The halfway mark (Sat. 7/14)

It’s 2am. I have a taxi coming in 3 hours to get to the airport. It makes zero sense to sleep so instead I will catch up on news and thoughts! Plus I still have to finish packing. I will never understand the phenomenon of how things just multiply, despite having acquired anything. Until someone proves otherwise I am going to go with the theory that when I’m not looking all my possessions engage in illicit activities with short gestation periods.

Today was a much appreciated day of doing next to nothing. I woke up around 9:45, headed across to Diane’s house, and chilled there for a bit. Then we went over stuff pertaining to her website, which she’s trying to revamp a lil bit. Then I had lunch and sat outside with Diane, Vassilis, Lizanna, and Romelos (my Greek teacher’s dad lolwut) basically until 4:30pm. I came back here intending to pack, but instead fell asleep for a few hours. Classic. Then I took a walk up a couple villages just to get moving a bit, came back, showered (because apparently all it takes for me to work up a sweat is 1 km) and got ready for dinner. There were still a few people from the class who don’t fly out until later so they joined us for dinner at a taverna in the nearby village.

I had really nice conversation at dinner with John, a guy from the class who is a 71 year old small engineering business owner who is really, really fascinating. First off, he’s hilarious, in the kind of humor that one obtains from lots of living experience. He’s also extremely intelligent- he knows so much about so many random things. Everything from which leaves to chew on when you’re hiking and get dry mouth to Scottish witches in the 17th century, which he’s currently writing a book on. His curiosity for the world and his will to not allow old age to dampen that curiosity is inspiring.

This has been an absolutely wonderful week. Diane and her family were so hospitable, I learned a LOT of Greek and about Greek food, I ate delicious food, and met interesting people. It was kindof nice to be around cool Americans for a bit. Taking a group of 10 people who don’t know people can really go either way, but everyone agreed that this week went very well. Among the group, there were people who had a lot of experiences to share, which was cool. One of them used to own a coffee shop, so I got to pick her brain for tips about the coffee business I want to start. And hearing from a bunch of people how they think you’re going to do well in life is just really nice, even if they’ve only known you for a week and for all they know I could be some kind of crazy that was secretly just exiled to this island and didn’t actually want to be here (not the case but still). It was a great living situation and my only complaint about the house where my room is was that the bathroom was all yellow, including the inside of the toilet, so I couldn’t tell whether or not I was dehydrated. But I survived.

When I said goodbye to John after dinner (at 2am, getting close to breakfast time) and told him how he’s given me a whole new perspective on aging, he said “well, you could call it that. But really, it’s just living.” This trip is teaching me that living is awesome. Really awesome. I’ve done a whole lot of living this past few weeks that it feels almost tangible. There’s so much world to see, and I’ve been trying my best to see as much of this little island as possible. I’m leaving with lots of fond memories of Ikaria- its lovely people, goats, food, and sights are going right into a box that I’m putting deep in my mind and never letting go.

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