It will all be completely different.

by smartini on October 26, 2012

This is hilarious.

I have travelled around the world on my own, lived in Paris and worked the Olympics in Beijing. Why on earth should I be so intimidated by taking one simple train from the neighborhood I’m staying in in northern Athens to the downtown area where my American friends are staying for the night?  I mean I don’t even have to change trains. I have navigated the tube in London and the metro in Paris. With multiple transfers and to addresses unknown. Piece of cake. But somehow I’m freaking out a bit now to leave the familiar neighborhood I have gotten to know in the past week.

Ohhhhhhh, maybe it’s because the signs look like this: ΣΤ.ΝΕΡΑΤΖΙΩΤΙΣΣΑ (I mean……come on).  How on earth will I ever find my way back?  Thank goodness the camera on my Iphone!

Well, Petros, sweet Petros, has taken me to the station, bought my round trip ticket, explained everything 50 times and deposited me safely on the train. As the doors close, I see he hasn’t walked away yet. Is he as worried about this little American girl as she is for herself?  Maybe it’s because, somehow, in his company, no matter how capable and confident I may be in my daily life, I am constantly tripping and slipping, spilling and bumping into things.

Anyway, the train is not as intimidating as I’d feared. And look, there’s even a stop for the Olympic stadium from the 2004 games. Now I feel right at home.  And I feel much better about finding my way back to my familiar neighborhood now too.

Sarah the adventurer is back. Off to meet Navil and Anna to be a tourist for a day!!  So excited!!

The day with Anna and Navil is lovely. Now that I know how temporary this  journey is  to be, it’s bittersweet and just a little shocking to  stumble upon the exact same places that I went with Petros the first night I was here a few months ago. We take a photo at the same spot he and I took a photo a few months ago. This time it’s a little different. That day,  I was doe-eyed and wondrous. And today, my world is changed. In these short months, I have travelled on my own, I have worked my ass off, I have wondered, I have asked myself the hard questions and I have tried answering them (to varying degrees of honesty).

And today, I find myself back in the same physical spot. Then, I was here with an old friend who, through just being so confidently who he is, showed me new possibility. Today I am standing on the same cobblestone, in front of the same white stone pillars.  Pillars that have stood here for thousands of years. And here I stand again–twice that I know of. How many times before have I stood in this spot?  Will I stand here again? Why am I suddenly so moved? I buck up, choke back the tears behind my sunglasses and ask the girls to take a photo. How odd, that I came halfway across the world and have connected with these beautiful people who are, in fact, my neighbors from LA.

When Petros took me to this spot before, I giggled as he said ‘and this is a spot of some archeological significance’. That’s about as much as I cared to learn from a historical perspective, so strong was my impulse for exploring inward instead. And today, I am here at the same archeological sites, and Anna and Nevil, my American neighbors, are sharing with me the actual great historical significance of these places. I’ll admit that the inner discovery still holds my attention more than the historical details do. But still I find it fascinating to hear the girls talk about the birthplace of democracy and the legend of Medusa.

As the sun begins to set, we sit on an outcropping of white rock outside the acropolis. The stones are both rugged and polished from centuries of climbing feet.  I find a spot to sit, close enough to the girls to be wrapped in their easy conversation, but mostly wrapped up in my own inner world.  I listen to the cadence of the voices all around; the teenagers and grandparents are all Greek.  We seem to be the only foreigners here.  I soak in the golden sunshine of the magic hour, and allow the warmth to nourish and comfort me.  I wonder at it all, as once again I find myself looking for some intangible force outside myself that will provide all I am longing for…and I contemplate the current assignment I have given myself: to look within; to learn what it means to love myself.

After the sun sets, we decide to make our way lazily back to their hostel.  We happen upon a neighborhood called Plaka.  It seems we have suddenly been transported to Paris, as sparkling, and beautiful as this square is.  So unlike the rest of the city where graffiti is accepted, and uneven pavement and potholes make my every step precarious. As we pause for a moment to wonder which street to turn down, an older gentleman introduces himself as the manager of the sidewalk cafe we stand in front of.  He says he has been instructed to bring to his tables all things beautiful and insists we come in for a carafe of wine, compliments of the owner.   As the owner insists we stay for one more carafe, we enjoy a beautiful evening of laughter, and stories from home.

The hour is getting late, and I’m feeling the pull to make my way back home to Marroussi. But, seeing a small shoe store with its many grecian sandals reminds me that I have no physical momentos of this trip to Greece.  We stop and I look for my size in the cute little strappy, leather  number that seems both functional, confortable and unlike what I’d find back home.  As I’m debating which pair to go for, I’m momentarily separated from this reality.  The shopkeeper pulls me aside, and an invisible wall drops between me and the girls, between the shopkeeper and the shoes. All I can do is feel her silent request for my undivided attention.  A familiar inner voice, what I recognize as my higher self, insists I pay attention as the woman looks me in the eye and says “You will see, not in three months, but in 2 weeks, it will all be completely different”.

this is my stop

A familiar symbol in an unfamiliar place. This is what I call graffiti!

Just another sidewalk in Athens. Navil, Anna & I

Athenians enjoying the sunset at the Acropolis.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

exclusive retro jordans November 6, 2012 at 7:50 am

Just to let you know your web page looks a small bit different in Firefox on my netbook using Linux tangjin3600

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smartini November 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for letting me know.

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Jenibelle December 23, 2012 at 1:53 pm

A perfect reply! Thanks for taking the troulbe.

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DWlzuz3 December 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

378418 623663You seem to be very professional in the way you write.::

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Vina December 23, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Always a good job right here. Keep rlliong on through.

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