Making My Home Away From Home | #4

Just living in a new place can be difficult. However, using previous experience of living abroad, I have seemed to adjust rather well. I lived in Rome for three months last year. That experience started off initially rockier than my experience in Greece. I was nervous this experience would be stressful like my earlier one, but I have not been anxious or stressed at all. I have been dealing with my anxiety through healthier practices since my first trip. In Olynthos, I have certain discomforts from being placed into a foreign country. For example, I find it gently troubling to not know the language. It’s hard to find the confidence to speak as Greek is totally foreign to me. I will continue to try to listen and observe so I can pick up a little bit.

Being in a small Greek village has been different to Rome and even my hometown. Olynthos is a small, unique place. It is surrounded by olive farms. It holds a few restaurants and cafes, a small shop, a single small grocery store, and a couple churches. Every night, we eat in the same taverna, which has really good meals for us. Having been here a while, I can recognize various locals and they can obviously recognize the large group of foreigners. Unfortunately, the only downside to being in a small town is the lack of convenience I am now lazily accustomed to. I like to get coffee at all hours, yet this is a small price to pay for such a beautiful town! I walk everywhere, which is refreshing. I am really enjoying getting to know the locals and the other archeologists on the dig. I would not change lives with someone else for the world. This trip is a life-long desire fulfilled.

2 thoughts on “Making My Home Away From Home | #4

  • July 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm
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    Hi Alyssa,
    I just read your fourth post after responding to your third – our minds must be on the same wavelength! Thanks for sharing about your transition to Greek culture, and how you’ve used your experience from living abroad in the past to inform your preparation. Do you feel you did certain things differently, to ensure a smoother start in Greece? Or more so situational, that it was smoother?

    You mentioned healthy practices to manage the anxiety and transition – would you be willing to share what has been helpful? I’m glad that despite the discomfort of a new place, new language, etc that you able to approach it with an open mind and interest to learn. Are there any colleagues or locals interested in being a language partner, just for conversation? The Greek language is beautiful, but definitely tough!

    That’s wonderful that the landscape, people, and opportunity outweigh the inconveniences; your appreciation for the opportunity to be in Greece and engage with the site are clear.

    Thanks,
    Beth

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    • July 25, 2018 at 10:45 am
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      Hi Beth!
      I definitely had my experience in Rome in mind while traveling to Greece. I got this really awful migraine the day after I arrived in Rome so I was really afraid I would get that again here. I remember it being really painful and debilitating so I obviously didn’t want that. I made sure I was hydrated on the plane and even took some medicine to ease my anxiety. I actually went as far as to make this soothing aloe and lavender spray for relaxation. This may or may not have helped because I didn’t get a migraine! The situation in Rome was very different though as it was an academic trip for credit as opposed to a volunteer personal experience here. I also was going through mild spiritual distress in Rome and I didn’t have that here. Either way, I didn’t have the headache which was good.
      The healthier mental practices may have been a factor in my smoother transition as well. In Rome, I hadn’t really acknowledged my anxiety yet. I’ve had it for a while (probably freshmen year of high school) and I’d known that I had it. I guess I just didn’t want to deal with it. I eventually reached a point where I needed to deal with my anxiety on campus in Ann Arbor the semester I returned, so Fall 2017, but the trip in Rome helped me to understand just how disruptive in my daily life it was. I was able to seek help in medication and counseling at U of M. Since then, I don’t use either medication or counseling on a regular basis but I do think both helped me to better deal with my anxiety in and out of school. So in general, I just feel better about the transition because I acknowledged the issue and am now kinder to myself in situations where I get overwhelmed. There wasn’t anything I specifically did to prepare other than allowing myself the time to process in situations and showing myself kindness in these anxiety-inducing situations.

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