Simply Athens

June 27, 2009 at 8:54 pm (Uncategorized)

I didn’t want to go to Athens.  I had my heart set on Paris or Prague, but the flight times, layovers,  and finances being how they are I had to settle on the path of least resistance.  Athens.

Although it wasn’t my first choice, I think it may have been the wisest.  The moment I arrived in Athens I could picture living a life there.  My hotel was in the Lykovittos neighborhood which is akin to the Upper East Side of Manhattan with a bit of 5th Avenue swank to the south and artsy Village to the west.   I sat in a park watching children play and continually ask for the waiter at a small cafe for glasses (that’s right, glasses) of water.   He patiently filled each glass, handing it to tiny, smudged fingers that demanded a drink.

I learned the Metro fairly quickly by memorizing the first letter of each of the last stops on the red and blue lines.  I got on at Evangelisma and switched lines at Syntagma.   I scoffed at those relying on the wall maps for help.

At night, I roamed my hotel’s neighbors for ATMs, phone cards, and a grocery store where I could buy batteries.  I also found a tiny Greek restaurant with a coughing, drinking chef.  My pasticio–pasta, beef, cheese, and bechemel–kept me company as I watched men in suits walk by and well dressed women carried shopping bags into their apartments.   It was a simple trip, but one that I needed to teach me that the simple path may be the best.

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The Room We Need–Paphos and graduation.

June 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm (Uncategorized)

We’ve had a busy last 10 days in Cyprus.   We had our last few days of class, final projects and presentations, a field trip to a town that makes lace and silver, a beach community, and the Trodos Mountains.  We also had a two hour cooking class which I loved–not so sure the students did though.  Finally, we had our graduation ceremony that was pretty calm (according to one of our hosts), but a bit rowdy and fun.

 The beach at Paphos was very relaxing.  We all lounged and enjoyed the sun for 2 days.   I even painted my nails, which Igenerally don’t do because of the constant upkeep, but I did it despite the fact that I’ll have to do it again today.  On the other hand, the trip to Trodos was tension filled as the bus climbed slender village roads that were as surprised to see us as we were surprised to see them.  The driver had to alert the owners of cars parked on the side of the road that we needed space.  Men ran out of their homes (one just putting on his pants) to give us the room we needed.     Every turn brought a new debacle including an overheated engine that resulted in a bus with no air conditioning.  And it was GREAT!  

I think I’m learning how to let stuff go and let people be.  It’s been a challenge, but I can’t control every situation I am in, so I’m learning to laugh off little hiccups.   I can’t change over night, so while my students are learning how to pay attention to detail, I’m trying to relax about them.

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Beaches, Rocks, and Cheese

June 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm (Uncategorized)

We are just back from a weekend retreat to Ayia Napa–think Daytona Beach, but decadent! This place was crazy. Some of the students were out until 10 in the morning when the clubs close. Yes, that’s right!

The first group of pictures included in this posting are some photos taken at the Halloumi cheese farm. The women that make this smokey, firm mozzarella-ish joy are lovely. They were welcoming and embraced us with homemade danish, juice, coffee, and I actually got a hug from one. After all of the charm, they reminded us that they were refugees and that they wanted to go back to their homes in the north. It was heartbreaking.

We visited a local television, radio, magazine, and newspaper company. Unlike the typical situation in the US, they were all housed in one building owned by 1 man. I kept asking about how ratings and audience analysis were gathered. The students looked thrilled as I prattled on. Oh, I snagged some OK magazines, but they are in Greek.

Next are pics from a monastery and mosque that we visited before we got to the beach. I was really moved by how respectful and curious the students were as they took off their shoes and covered their bare legs so that they could enter these holy places.

The beach pictures don’t do the waters of Ayia Napa justice. They were BLUE–electric blue with impossibly white caps. The views were spectacular. The Leggs (the other professor here and his family) invited me on an afternoon excursion to see some sea caves. They are in some of the pictures.

You will also note that some of pictures show that there were clouds in the sky. Today it rained for 4 minutes. It really sort of sprinkled. Anyway, we were excited to see the traces of water on the bus windows as we returned to our real lives in Lefkosia.

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First Full Week in Cyprus

June 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm (Uncategorized)

Nifty store on the Turkish side

Nifty store on the Turkish side

Lacey taking a picture at the gazebo

Lacey taking a picture at the gazebo

Sarah and Danielle at the gazebo looking at the Turkish mosque

Sarah and Danielle at the gazebo looking at the Turkish mosque

These are some pictures I took Wednesday and Saturday in Cyprus. The place is growing on me. My students are doing well–they are a resilient, daring bunch.

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Snails and Beaches and Wines–Oh My!

June 3, 2009 at 7:55 pm (Uncategorized)

 Today we headed out by rickety bus to a snail farm, a beach, a castle, another beach, a winery, and the Omodos Village.  It was nearly a 12 hour day, but I think the documentary class got some good work done.  It was nice to be along for the ride and not have to do anything!

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A few more pics from Cyprus.

June 1, 2009 at 6:57 am (Uncategorized)

from the top of the monument for the people

from the top of the monument for the people

I think this place is growing on me. It’s hotter than heck–the average temp in June is 93. In July? 99!!! Everything shuts down on Sunday. Still, the people are very friendly, there are cute shops M-Sat, and the bakeries are open 24/7. Yes, that’s right. I spent 12 Euro and cleaned up yesterday! Most of the stuff is for my food class, but I got the nifty hamburger and Thai pizzas for me.

Note the picture of the sidewalk tile. It indicates that we’re getting close to the green line where you need to show your passport. When you cross over to the Turkish side, you’re on your own. And don’t call the wall ‘a border’ around here. Borders have legal implications and the occupying Turks are not a legal state. Tons of hostility there. TONS!

Most of these pictures were taken the day we headed into the New City and the Old City. There is a square with little streets. In one direction is the Starbucks and in the other direction are shops that have been closed since the Turks cleared the area. It’s really surprising that homes and stores were just left as they were 30 years ago.

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Pics from my European journey

May 29, 2009 at 8:55 pm (Uncategorized)

These pictures are pretty much in order, but the one with the 3 men was taken today in Cyprus. Phideaus, Jim, and Simon treated me to dinner. They eat at this restaurant every night and have invited me to visit again.

I separated Florence and Rome with a door knocker. The welcome to Cyprus sign is sideways, but that’s where those pictures start. Those are just taken around my apartment.

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San Francisco

May 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve never thought of myself as a West Coast person, but after visiting Napa and San Francisco, I may have to change my mind. I loved the beauty that can only be found there. The East is wonderful, but there are sights that can only be seen on the other side of the country.

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Old New York.

May 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm (Uncategorized)

New York is always new, but there’s always a bit of old hanging around that makes the city great. These pictures personify NY’s unique attributes. They are new to the blog world, but old in my camera. They were taken 4 years ago when I brought students to NY for an annual visit. Many of these students have graduated, moved to NY, or have careers in other exciting places–like Chattanooga!

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May 11, 2009 at 2:20 am (Uncategorized)

master bedroom

master bedroom

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