By Evangeline Garreau
It struck me first when I caught sight of the man selling giant whirligigs in the park. I saw him there often, hawking umbrellas in the rain and these same vibrant, shimmering whirligigs on bright breezy days like today. As I watched his oversized wares spin under the brilliant Athenian sun, looking down quickly as he caught sight of me and tried to engage a potential customer, I realized in a moment of odd joyful pain how much I would miss this place.
Or no, I think I noticed it first earlier that day as I read through the reading comprehension section on my Greek final exam. My professor had written a story in Greek about Christina and her boyfriend going to a taverna for dinner. “The taverna plays good music,” the story went, “and when they like a song they get up and dance. Sometimes Christina stays at her seat, but she always sings along, and so do all the people in the taverna. For so it is in Greece: everyone knows the songs and everyone sings along with the band.” I felt my stomach twist and closed my eyes for a second before moving on quickly to the next paragraph.
Or perhaps it started earlier, when I went out to dinner with my entire Attic Tragedy class and my professor made us laugh so hard I thought I would choke on my tzatziki and bread. Or even before that, as I sat in the National Gardens discussing poetry and watching the shifting patterns of light on the ground made by the swaying trees. All I know is sometime between hating finals, wishing the program were just over already and today, I began to rediscover the brilliance of this city, this country, this amazing experience I’ve had all semester. I started to realize how much I enjoy the friends I’ve made here, and how hard it is to say goodbye to them. And as excited as I am for my summer to start, I’m beginning to recognize just how sad I am to leave.
Evangeline Garreau comes to CYA from Smith College.You can follow her adventures on her blog "Evie Goes A-Wandering."