Hey Everyone, sorry for being late on updates! I am back home and safe. There were complications, my plane in Athens was delayed and then because of the delay I missed my flight from Georgia to California. But everything worked out and Delta didn’t charge anyone for the delay. I just got to hang out in the airport for an extra 10 hours. It was a long time, but it was quickly forgotten once I saw my little brother in the baggage claim looking for me. 🙂

I am leaving for Meteora today. I am not bringing my computer because we are camping. I will take as many pictures as I can though, before my camera battery dies (I don’t know if there will be a way to charge it when I get there). I will make sure to let everyone know about Meteora, even if I don’t get to it until after I get back home. I only have 5 more days left in Greece! Ahhh. I got to live it up while I can.

Tommy, Austin (not jumping), Greg, Zach, John, Garrett

Tommy, Austin, Greg, Zach, John, Garrett

Greg, Austin, Abraham, Garrett, Tommy, John

Garrett

Naturally this is what college kids do when they find themselves at a monastery! haha. So once we made it to the top of the hill in Hydra where the Orthodox monastery was built and after we had caught our breath from those crazy stairs, we made jumping pictures. They are all pretty cool and don’t need much explanation to see how much fun we were having or how cool the view was, but the last picture does have a story. Garrett decided to do a backflip where you could see the sea behind him. The platform he is on drops off about 10 feet. He did a really good backflip but Anna asked him to do it a second time with the hopes of getting him at a different point in his flip. He warned her that he only has so many backflips per month and that it might not work out. We thought he was just messing around since he’s been doing backflips off all the cliffs the guys have been jumping from. (They really like cliff jumping and go whenever they have the chance.) Apparently he wasn’t kidding. When he landed the second time he landed on the front of his foot and fell to the side before he caught his balance. Except the side he leaned to was were the platform ended. It looked like he landed and then bounced off of the wall like a ball would. Both me and Anna freaked out and ran over to look over the wall. He was standing there just looking up at us with an “I told you so” look on his face. He had landed on his feet but he fell into a mule stall so there was a huge pile of poop right next to him. He said that he saw the pile as he was falling and his only thought was to miss it. Apparently he landed straddling it! Haha. Once we discovered he was alright me and Anna could not stop laughing, I almost had an accident I was laughing so hard!

My total score

So remember how I said I had two tests left and the last one was really scary because it decided whether or not the rest of my grade counts or not? Well, found out today that La Sierra does not have the same requirements as Walla Walla, and since I am the only student in my class who is not from Walla Walla, it makes sense that no one would think to tell me that my requirements are different. This big test was going to be a part of our grade, and I would have to take it even though it isn’t a part of my requirements since I would need it as a part of my grade. BUT today our teacher decided to make this really big test NOT be a part of our grade! This means that the Walla Walla people still have to take it to prove their knowledge, but it won’t affect their grade, and since I don’t have that requirement, I don’t have to take it at all. He said that if the grade we get on this really hard test will benefit our grade he will incorporate it in our total grade as a reward for working so hard to get that good of a grade. The majority of this test was going to be unprepared translation, which I do the worst on. So I will take it, but I’m not going to stress about it, and the time I would spend fervently studying I am now going to spend with my teacher. I asked him and he is okay just sitting down for like an hour and letting me translate a book to him. This is another thing I am not very good at, and I think that my time will be better spent doing that. So, since I took the first of the two tests this morning, I am technically all done!!!

studying

I have been studying a lot lately. I have two very important tests within the next couple of days. I will be all done by Wednesday though. I was studying super hard all day and had everything out to study so I thought I’d show you all the materials I use. I am doing my very best in my class and hope that in the end that will pay off.

On Thursday we decided to take a break and go check out a store where Jolee wanted to get a dress. I went too because I needed to buy a sleeping bag. And Lexi just likes to shop, so she came too.  Anna told us that the store wasn’t too far away so we decided to walk. Well, we walked forever! Once we finally found the store for Jolee we asked the lady at the register if she knew where to get a sleeping bag. She said yes, and sent us on our way. We found ourselves in a really nice residential area and started talking among ourselves on if we were going the right direction or not. As we were discussing it a girl walked by. She asked if she could help and we told her what we were trying to find. She said that the store we were looking for was like 3 hours away by foot and that if we waited for her to change (she had just come from the beach) that she would make sure we found a sleeping bag. Her name is Nana.

Me, Lexi, Nana, and Jolee

She was lots of fun and found a place not more than a 15 minute walk away for us where we found a really cheep sleeping bag and pad. She explained a lot of Greek culture to us and asked us a lot of questions. I had told her I was from California and she got really excited. She said that she had been many places but she always wanted to go to the States and hadn’t yet. Her parents are divorced, but her Dad is pretty well off (I think) and takes her traveling. She lives with her Mom in a pretty nice apartment. Lexi wanted to know what coffee to bring home for her Mother so Nana took us back to her apartment and showed us how to make the well known Greek Frappe. It is very good coffee, I have had it a couple times around town but didn’t know I could make it so easily. She made sure we got a taxi for our trip back to the hotel and we exchanged facebook information so that we could stay in touch.

