Saturday, October 19, 2013

the one where I try to explain this.



bittersweet.
I'm so emotional.
but it's okay.
this is a big deal.
last sleep in Greece tonight.

that's the best way i can describe this trip in a quick post with minimal editing THE night before we leave.

i have LOVED my time in Greece, I think that's been evident in my blog posts/facebook posts/instagram, whatever you've been following me on. God has done so much, and I am leaving a changed person because of him. I love to watch his work in my life and in the lives of others this trip.

my friend Ellen, who I have mentioned before, reminded me of something the other day. I'm allowed to be sad to leave Greece. SO sad, because it is a country I lived in for three months and have grown to love. it is a country where I have grown so much. another friend said the other day that she will think about big life decisions she's made and say "I made that decision in Greece". It is a country that is now written on our hearts, as we've seen God's heart for the nation. the images we've seen are not only filling up our Facebook timelines, they are markers on our own lives, our own timelines, and will stay with us.

On the other hand, I'm allowed to be excited to go home. I'm allowed to be excited for a week in Chicago, celebrating my birthday, getting much needed time with some of my closest friends, and enjoying silly American things like Giordanos and Chipotle, flushing my toilet paper, and being able to fully communicate with the cashier when I buy something.

I have been so surprised at how much of a family we have become on this trip. today we took a group picture, without one of our friends because he left this morning. many of us agreed that it just didn't count because he wasn't there. tonight we watched videos of the trip, proving the fact that we're definitely close enough to laugh and make fun of each other. I will MISS all 31 of these wonderful people.

as a group, we have been through it all. seeing breathtaking sites, eating new foods, laughing together, sharing pieces of our hearts. some conquered a half marathon, others climbed Mt Olympus, one was baptized, others made life-changing decisions, and we're all leaving changed. we've been through hard things, like injuries, multiple hospital visits, sickness almost everyone shared with each other, sad stuff happening back home, and a lost passport... just to name a few.

yet, through this whole time, we have had a thread weaving through our conversations of God's goodness and faithfulness. none of us are leaving the same. there are things we cannot unsee, there are things that have moulded us and grown us, as we become more like Christ. there have been anthems ringing out throughout our whole experience, growing in meaning as the days passed. I will let a few lines of these anthems have the last word in Greece.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander so my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.  [listen]

Great is thy faithfulness, great is the faithfulness, morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me. [listen]

Glory over yonder, over yonder- when Jesus comes in glory we shall part no more. Glory over yonder, over yonder- when Jesus comes in glory we shall part no more. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Leptokarya


{written Monday, October 14, publishing now due to internet connection problems. bear with me!} 


Location: Leptokarya, Greece. Across the street from the jellyfish-filled Aegean, in the shadow of Mount Olympus. We're staying at a camp. No, don't think cabins with bunk beds- much more like a dorm, three to a room with a bathroom and fridge and a huuuge balcony overlooking the beach. I'm sharing with two friends, Ellen and Emily. It's so pretty here! And the food is so yummy, as a bonus.

Currently: We're almost finished taking Christianity and Western Culture 2, our 5th and final class, which means at the end we will have taken 15 credits in less than 3 months! Adding it up, I'm pretty impressed with us. I'm also pretty ready for a tiny bit of a break... even though I've got two papers to write and another class to take online in before December. I'll take what I can get.

I'm not sick anymore! Yay.

I am currently in disbelief that I won't be in Greece this time next week. We will be on a plane, one week from this moment, from Amsterdam to Chicago. It feels like we just made the opposite journey... was it really almost three months ago? ah.

At the same time, I think I'll be ready to leave. Sad, but ready to go back to Chicago for a week, then a few months in New Hampshire, both places I love dearly. We shall see if I keep it together and don't get too sad about every "last" we experience this week.

Last night my friend and current roommate Ellen asked me what things I have to do before I leave. We are far from any city centers here, so here are the things I came up with to do in this small abandoned vacation town by the sea.
  1. get my last Greek cheese pie (my favorite Greek food, to be honest! gyros are good too.) ...or maybe a few cheese pies once I run out of cereal to eat for dinner.
  2. get my last slice of Baklava 
  3. do my devotionals on the beach early in the morning- no excuses when it's a two minute walk there! 
  4. go for a few more walks on the beach- it's not exactly going to be beach weather when I get back to the States
  5. enjoy time with my friends here- all 31 of the people I have spent this experience with. whether it's playing cards or eating meals together or studying having deep conversations- I just want to soak in all my moments with them! 
  6. dress up and go out to dinner with all the girls 

Photos lately:
(sorry is these aren't the best quality, I had to take them off of Facebook because of very slow internet) 

we found a HUGE jellyfish on the beach where we're staying. this is the reason I have not gone swimming, and don't plan on doing so. 


matching! 

quiet time on the balcony with a sea view is the best

this is the view from our classroom


it's fall! see the leaf? see me sitting by the sea? it's great. 

xoxo
Emily