Sunday, June 30, 2019

One Last Time

Coming into this program I was nervous that I didn't know anyone. Leaving this program I am feeling like I have known you all for a lifetime. We spent every day together for the past 30 days, and I don't think I would trade those days for anything. I didn't just make 9  new friends, but 5 sisters and 4 brothers. We formed friendships that I hope last a life time. We also all grew as people, and we grew together. From all trying to pay separately to paying together. We ate together, we danced together, we learned together and we lived  together. We also had our share of head butting, but what is a family without some head butting? I hope that we all go on to learn from our experiences and enjoy the journey like we did here, and not just rush to the destination. If I had to sum up our trip in two words it would go something like his: *Borat voice* Great Success! 

Love you guys! 
- Kostas 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Thank You for Everything You Gave Me

I took the worst shower of my life on the morning of May 30th right after waking up in my uncomfortable bed that I don't fit in length wise. At this point, I was still frustrated that I was placed in my room with someone who I knew nothing about and couldn't imagine getting along with. On May 30th I was worried that I would have a hard time adjusting to our lifestyle here and I didn't understand how people could put up with the difficulties that we faced at first.

Everything became gradually easier as time passed, thankfully I was able to be in a great group of people who made every day as enjoyable as possible. The shower problem turned out to be for the better, at home I've been known to take incredibly long showers but while here I was able to cut that waste of time and water out while spending more time with others. The size of my bed barely mattered because I never spend any free time in my room and instead used that time to socialize or do work. I've never been much of a morning person up to this point but lately I've felt great getting up early and getting the most out of my day as I can. Some of the greatest moments of my trip came from waking up early like the Pantheon in Rome, the fish markets in Sicily, and the breakfast operations in Cyprus. 

Our internet hasn't been great and my phone broke 10 days ago but in all honestly its been a blessing in disguise. I can't remember the last time that I was able to avoid electronics to this extent, its been liberating to not carry around my phone and continually check for mundane updates every 5 mins. I thought I would struggle to adapt to my surrounding here in Crete and on our travels but I was wrong, some legs of our journey might have been difficult but there isn't a thing I would change given the opportunity. 

Above all else I'm thankful for the experiences shared with me with all of the great people I met along the way. I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone at home as soon as possible because I can't imagine going to long without talking to all of you. In the end, none of our challenges during our travels mattered, what mattered most to me was the companionship that we found along the way. I hope everyone was able to enjoy their time as much as I did and I can not thank you all enough for an incredible month together. We did It and we did it together with smiles and never ending laughter, for that I am ever grateful.

Thank you, 

Back to Boston

As our trip nears the end I am reflecting on these past four weeks. When I first arrived here I did not know anyone and was I unsure about how this program would turn out; now I feel like I am part of a new family with whom I have made countless, unforgettable memories. As worried as I was about taking political science courses, everyone was kind to help me and welcome me as a part of this group. I cannot imagine this trip without any one of you; you have all impacted my life and I am grateful to have met all of you. I will cherish the memories from this trip forever and I am so thankful for everyone's kindness and hospitality. I look forward to seeing you all in the fall and I hope you all get back home safely. ❤️

Closing Time

As everyone is packing and people begin their journey back home I can’t help but reflect on the last 4 weeks. Thinking about all the places we’ve traveled to, friendships formed and memories we’ll all have forever. I have both learned a lot about the Mediterranean regarding politics, geography and history but also many life lessons from the experience of being here. I had no idea what was in store for this month-long program when I first boarded my plane in Boston, not expecting this personal, intense, exciting and overall family that I made while being here. Going back home and leaving everyone is something that I am not ready for, but I am thankful that I will be able to take the lessons I learned here and use them again at home. Thank you Professor Vamvakas for taking us to your home and treating us like family and for teaching us lessons I wouldn’t be able to learn anywhere and through anyone else. Thank you to the beautiful women who prepared all of our meals with love and Mr. Kapsomenos for hosting us at this beautiful institute. To my friends that were strangers to me before we arrived in Crete, words to not justify how much you all mean to me, but I think you all know how much you’ve changed my life. Everyone who I’ve met has made me grow and become a better person and I can’t thank you all enough. Safe travels home everyone :’) I love you more than you know.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

American Victory

What this picture represents is what I call an American victory. 
Through analysis of American interventionism and what we have learned in our classes, it is obvious that America destroys as much as it creates, if not more so. As a country, we create long lasting, deep-rooted problems in regions such as the Middle East and Latin America. Then we ignore it until we can’t anymore, create a superficial victory, and celebrate it like we have changed the world for the better. During the gorge hike, I knocked over probably close to a dozen of these zen rock towers on accident. The work of many destroyed in a blink of an eye. Did I record the destruction? No, but I took a picture of the small one I made in the place of a dozen larger. 

“Look guys, we did it.” 


Throughout the program we have had several lectures on Cavafy and I think they fit the theme of the trip very well. I liked comparing the different poems from Ithaka, what I thought was more of an optimistic poem, to more pessimistic poems like In Sparta and The Naval Battle. I think Cavafy's poems really helped us with our understanding of the Mediterranean’s history because it is important to not only know the events of the past, but to also feel the emotions of those who lived through these events. I thought our lecture in Cyprus was very impactful; reading the poems and then watching them being performed gave each poem an even more intense meaning. The poems helped me improve my understanding on Cavafy's pessimism and the depression that arises from acts of war and killing. I am glad I was introduced to Cavafy and I look forward to reading and interpreting more of his works.

Night tour of Nicosia

On our last night in Nicosia, we were given a very insightful tour of the city. While walking along the Greek and Turkish Cypriot border, the sight of the barbed wire, the bullets on the liberty statue, the military guards, the provocative signs, and the different flags waving in the air was surreal and at the same time unsettling. Our tour guide was an anthropologist and his perspective on the Cypriot issue, as well as all other internal social and cultural difficulties eroding the democratic status quo of the state, was truly unique, something that we could never experience and gain meaningful knowledge on in a classroom setting and on textbooks. It is still hard for me to even imagine what living in an occupied territory would involve on a daily basis, but I am more than thankful for this unforgettable experience through which I was able to expand my knowledge and interest in the political and social peculiarity of Cyprus.