Why do I need a sleeping bag? Well, Wednesday afternoon right after our test a bunch of us are going to Meteora. I will write about it after I get back home, because I will not be able to take my computer with me when we go. We do not want to spend a lot of money for a hotel, so we are going to camp. It is really nice and warm, so we won’t have to worry about tents or anything. We are going to catch a train there and then sleep under the stars at nite, and explore during the day. Friday night a bunch of guys will go to Patmus, Garrett and I are going to stay an extra day and then come back to Athens. (I won’t have enough time before I my flight to go to Patmus and get back in time to the airport, so Meteora will be enough.) Nana is making sure we have a place to stay until Monday. Monday is when I leave and when Garrett’s girlfriend comes to Greece from California to tour with him. On Monday Nana is also leaving by the same airport, so I will go to the airport with her!

Meteora

I will try to fill you in on what other little things happened last week too once I figure out how to retrieve some pictures from Anna’s internet photo album. Otherwise I will not have much time to do anything but study, so I won’t have a lot to tell you except for how I do on the tests. The last test on Wednesday decides whether or not all the credits we have been working on count or not! I’m not too worried, but it is a lot to ride on one test.

Orthodox church on the way

steeple for the Orthodox church

Saturday morning we woke up early and headed out to the monastery that is on the top of the hill here in Hydra. It didn’t look that far away but looks can be deceiving.

There were lots of fun things to see on the way up. After we had pasted all the white houses with their blue doors we came to a little Orthodox church. It was cute. At first we thought we had come to a dead end and that we had to climb back down to find another road, but we walked around the church and found the road again on the other side.

an arch in the wall

the city below

I’m not sure what the significance is in this arch. It was part of a wall that was on the side of the path after the Orthodox church. If you looked beyond the arch you could see the whole city!

At first the road was nice and smooth. It was an easy climb and we were just kind of chillin’ as we walked.

the smooth path

the rough road

Like any good sermon illustration the road did not stay smooth. (There is a student here who is done with his theology degree after this summer and he preaches quite a bit. When ever we are talking about something that is off the wall or we see something funny he always says that that would be a good sermon illustration. So we make fun of him just a little and find sermon illustrations for him.)

Dr. Stephanavich (sp?)

While we were still on the smooth road we came to a sign that told us in Greek that we were on the right track. This is the Hebrew teacher, he is really cool and very caring, like a father figure. He is not from the United States, and he lived in the Philippines for a long time when he grew up as a missionary.

the monastery

the door to the sanctuary and the picture of Elijah

Finally we got to the top where the monastery was located. We said good morning in Greek to some workers who were replacing the bell tower and then went in to check out the church. It is a very small church and has lots of pictures. They believe in icons, the Catholic church says that they are idols just as the Orthodox says that the Catholic’s statues are idols. They both claim that they help enhance the worship experience so whatever. There are also different rooms, there is the front room that they call the sanctuary, and then there is a little farther in another room which is called the holy place (I think this is where the actual “service” takes place), and then there is the most holy place farther in behind big doors. Only the priests are allowed in the most holy place, I don’t even think the monks are allowed in there. (Priests here have a lot of political power and are very important since Orthodox is the country religion, they even have more money than the government!)

the side room (far left: John, standing: Garrett, far right: Anna, and behind Anna is Austin and Greg

The monk came in and kicked us out of the church and led us to a little room on the side. They had cold water for us and turkish delight. The water of course was to hydrate us and the turkish delight was to give us electrolytes. Turkish delight is pretty common around here, you can buy it in the grocery store near us (I would bring some home but I only like some of the flavors and I can’t find those packaged all by themselves). Once we had rested and the Hebrew teacher had given us a little lesson in Orthodoxy we headed out to the front of the monastery for our own church.

(We got a bunch of really fun jumping pictures, but Anna has the best versions so I am waiting for her to give them for me. She has a really big test tomorrow for Hebrew, so sometime after that!)

the boat

Friday morning we woke up early to head out to Hydra. Hydra is a little island that is known for tourism. We woke up early and then waited for our bus, which was 30 minutes late. When people are late around here they say that they are on “Greek time”. We were scared that we missed the boat, but it was on Greek time also.

me, John, Garrett, and Austin

The boat was a lot like an airplane. It had seats like one and was organized like one, well the part that was organized. It was comfortable, and a lot of people slept. It only took about an hour before we got to Hydra.

