Adjusting to Greece has been, in short, absolute hell. I love it here, I really do, however, I am struggling like no other. I spent my first 5 days alone outside of school with the exception of the three times that I spent with my coordinating supervisor. Every other time I’ve been to a new country I’ve been with people. This time, I’m completely alone. When I’m alone I retreat into my room, watch TV, play on my phone and sleep. And honestly, that’s all I’ve done this week besides the time I was actually at school.
I arrived Monday night an hour late. I was picked up at the airport at about 10pm. I made it to my apartment and talked with my host and supervisor for a while and was finally alone at 11:30pm. I unpacked a bit and fell asleep.
The next morning, I was picked up at 3 to go walk by the sea, explore my community and get coffee. I told myself I would explore on my own beforehand as well as go grocery shopping. I left my apartment for the first time at about 1:30 and went to a corner store nearby. I bought bread, pasta, lentils, etc. They only had nonperishables.
On Wednesday, I woke up at 3:30 and was awake until the following night. I was picked up at 8:30 from my apartment and we drove to school. I met at least 25 different people whose names I couldn’t tell you now. I then on 4 hours of sleep, had to observe 5 classes during the next 6 hours. I got home, cooked myself dinner and went to bed at 6:30.
Thursday I woke up at 1:30am and was awake, once again, until the following night. Never in my life has jetlag affected me this hard, or at all really. I watched TV and tried to go back to sleep, without prevail, until my alarm went off at 5:45 and it was time to shower. I drank an entire pot [10 cups] of coffee this morning and boy did I need it.
After school that day, I was told to get on the wrong bus and ended up in a suburb I’d never heard of [not that I’d heard of any of the suburbs in Thessaloniki] which was a 97-minute walk from my house. With no uber, lyft, or way to get a taxi, I walked to a shell station which had wifi, called my dad and sobbed. It definitely wasn’t a matter worth crying over but my sleep-deprived, caffeinated self needed a good cry. A woman who spoke perfect English came over, comforted me, and got me a cab home. I’m forever indebted to this woman. I got home this night, cooked dinner, and went to bed.
Friday morning was the latest I slept, waking up at a smooth 4:00am. I made coffee early that morning and got ready for school. Fridays, are my new favorites because I get to spend the majority of the day with the ELL teacher. Something about her is very comforting and I love being in her class. Friday evening, I took 2 Benadryl and went to sleep.
Saturday was really good. I spent the morning with the COST coordinator here at an open market [it reminded me of a market I frequented in Spain] and at a cute little coffee shop. I got to spend the evening with 2 former COST students turned teachers as well as another teacher from America. We got dinner and drinks and the whole night was a ton of fun.
Sunday was a day just for me. I woke up at 11 [thank the lord for sleep], ate breakfast [pasta because I ran out of bread and I forgot that shops are closed on Sundays], and relaxed all day. I could have explored, I could have done anything, but I didn’t. I finally did a bit of schoolwork and activity planning at around 8pm but all in all, I needed a day to relax and I’m feeling much better about my time here. Albeit I’m still anxious about everything and afraid the students hate me as well as unsure about how I’m going to teach using a curriculum I have no practice in, but hey. I survived my first week in Greece and if I can survive the week that I did, anything is possible.