A Very Belated Update

I’ve been pretty busy since my last post, which is why I’ve managed to neglect blogging for a whole 3 weeks (time flies!). I’ll start where I left off. We’ve been going to Greek folk dancing class every Thursday for a few weeks now and are catching on quite quickly. We thought we’d be dancing with disabled people right away but it was not exactly what we’d had in mind. We are learning the dances on our own, however, in a few weeks we will put on a performance with disabled dancers who use the dances as a form of therapy. I will share more about that when it happens.

Unfortunately, my trip to Mount Olympus was postponed due to inclement weather. Hopefully, if the Greek gods are on our side, I will be going next weekend. Instead I enjoyed a nice, lazy weekend complete with a mani/pedi spa day, sunset walks along the boardwalk, and a whole night dedicated to as many henna tattoos as we could manage. Later that week, Jasmine and I finally decided we’d had enough of our weird tasting hotel meals and headed downtown for some Mexican food to kill our cravings. Guacamole and a burrito the size of my head was entirely worth all €23.

The next day Sarah, Nina and I headed off to Cyprus for a relaxing weekend in paradise before our midterms. Cyprus was sort of like a cheaper, tropical London and I was finally able to get a burger and fries and pizza that didn’t taste like cardboard! We rented a spacious apartment that even had a kitchen and spent the next few days enjoying the beautiful views and warm weather (I actually got some color!).

Beautiful views from the edge of the island
Beautiful views from the edge of the island
Check out that sunset!
Check out that sunset!
Complete with palm trees and everything
Complete with palm trees and everything
Some underwater action
Some underwater action

We came back on an unpleasantly cold and rainy Sunday night, reunited with Jasmine and then headed to bed. Not only was it midterms week, it was also Northeastern’s Global Week of Service. There were various workshops to attend and projects to do to help out the local community a little extra. One night we made cards for local breast cancer patients and even though our Greek is a little spotty, we put a lot of effort into making them look as awesome as possible. The rest of the week consisted of studying for the midterms that stood between us and our highly anticipated fall break.

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Some of the cards made during Global Week of Service
Cards made during Global Week of Service
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“Studying”

After successfully completing our midterms and seeing the results of a very creative pumpkin carving contest, we were off! Jasmine and I headed to the airport to catch our flight back to her hometown, Hamburg, Germany!

Jasmine's documentation of my entire journey there
Jasmine’s documentation of my entire flight
Almost there!
Almost there!

On the flight in, I was incredible excited to find out that fall had indeed come to Germany and I wouldn’t completely miss out on my favorite foliage after all! We were greeted with flowers by Jasmine’s mom and sister and headed home to a delicious (finally home cooked!) meal. We spent Friday night resting up from our trip and watching movies on quite possibly the most comfortable couch known to man. The next morning we went into the city to shop around, enjoy some celebratory champagne, and relieve my Dunkin’ craving.

Gorgeous fall foliage
Gorgeous fall foliage
Celebrating the right way
Celebrating the right way
The real reason I came.
The real reason I came.

Later, we headed out to the Reeperbahn, Hamburg’s night life and red-light district. Although the signs advertising sex for just €39 were tempting (??!), we stuck to Jasmine-approved clubs only and avoided any sketchy encounters. We had a goal of staying out the whole night and making it to the famous fish market that opens at 5:30am on Sundays. Even though we had to battle an extra hour out due to daylight savings time, we were successful and finally enjoyed an early morning crepe while walking through the various tents and booths selling anything and everything.

5am fish market
5am fish market

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Fish sandwiches bright and early
Fish sandwiches bright and early

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Sunday, we slept in (thank goodness) and had a lazy day at home. We got endless cuddles and kisses from Nala, Jasmine’s teeny tiny puppy who we fully intended on stealing and bringing back to Greece. Sunday night we went to a delicious burger joint and got guacamole burgers with lots of fries.

This dog cannot be real
This dog cannot be real

The next day we went to the Port of Hamburg. We walked around the many bridges and watched the boats move by. Then we had lunch with Jasmine’s father before heading to the Hamburg Dungeon, which is basically the dark side of the history of Hamburg told through a haunted house. That was quite the experience and satisfied any need I had left for creepy halloween activities. After that was over, we walked around the city some more, stopped inside St. Michael’s church, and then headed home.

Port of Hamburg
Port of Hamburg
Opera house information, complete with sample sounds coming out of these tubes
Opera house information, complete with sample sounds coming out of these tubes
Alter in St. Michael's Church
Alter in St. Michael’s Church

Tuesday was a day of firsts for me. We went out to lunch and I tried tatar for the first time. I can honestly say it wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated but, like octopus, I think it might have been a one time deal. After lunch, we walked around the Binnenalster lake and then shopped around a bit. That night, we went to Country Kitchen, a restaurant built right onto a riding ring so you can watch people ride while you eat. It was perfect for me and I got to try my first schnitzel. It was delicious and fully lived up to its hype.

Binnenalster Lake
Binnenalster Lake
Tatar aka glorified (but tasty!) raw meat
Tatar aka glorified (but tasty!) raw meat
First schnitzel!
First schnitzel!

Wednesday was my last full day before returning to Thessaloniki and I was pretty sad about it. As much fun as Greece is, there’s nothing like living in a real house with real beds and real food to make you miss home. We spent Wednesday morning in the countryside visiting a boarding school that Jasmine’s sister was looking at. It was a beautiful area and I had fun getting a taste of Germany outside of the city. We stopped on the way back for some groceries to take back to Greece (since our food supply is lacking) and I grabbed some normal avocados to get me through the next week. (For those of you who haven’t heard, the avocados here are green avocados and I am not entirely sure what the difference is but they have been giving me a lot of trouble these past few weeks so I was overjoyed to finally have some normal ones). We baked cookies and enjoyed a final cozy night before my morning flight back to Greece.

It was such an amazing trip. I never would’ve guessed how much I’d love Germany but I’d go back in a heartbeat. Hamburg is such a beautiful city and I wish I’d had a few more days to explore so maybe I’ll be back one day!

Sarah is still in London and Jasmine won’t be back until tomorrow so Nina and I have been sticking together to make it through the questionable Olga dinners and our Greek dance classes when all we want to do is nap. Being away made me miss home even more, but with Skype I was lucky enough to be able to join Mom and Dad and Tyler for a family dinner just like old times! It was great to finally get to talk to everyone for a long period of time and even see Sweet Pie (even though he still hates me and refuses to look my way). I also got to decorate my wall with pictures I finally printed while I was in Germany and with some awesome Halloween themed gifts Marit sent me in a fantastic care package! It may not be home, but all those things sure went a long way to making it feel a little more so.

Awesome care package!
Awesome care package!
Halloween decorations
Halloween decorations
Photo wall
Photo wall
Skype dinner!
Skype dinner!

Now I’m off to see Mamma Mia at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, the real deal. More to come soon and hopefully I won’t fall so behind again!

midterms.