(If you are wondering why some of they guys always look dorky or like they weren’t paying attention when the picture was being taken, well that is on purpose. It is just something they do, they make what they call “cheese faces” because it is more fun than just smiling. I don’t have the heart to tell them to stop, plus it give you a better idea of what they are like. haha. )

our room

the funny shower

There was a woman waiting for us when we got here who took us to our hotel. Our hotel is super nice, I really like it. Everything is decorated very well and there are lots of different colors in the halls and in the lobby. I thought the shower hose was funny. It looks like a phone. The faucet  for the bath part doesn’t actually work I don’t think, and the other part you have to hold, you can’t set it up so you can shower under it. I haven’t found it to be too inconvenient though.

taxis

This island is nice an quiet. There are no bikes or cars allowed. The only way to get anywhere is to walk or catch a boat or ride a mule. They are very quiet and just sit and wait for someone to come and fetch them. The whole thing about thieves does not apply here, you can just leave something, like a mule, just anywhere, and no one will take it.

When we were done getting  settled we headed out for lunch. Our teachers bought us gyros. They were amazing! It was a warm day, so the ice tea we had with our gyros was that much better tasting.

gyros

After we had eaten our full we went back to the hotel to get our money and bathing suits. I knew that the guys would want to go swimming and not want to wait for us to go back and change, so I put it on in anticipation. Jolee and Lexi and I went shopping. Lexi got a jumper thing. They are very popular here! I found a dress I really liked. This island is known for tourism, and I think that is why all the shops were so cute.

the beach

Like I had thought, we ran into the guys on their way to a beach. I jumped on the band wagon and off we went. It was a really long walk, but we found it eventually. It was small, but nice. There was no sand, but rocks instead. The water was just cool enough to be refreshing, but not too cold like the ones in California. There is also more salt than the ocean in California. I’m not sure why that is, or how that works, but it is most definitely the case. Since there is more salt, once you get out into the water you don’t have to do a whole lot of work to stay afloat, you can just kind of sit there, which is nice.

Last week we did not go on a field trip. It was a stressful week, because we had a test to finish our second quarter of Greek on Thursday. I am now almost done with school. This next week I have a test to finish the third quarter and then the week after that I have a cumulative exam. After our test on Thursday we went out for ice cream, which is amazing here, and then we went to this beach were you can jump off the rocks into the ocean. I only did it once because I was to chicken until right before we had to leave, but it was fun.

Tommy studying

the beach

jumping

Abraham, John, Austin, Garrett, and ME!

Last week Thursday we went to Delphi. Delphi is the most famous oracles of all time, plus it was a very important diplomatic arena. In order to stay in favor with Apollo the rulers from the surrounding areas would give statues (which symbolized wishing pleasure on someone) to Apollo’s temple in Delphi. The idea was that if they  stayed in favor with the god, they would get a good prophecy. The bigger or more important states had bigger places to contain the statues given, in this way they could show how high they were on the totem poll and cut in the line to get prophesies. Athens was one of these states, it was important to them to get quick prophesies since they were under attack a lot and needed news before their enemies arrived. First I’m going to show you the museum and then the actual site.

Helen being captured

If you look closely you can see in this picture a woman with a big dress jumping off a cart-looking-thing, which is a chariot. And if you strain you can see a man in front of the horses trying to stop the horses. Archeologists believe that this is depicting the capture of Helen before the Trojan war. This slab of marble was part of the roof of the Delphi temple.

Trojan battle scene

The next slab of marble was also part of the same roof, just on another side of the building. Once again, archeologists don’t know for sure, but they think that it depicts the Trojan war. There is on the left one group of soldiers with one kind of helmet and on the other side they have another type of helmet, this shows you that they are on different sides. And in the middle there is a man lying on the ground, he has been wounded. So you see it is a story depicted on the roof of the temple.

Apollo

At one point the temple of Delphi was made of wood and something happened to make a fire and the whole thing burned down. They remade the temple out of marble, trying to make it similar to the wooden one (hence the pillars that look remarkably close to tree trunks). It is very good that the priests did not get rid of what was left from the fire. Since the objects were once considered very signifiant, they buried them instead, like you would an old friend. In that way their significance could still remain while they used different objects. This is what has given archeologists a lot of information because it has shown them how the society progressed from one time to another. This is an example of a statue of Apollo that was mostly destroyed. When you look at his face it is obvious that he is happy, this is because he was created before Greece started being attacked by the Persians, before children were missing fathers and wives missing husbands and sisters missing brothers. Life is good, so he looks like it. You can see how he was adorned with a lot of jewelry, jewelry has always been very important to the Greeks. If you go down town you can see this because every woman who can afford it has big gold earrings, at least one necklace, several bracelets, and at least one big ring.

