Thursday, 31 July 2014

Greece Lightning: The Curse of Zeus

Greece Lightning
The Curse of Zeus

I am sitting in front of my computer, drinking a delicious banana smoothie and blogging away when I notice a man outside the apartment sweeping his balcony in nothing but a tiny black speedo. With absolutely no shame whatsoever. An absolute legend. I must be in Greece!


By now most of you are probably wondering where the hell I've been for the last few months. I kind of dropped off the radar for a bit and postponed my blogging.... Yeah, sorry about that! But the good news is that I now have a lot of things to share with you! So you should be looking forward to a few new blog posts within the next couple of weeks focusing on  the beautiful country of Italy and a little bit of insight into the AuPair experience. Hopefully this will make up for my absence, but then again "Absence makes the heart grow fonder".

Yes, I totally used a cringe-worthingly cliched quote right there. Deal with it.

So on to Greece now shall we? 

If you haven't already gathered this from the title or first sentence of this post, I'm in Greece right now; specifically Athens. Coming to Greece was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment sort of thing but in all the crappy things that have happened since arriving, I'm still grateful that I came. Okay scratch that...frankly, things have sucked but there is always a silver lining!

Before I delve into my particular case of bad luck in this country, I should give a little bit of background into my bad karma and the apparent curse of the gods. As most of you know, Greek mythology has always played an important role in Greek life. These being from the myths and legends of the many Gods and Goddesses of Olympus who rule over the lands and possess the power to control the weather, the waters, the earth; and also our fate, our fortune, our life and our subsequent deaths. Now being a huge comic book nerd, periodical freak of nature, and huge appreciator of Homer's The Odyssey, I have always had a deep fascination with greek mythology. Partly because the history and the brilliance of each god and divinity is well thought out, but mostly because it is just so freaking cool! Yes the thought of having these giant, immortal and all-powerful gods ruling over us and controlling our lives is quite terrifying, but you have to admit that there is a sort of allure to the whole thing. And it isn't really scary as long as you don't get on one of their bad sides.

Now I have been known to have a certain misfortune when it comes to luck, love and the elements, and while I don't believe I personally offended the almighty gods in past occurrences, they all seem to have it out for me. Particularly Zeus. This seems to be the only explanation to the fact that I bring the bad weather wherever I go. 

I know. I know. You're probably thinking that I am being overdramatic and paranoid, and that it's just coincidence that bad weather is attracted to me, but let me give you a couple of examples:

I'll start with Los Angeles, California as it is the place where I first noticed that I brought the bad weather. Now if you know anything about California, you've probably heard that it doesn't rain very often...if ever. Seriously though, forest fires and earthquakes are more common than rain is. When it does rain people genuinely believe that the apocalypse is coming. I kid you not. Even if it is just a few rain droplets! Well you can imagine everyone's surprise when I come to visit the state for a week and it rains 3 days during the time I'm there. Very strange indeed.

Okay now lets talk about this summer in particular. Throughout my time in Italy all I kept hearing was people exclaiming that the weather is very strange this summer. Usually it is 30 degrees out, clear skies and nothing but sunshine...this summer however was a lot of rain and chilly mornings and I think we only had less than a week of hot weather. When I explained my bad luck with weather to my AuPair hosts they just laughed and said it's just coincidence. That was until they checked the forecast for the day after I left: clear skies and nothing but sunshine for the rest of the summer. Coincidence I think not. 

Then I come to Greece and am informed of a major storm coming my way ironically just as I am landing into the country. Then rain, rain, rain. As soon as I told of my affinity to bad weather to my couch surfing hosts they laughed and said, "That's why! Okay which way to the airport?" 

To be honest I actually quite like the rain. Maybe this is why I like England so much...I'm a bit of an enigma when I come there as it's always raining regardless if I'm there or not.

So that is my curse from Zeus, and we all know my curse from Aphrodite in the love department, so now let's look at a product of their union: Tyche, the goddess of fortune and luck (okay we don't know if Zeus was actually the father, it could have been Hermes for all we know as the gods liked to get around, but either way I'm clearly cursed in the matters of fortune.) I really don't want to get into this a whole lot as it will turn into a long rant and I'm not fond of airing my dirty laundry to the public, I will just summarize my misfortune by saying this: I was scammed. I was promised a job that never materialized and instead was left stranded in Athens with little to no money and a massive cloud of stress over my head. Oh yeah, and it was also raining...

Fortunately I was able to catch my bearings and adapt to all this, and for that I have so many people to thank for supporting me during this tough time.

This past month has been a roller-coaster of epic proportions...and not one of the good ones. More like the ones you have to wait in line for ages for but are able to claim the golden front seat, so it was worth the wait. However when you finally get on the ride you find out midway that you have a faulty seatbelt, so you spend the entire ride with your eyes closed, hyperventilating like a lunatic and clinging on for your dear life. You breathe a sign of relief when you survive the twists and turns, and praise the heavens above for not plummeting to your death, but as you come to the end of the ride your seat mate conveniently turns to your side and unloads their lunch onto your lap.

Yep...that pretty much explains it.

But enough of the bad things... let's look at all the good things that have happened since I arrived:

  • I met some awesome people while couchsurfing who have become close friends to me and who were able to help me out when I was at my lowest.
  • I had my first drum lesson with my first host in Athens and in turn was able to fulfill an old childhood dream.
  • I learned to seriously budget my money so that I only spent 1 or 2 euros on each meal. This is an invaluable asset to have when backpacking and it has taught me to be resourceful. Instead of going out to eat I would cook at home and if I had to eat while in the city I would buy fruits and vegetables at the market, haggle with the merchants at the bakery to get cheap bread, and then buy inexpensive tzatziki or hummus at the grocery store. Also, I mostly drank water while travelling and since Athens has clean tap water (which actually tastes good!) I was able to refill my bottle up wherever I went!
  • I got to see some of the amazing historical sights that Athens has to offer and delve into my passion for greek mythology.
  • I got to fangirl when I went to the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus and saw everything that I had studied in my major, come to life in front of me.
  • I got to explore Athens on the back of a motorcycle
  • I got to swim in the sea for hours and relish the perfect temperature of the water.
  • I got to eat LOTS and LOTS of souvlaki which were all super cheap, super delicious and still happened to taste completely different from one another.
  • I became an expert of the Athenian metro system.
  • I learned to haggle my way into getting cheap jewellery at the markets.

And most importantly...

  • I have learned that people will continue to surprise me. Yes, sometimes for the bad..but mostly for the good.
So yeah, things kind of went sour when I got to Greece but I've met some awesome people who were so incredibly supportive and while life has continued to kick me in the proverbial balls, I have had no other choice but to suck it up and learn from it. I guess this is just to let everyone know (who has ever told me that they are 'jealous' of my travels /or/ wishes that they were in my place /or/ is just curious to find out what I'm up to right now) that things aren't perfect. I'm human and bad things happen to me. This isn't saying that I regret my travels (hell no!) and am warning people off travelling (obviously not!), it just means that you should always be prepared for the unexpected. I wasn't, but I am now. We live and we learn.

Thank you for everyone who has supported me on this adventure and who have followed me through the ups and downs of life. I'm sorry if this wasn't the happiest read but I can assure you that I have plenty of funny stories to entertain you with in my next few posts. 

And on the bright side, the clouds have lifted (metaphorically and literally) and the rain has stopped! Maybe this is a sign of good things to come?

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