June 18th, 2017 and June 19th, 2017
Goals: get caught up with my journal for Mexico and spend time in God’s Word (finish Exodus!!!) while on the plane
Travel, travel, travel. The next forty-eight hours or so were going to be a blur of travel as I go from Washington DC to Amsterdam and then finally to my final destination of Athens.
I said good-bye to Peter and Uncle Steve around 12:30 today and then Aunt Nik and I headed to the airport. I was the first one from my group to arrive at the airport and since I enjoy traveling airports on my own, I took advantage of this and made my way through check-in and security. I got stopped at security because although I was told that my boot had no metal on it, I beeped when I went through the machine. They pat me down and then had me remove my boot so they could put it through the detector. Eventually, though, I made it through. I grabbed a couple of things I needed from one of the stores and got a sandwich for lunch and then went to the gate as the rest of the group trickled in.
I sat in about four different seats during the first five minutes of the flight as the flight attendants tried to find a seat for me that would maximize my leg room for my boot. Finally, I got a seat next to a mother and her two children. I watched the movie “Joy,” read a bit, blogged a bit (still trying to finish typing up Mexico!), and did basically everything one can do on a plane except sleep.
At midnight back in the United States, I wished myself a happy birthday by opening the card Mom and Dad had given me. It was definitely strange not being with friends and family for my birthday for the first time ever.
We eventually landed in Amsterdam and I guess it was technically tomorrow morning? I had lost about seven hours of my birthday in flight. Once we got off the plane we exchanged U.S. dollars to Euros and then waited in line for a passport check. Our next flight did not board until 11:47 AM, so we had time to kill.
Amsterdam- well, the airport- was interesting. The most I knew about Amsterdam was what I learned from the exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show this past year. Funny enough, there was a similar color scheme (orange and green) and there was even an area to charge your phone while on a stationary bike! There was also an outdoor park area with tables. I opted to first go to a little café and get a fruit cup and some water.
When I finished doing some work on the blog I went to the little outdoor area. I found a majority of my group there, but no one was really doing much except sleeping or staring at their devices. I decided to keep reading Reclaiming Conversation, ironic considering there wasn’t much of that going on.
After getting confused by time zones and freaking out my entire group, making them think we were about to board, I decided to wander around and maybe find something else to drink. I ended up settling on grapefruit juice and then finding a spot to sit downstairs and observe people. Although I can’t fully experience the culture from my couple hour layover, I can still get a feel by wandering around and interacting with the people.
I am excited to actually arrive in Athens and get started because right now it is hard to see why God called me here.
I was actually able to sleep on the second flight, so that was mostly what I ended up doing. About three-quarters into the flight my sleep was disrupted by two of the flight attendants who walked up to me and asked if it was my birthday. When I answered yes, they showed me a bag they had put together with a bunch of mini-cupcakes, two packs of almonds, and a mini bottle of wine. They also handed me a pair of mini, clog-shaped salt and pepper shakers so I would remember them.
When we arrived in Athens, we grabbed our bags and then went to buy a metro ticket (that they never actually collected!). We were on the metro for a while and then got lost trying to find our way to the apartment. When we FINALLY arrived, it was gorgeous. There were six bedrooms in the apartment and I instantly called the one that was painted the light blue color that everything else in my life is. We had a massive balcony that wrapped around the entirety of our space. As amazing as it was, I did pause to think, “why are we staying here when the people we are helping have absolutely nothing?”
We ended up going out to dinner. My group of Devon, Kyle, Antony, and I wandered around for what seemed like forever before finally settling on a little local place that had amazing chicken gyros. Although it took a while for us to get there, it was most definitely worth it. After dinner, we grabbed ice cream and then headed back to the apartment. Rusty gathered everyone into the living room area and they sang happy birthday to me. The owner of the apartment, Dora, left a cake for us, so that was designated my birthday cake.
Afterward, I was exhausted so I unpacked a bit, talked to Peter (this was only time I was going to allow myself to call him), and then went to sleep shortly after eleven o’clock.
Word of the Day: Searching—right now I feel like I am really searching for my purpose here in Greece. We also searched for our apartment and then for food for a LONG time.