Greece is...

Hey! Look! English! Or rather, "Anglish," that word I start chanting whenever someone starts spewing Greek at me. I might look a little Greek, but don't be mistaken, I'm entirely American. And entirely Anglish.

We didn't post yesterday. Half because the Wifi went down (Well, more than half) and half I was at a loss on what to say.

You're about to begin a raw post regarding the realities of traveling abroad.

Europe is spectacular. You are literally walking on history and drenched in a whole new culture. New lifestyles, homes, languages, new everything...including you.

You're different, you don't necessarily fit in, the languages are foreign, and your senses are on overdrive. This is no American Epcot.

It's not the same as traveling stateside to let's say, Georgia. Your accent might be a bit different from the south, but when you say "Barbecue" they know you want barbecue.

....I have no clue what the word for barbecue is in Greek. IF there is even a word associated with that southern goodness.

Sometimes in strange lands, people don't like strangers. We left a land that celebrates diversity, but here, they're not running to throw down the welcome mat. You're a little different; therefore, people act a little different.

Greece is....a foreign land.

It's a place exuding beauty and history; yet, language barriers and trust barriers are raised high.

When we first landed in Europe, something happened that I didn't prepare for mentally; every fear and heart aching that I felt in Germany flooded back and crowded my thoughts. The pangs of loneliness due to language barriers and frustrations due to my limitations were consuming my attitude and outlook on the trip. I felt scared, out of place, and almost second-guessing the entire trip. Jetlag and sleeping in a Turkish airport obviously did nothing to add to my assurances. I stopped talking; I didn't want people to know my mother tongue. I stopped making eye contact; I didn't want to have to explain my deficiencies.

I didn't want to be different. I didn't want to attack the hassle of finding a simple bathroom or purchasing a small water. I didn't want to be the new kid in town all over again, just like Germany. I didn't want the stares or added difficulties.

And in all honesty, if all that sparks anxiety to you....Epcot is a super cool, super english place. No jetlag, no barriers.

I'm not trying to be some Debbie-Downer. I'm not writing to say I hate Greece or Europe or very attractive Greek men.

I'm saying, if you lack confidence in yourself, in your abilities, and in your heritage, you're in for a shaky ride.

You break every comfort zone.

Was flying to Turkey on my bucket list? No. Was a 14 hour layover that was spent clutching my backpack and praying that my last breath was not within these walls a fun memory? Absolutely not. Was reading facebook comment regarding the increased rate of terrorism a comforting thought AFTER you left the country? Seriously, why? Was walking into Greece and eyes glazing like donuts over the new symbols and language a great first impression? Not necessarily.

You learn. You have to decide- do you make the leap or stay inside your safety bubble.

We jumped.

I'm impressed with how we've managed our way from America to Turkey to Greece. Thanks to my blessed friend and her Greek knowledge, we've flown, walked, trained, and bussed our way around Greece. We haven't gotten lost, we've consumed everything in close proximity, and we've experienced a lot of sights. It's easy to sit on the computer and stare off into far away lands and blindly dismiss the travel, the hassles, and even fears that come with travels abroad. You stare at castles far away and don't consider the amount of breath it takes to walk up a mountain. Seriously. Lots of breath. Much breathing.

This isn't a pity post. This isn't a whiny post. When I first started blogging this trip, I said this was your ticket to explore Greece. And while you're not here with us personally (just in our hearts!), I think it's time to be good and honest regarding the realities of traveling. That being said, don't let the fear of the unknown keep you from widening your world.

"There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." -Theodore Roosevelt

Ahh, all that being said, let's begin the exploration!

Our morning began with a trip to the Greek IKEA. Is this in the states? Yes. Do we pronounce the name properly? According to Val, NO. According to Hailey, "it doesn't matter just take all my money."

Brunch in Ikea, the feast of the poor.

Val and her's a sign that it's meant to be. That's carryon size, right?

Yes, we did just skip continents to photograph cats. It's a Greek cat, you know.

The view of Thessaloniki

Today's outfit featuring Italian shoes, a Greek cardigan, and one American!

This is Hailey giving the view a 10/10. Also her legs a 10/10 for surviving so much. So much.

I call this, a Bob Ross European landscape. "It's time to paint a happy village. Choose any color, this is your masterpiece and there are no mistakes, just happy accidents."

And finally, this is Hailey pretending she's sophisticated because she's surrounded by marble.

Castles and bus tours, and ancient architecture made for quite a day in Thessaloniki.

Currently, it's 2:30 PM on Wednesday and we sit and wait for the train. Can you guess our next excursion? Hint: "I see that in every way, you are very religious."

-Angus and Dairy

Recent Epiphanies