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Athena Paros Island Spring 2012: Molly Decker

Welcome to the adventures of one student as she blogs her way through the experience of a lifetime.

Lots of walking = big reward.

This is what I have discovered while on this island. We have a walk to class that takes at least 15 minutes and every time I take that walk, I look out at the water and the landscape beyond it and I remember where I am and just how lucky it is that I'm here. Every time I take that walk, I know I am going towards a class that has already started to change my life, teachers who genuinely care about me AND my growth as an artist. Even though it has only been a week, I have too many blessings to count, and definitely too many to fit into a tiny blog.

My classes are as follows:

Monday I have a crazy hectic day that, in schedule format, is oddly reminiscent of high school without the math (the only math we do here is figuring out how many gyros we can eat and still have enough money for living expenses).

First thing in the morning I have Painting & Drawing with Neva, which is a new and exciting adventure because I haven't taken a visual art class since eighth grade. Right now we're doing drawing and then we'll move on to acrylics once we've done everything drawing can teach us. Neva is much more patient than my middle school art teacher though, which is comforting.

Then I move on to Creative Writing with George, who is great and everything he says I have to write down in my notebook because he talks like such a writer, where every line he says out loud could easily translate to a book full of sage advice. It works similarly to the workshops we have back at Emerson, but there are only 7 of us, so we're required to have something new every week for the group critique, and then we have an hour long personal meeting with George once a week where he goes through sentence by sentence and really delves deep into the language of the piece. I'm currently working in the brainstorm phase of a prose poetry memoir.

Next there's Literature with Sigrid, who is also an actress, and you can tell because she has a personality the size of Europe and she looks like Meryl Streep. She's glorious, and the way she loves literature is so inspiring that it makes me want to actually read The Odyssey.

Then, to top it off, I have Film Studies with George, which is a nice way to round out the day. We watch a film on Monday, and then discuss the film later in the week when we have class. Sometimes we'll watch two movies because there's so much to get through in so little time, like this week we watched Leaving Las Vegas and All That Jazz, both of which were spectacular movies in that they earnestly depict love and loss and desperation and ambition. I'd suggest watching them both.

Tuesday I have no classes (except my personal meeting with George, which isn't really a class), so it's a good day to get errands done, do homework during the siesta when most things are closed, and just enjoy being on the island.

Wednesday is the same as Monday, except for Literature which is instead my only class on Thursday.

Friday is a great day, not only because it's the beginning of the weekend, but because I have my Philosophy and Life Themes class with Barry. Barry is the director of the program (with his wife Yuko who usually does all the emailing), and his life is so exciting that there should be a class dedicated just to his anecdotes. Philosophy is a very introspective class that could easily be called Therapy While Using Philosophical Methods of Thinking. It's a lovely way to get to know the other people in class in a much more personal way.

I know this is a lot of text, so here are some pictures from Tuesday, when we went to the Entropy Bar and met a new friend.

This weekend, though was the irrefutable proof of how lots of walking gives you a big reward. We got on a bus with Cameron, one of the other HISA teachers that I don't have the pleasure of having for class, and drove to the bottom of the Mycenean Acropolis.

We then hiked to the top, dodging strong currents of rivers and waterfalls,

jumping from one big rock to another big rock while having no legitmate foot or hand holds,

and avoiding pricker bushes that ended up not getting avoided at all.

My hands are filled with prickers and splinters to prove it because right before the top, I fell and had nothing to grab hold of but two of these bad boys, one for each hand.

But OHHHH, was the top worth it. It was a beautiful view of the entire island, and everything was so clear. If every day I could feel the wonder I felt when I witnessed all of Parikia from above, I would be leading quite the successful life.

Then we explored a few more beaches and small towns all over Paros, and called it a day after some very good hot chocolate and a lovely dance party at Saloon D'Or. All in all, I can't say there's anything I'd be doing at home that could in any way compare to the semester I'm having. I love it.

TTFN, Ta Ta For Now!


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