A Taste of Home and a Taste of Greece by Matthew Titzler

October was not as chaotic as September, but it was just as busy. Taking four classes on one day contributes to this busyness, along with trying to plan as many weekend and day trips around Athens, mainland Greece and the islands as possible. A stress reliever of mine is indulging in the local cuisine. As a mentioned in my previous post, the αντικριστό from Crete was my favorite food I had, and that is still the case. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying as many different restaurants and types of food as possible. One can only have so many γύρος before they must venture out into other options, but I still find myself walking to the same three grills for my weekly or bi-weekly treat.

Aside from γύρος, I would like to think I have already tried almost every type of dish common in Athens, especially with our cafeteria serving us local cuisine for lunch every day. My favorites have probably been grilled octopus, σπανακόπιτα, a spinach and cheese pastry, and σουτζουκάκια, meatballs with red sauce, various spices, and rice. Of course, I find myself eating much Italian and occasionally Indian food. After those or as a late-night snack occasionally, I enjoy either gelato or λουκουμάδες, essentially a Greek donut hole with honey, cinnamon, and sugar. These restaurants also allow me the perfect opportunity to build my confidence in Greek, with my food-ordering skills greatly improving every day. Although, I have had to get used to people identifying me as American at some places and then their responses to my Greek in English.

The taste of home comes in a less pleasing manner. With winter coming, so does the cold and wet weather. Something I have become accustomed to in Charleston where it floods on the regular. There was one instance in particular, the first real rain of the year since Spring, where this was extremely evident. Within an hour the hill we are situated on became a water slide with quite a bit of water. But, unlike in Charleston, people were not trying to swim in it, which some people in Charleston enjoy doing in the sewage water. This plethora of water would not be as much of problem if it wasn’t for the ambitious Greek architects building over the rivers which surround Athens. Safe to say it isn’t the smartest thing to do. The pictures I have attached show some of this, along with the Panathenaic Stadium draining all its water in front of our academic center. It definitely will be interesting to see how common this will be in the later monsoon period of Athens.

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