Our last morning in the apartment was very bittersweet. I tried to start packing but did not have the motivation to get that much done because I did not want to face the reality. Instead, I just repeated my normal routine of eating breakfast and blogging.
At the church, I was just sitting around for a while waiting for someone to come in that I could teach English to, but this was to no avail for a while. Then, two women walked in with six children and Nada asked me if I was available to teach, and I jumped on the opportunity. The one woman was from Kuwait and had three girls, while the other woman was from Syria and had a twelve-year-old boy and a twin boy and girl who are eleven.
It was so encouraging teaching the women and nice because they did most of the work. I handed them each one of the booklets that had Arabic to English translations and they went for it. They would say a phrase and then have me repeat it to ensure that they were pronouncing it correctly. We worked on this for a couple hours with a couple breaks to just get to know each other. They spoke no English whatsoever, but their children did so occasionally they would come over and translate for us. We also had the benefit of using Google Translate when our gestures weren’t enough. All too soon, it was time for our devotion.
Jim Holway- not at the church yesterday because of a bad case of shingles- was back at the church to give another devotional. It was once again engaging and impactful and once he was finished we were ready for lunch! Our lunch today was cooked by the Italian team, so we got to delight in real Italian lasagna that lived up to the hype.
After we finished eating, I spent the rest of our time at the church interacting with the children, specifically two of the sons of the woman from Syria. The one boy had a cheap, knock-off fidget spinner that he could do all sorts of cool tricks with. He was showing me how he could balance it on his nose and the tip of his shoe. Whenever it fell on the ground though it broke into three pieces. I wanted to go out and buy him a new one, but we did not have enough time and it was our last day in the country.
Before we left, the two women wanted to take all kinds of pictures with me and with their children. It was so encouraging that even though I only spent the day with them, I was able to have such a large impact. This was just another reason that I needed to come back to Greece- to further grow these relationships I have started.
Ryan came back to the apartment with me so that we could finally finish our game of Catan. I don’t know if it was the lack of the sleep, the fact we were leaving, or just my competitiveness that made me incredibly frustrated with the game, but whatever it was, I was over it. As soon as the game was over I got up and left as everyone else continued to dispute the results.
I retreated into my room and once again tried to pack. Similarly to this morning, I did not get very far and instead took a nap. I was woken up right as we left to head out to our final dinner. Rusty was taking us out to a classic Greek restaurant near the Parthenon that Eleni had recommended. The food was delicious and they just kept on bringing out round after round of food. It was almost hard to really enjoy it though because I could not stop thinking about all the refugees, many of whom were going without a meal that night.
When we were finishing up, Nicole, Antony, Bill, Austin and I headed back to the apartment to pack and prepare to leave for the airport. Our flight was not until the following morning around 6:00 AM, but the metro stopped running at 11:00 PM and Rusty did not allow us to just get a taxi to the airport in the morning. When we arrived at the Athens airport and got our boarding passes, Austin and I went upstairs and found a slightly darker area where we decided to camp out.
We finally started drifting to sleep when we were woken up by a woman yelling at us, saying we could not sleep there. Frustrated, we decided to go to McDonald’s and get Oreo McFlurries instead. When we got to the counter they informed us that they did not have any McFlurries at 2:30 AM (totally ridiculous)! We instead got breakfast food and then hung out in the McDonald’s until it was time to go check our luggage.
On the first flight, I sat next to Austin and kind of drifting in and out of sleep as my neck cramped up more and more. When we arrived in Paris, I found out that our layover was actually going to be five hours. After we found our gate, Devon, Austin, and I went to go get Starbucks as I very much needed an iced coffee.
After I got my coffee, Austin and I hung out on one of the couches in the main area and I blogged. After I finished a decent amount of blogging I asked Austin if he wanted to play a dice game that I had called Qwixx. When I pulled out the game, Austin looked at me incredulously, like “this looks like a children’s game, why would I want to play this?” After playing one time, he was hooked. We played another three times until he finally won a game and said we could stop.
The Paris airport also had a mini-Pacman machine, so that took up quite a bit of time. When we headed to the gate, we had about ten minutes until boarding started and were then informed there would be an hour delay. That was frustrating, but FINALLY, we got onto the plane.
On the second flight, I got the opportunity to sit on the top floor of the plane in an economy plus seat, which was very much needed after being uncomfortable and cramped for so long. I rested my eyes for a little while, watched Manchester by the Sea, and read a bit. Seven hours later we were back in Washington D.C.
Customs was a breeze as the guy barely even glanced at my passport. My bag took quite a while to come out, but by that point, I didn’t even care because I was getting closer and closer to being home. Aunt Nik picked up Austin, Devon, Bill, and I and drove the guys home to Delaware. From there my mom brought me the rest of the way home. After forty-eight hours of essentially no sleep I was home and another adventure serving my Lord and Savior was completed.