minute from my house with a miracle-working icon inside). As we were leaving, there was a priest-monk and layman entering. The priest-monk really struck me for some reason; so I asked Christopher (a friend who I was with) if we could stop just to ask him where he was from. It turns out he was from Mexico! We received his blessing, and that was that.
But the real kicker, was when we were walking past the Arch of Galerius (kind of a meeting point in the center of Thessaloniki if you want to meet up with a friend), I saw a guy that I had seen before at a conference at Holy Cross. He was walking with his girlfriend, and I pointed him out to Christopher. At that very moment I thought that perhaps this could be the young man that I was trying to meet (whom I had heard about through a monk-friend who was his uncle). I asked Christopher if he new this man and he said that he did, but couldn’t remember his name. Then he said “actually I think its Petros.” This was the name of the man that I wanted to meet! Anyway, we ran up to him, and found out that indeed it was the right man (who is a doctoral student at the School of Theology and is supposed to be a great guy) and I was able to meet him and make the connection.
Anywho, continuing to adjust. I realize that this will be such a big learning experience, and I am sure that at this point I am very naive and "wet behind the ears," as they say, but its all very exciting and interesting!
Well, I think that’s enough for now. Hope all is well with all y’all!