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ARRIVAL//EXCURSION

This ferry took us to the island, seen from the rear.

Arrival

March 4th marked the day when we embarked by ferry to Paros Island. We left Athens early, and the ferry ride took a few hours, so we arrived in Parikia around noon, where we met Jimmy, the owner of our apartments, and eventually arrived at our home for the next three months. The island, much like Athens is heavily populated with cats, but on a Sunday, few actual people are around.

This is where we’ll reside, notice the cat next to the sign post.

After settling in, we took a quick tour of the island, met our teachers at our new school, and enjoyed a spectacular dinner at a restaurant across the road from the sea. We were nearly full after rounds of pita bread, humus, and salsa; but still ate salads, soups, meatballs, and chicken as they followed. Each dinner plate was impossible to resist. On top of that, I met teachers in an atmosphere more comfortable than any I’ve experienced before. It soon became clear that each teacher offered a vast wealth of global and/or Parikian experience, as well as an in-depth knowledge of their subject area.

School began on Monday, for me, with Painting. The schedule itself handles one class at a time, so there are no conflicts between class times, and each offers a balance between time spent in class, time for homework, and time for exploring the island. Paros Island offers beautiful detail around every corner, and it’s people are among the kindest I’ve met. All you have to do is take a walk, or offer a (very American sounding) greeting, and you’ll find a reason to smile.

Excursion

What I really want to blog about is our time spend last Saturday in Naoussa, a neighboring town on Paros Island. We hiked our way into the past, seeing the ruins of civilizations from as long as 3,000 years ago, as well as the cavernous remains of marble mines. The marble of Paros can be found around the world, especially in museums, as the medium for countless sculpted masterpieces. It is impressively translucent, embodying a sense of purity and a resemblance to human flesh.

I used a longer exposure here to get traces of light.

At one point, deep in a cave, I tried (to no avail) to take a long exposure shot of the path in front of me. After twenty seconds, I grabbed my camera to follow the group down, probably not even 20 feet away from the next closest person, but found myself staring only at the rocks and pebbles that my dim headlight revealed. Left with no other light, and not even another sound for company, I rushed onward, squatting as I walked under the three or four foot ceiling. I won’t admit to being scared or anything like that—certainly I was never really worried that I’d lose the group—but the moment offered a bizarre and humbling feeling, one that those ancient miners must have known all too well.

The same cave, looking back.

I have deeply enjoyed this first week on the island. Spring is in the air, and Paros Island flowers are in bloom. Even through (very) windy nights I find myself sitting on my room’s balcony, simply enjoying the open air.

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