Greek statues before the wars

a Greek statue after the wars and Lula (our tour guide)

While there were many other very cool and important things in the museum, I can not do a whole post on the museum because I would have no energy to tell you about the actual temple. This is one very basic, but not very well known thing (as far as I understand it isn’t well known at least :)). Here are two statues, their differences tell us a lot! Looking at the first one with the two guys. They have their left foot pointing forward and this shows us that they are depicting men (as apposed to gods). They do not exactly look like men either. I mean, you can tell they are depicting men, but if you saw a real human like that you would think their was a problem with him. This is because it was created before the wars with Persia. At this time the sculptors were not as good. They did not know how to envision the entire statue before they started, so that is why they look a little odd. And one more thing, they have smiles, which I said before was because everyone was happy before the wars with Persia. The second picture with our tour guide is a work done much later, after all the wars. If you can make it out, his face is not smiling, this is because the life of everyone was much harder after the wars which killed way too many of their men. Why would you create a happy statue if you are always stressed about how you will provide food for your family? It doesn’t make sense. So he is sad. Also, he looks a lot more like a man. This is because their ability to see the whole creation in their minds eye before they started had developed. It looks whiter too, this is because it is made out of marble, while the other is of some other rock which was softer and easier to use. This man has his right foot forward which shows that he is a god. And he is looking down, this means that he is dead. One last thing to notice is that his hair is short while the hair of the others is long. This is because before the wars started the men had time an money to participate in fashion, it was what was in. Where as the second statue which is of a man after the wars when they did not have time to take care of long hair and instead had to be ready at any moment to run off to war.

Athens' "shrine"

After we had gone to the museum we headed outside to see the temple. The temple was a little ways up the hill, but there were structures on the way to the temple. Most of these structures were treasuries. This is were the states put all the statues they had offered to Apollo. These are the statues that I was talking about earlier. If you wanted a prophesy, you brought a gift, and a gift that would not rot was better than one that would because it would be a reminder to everyone who saw it that you had given the god pleasure. These structures were called treasuries, but they were used more like embassies. This is the embassy the Athenians, which was one of the biggest and most important of all the treasuries.

Roman shops turned Christian

an engraved cross

Before you got to the treasuries you had to go by shops. The shops sold statues for the people who came in a rush for an important  oracle and didn’t have enough time to have a statue made or for people who came from really far away and couldn’t bring one with them. Once the Romans came to power they took over these shops and that is why the columns look different from Greek columns. Lula (our tour guide) says that the Greeks loved beauty and that is why their columns look prettier. After a while the Christians who were very active came here and turned the Roman shops into Churches. Here is a cross from one of these churches.

the front of the Delphi temple

most of the layout of the Delphi temple

After you go buy the shops and the treasuries you come to the temple of Delphi. This is the building where the oracles took place. Prophesies occurred when one of the priestesses breathed in vapors that came from the ground, and ate loral leaves. She was to have not had anything to eat or drink before hand. The vapors would make her dizzy and things would come to her mind. She would talk in a language no one but the priests could understand and then the priest would tell someone else what the oracle said. Archeologists still do not know what the vapors were, but they are trying to figure that out. I don’t remember what exactly happen to if for it to not still be intact, but I don know that a lot of other countries knew about the wealth at Delphi and came down to raid it. I don’t know how many of them were successful.

the theater (and me)

a song played in the theater

When you had gone past the temple you came to a theater. This is where musicians played for Apollo and the workers at the temple. Only the best of the best played and if it was extraordinarily good they would carve the song into the stone so that it could live forever. This is a picture of a song that was played. The large letters that are straight in a line are the words to the song, if you look closely (I think if you run your mouse over it, it will get larger) you can see that there are also letters just above the lines, almost crowding the other line, these are the notes. This is were most people stop climbing the hill, because the stadium is much farther up the hill.

On our way to the stadium we found these men who were picking berries. They told us to do the same. At first we weren’t so stoked because the berries didn’t look as nice as they do at the grocery store. But then we tasted them, and decided the guys weren’t as crazy as we thought. They were incredibly juicy and it was a nice snack on our way up to the stadium.

Once we got to the top we found the stadium where they raced chariots. I have no clue how they got the chariots up there, but they did a lot of crazy stuff back then. It was nice and cool up at the top and the view was amazing.

stadium for chariot races

the view from the top

Today they started fixing the hotel’s back yard area. This is what the view from my porch has looked like and it is slowly changing. 🙂 The guys said something about a soccor field, but I don’t know if they were serious or not. Either way it will be fun watching what they do to it while we are here.

the backyard in progress

before

after

P.S. I have another final this week, I will make sure to update you when it is over, but until then please pray that I have the wisdom to study what I need to know and that it sticks. Thank you!