Monday, July 29, 2013

Back in the USA

After almost 6 amazing weeks abroad and more than 24 hours of travelling, I have finally made it back home to the United States. I can't believe how fast time flew by and what an incredible experience I  have been having so far. While I am sad to be home , it'll be nice to finish my work in quiet and to see some of my friends and family who I haven't seen in quite some time.

Here is an update of my last week in Greece before returning back home:

On Monday, I looked at different bilateral agreements between different coastal nations in Europe as well as different countries views on maritime laws, etc. I also learned more about the Greek education system during class which was cool to compare our system to theirs.

On Tuesday I got to go to a place called Arkadi which was a Holocaust Monastery high up in the mountains between Heraklion and Chania. This monastery played a big role in Cretan history during the Ottoman empire. Many Cretans resisted the Ottoman rule and took refuge in this monastery before sacrificing themselves after 3 days of battle rather than surrendering to the Ottoman rule. The monastery itself was really beautiful  and it was interesting to see all the sites.

After this we went to Kournas Lake, a huge natural lake nestled between mountains and then we headed to Rethymno, another big city on the island of Crete and a major university town. To end the day, we went to the movie theater to watch “A Green Story,” a movie about a Greek entrepreneur who started a green company in California called Earth Friendly Products and who has a major green laundry detergent called Ecos which is sold all over the USA. It was the story about his life and all that he went through to make his company happen.

After class on Wednesday I worked on my research finishing up most of my notes for the paper. I only have a few more sections to go and then I can actually start compiling what I have found and put it into dissertation format. I started to work on the historical background part of the actual paper and I’m glad it’s finally starting to come along.

On Thursday  we went to a pottery factory where they showed us how they make different clay pots from start to finish and then they even let each one of us make our own mini piece of pottery art. After this, we went to the small village of Ross Daly-Houdesti where there is a huge museum and school for lyras (a violin-type musical instrument). We got a tour of the museum to see many different types of lyras and heard about a huge music festival that will be taking place there next week which we will unfortunately miss. Next we went to the Kazantzakis museum to learn all about the famous writer. We got to see a short film on his life and learn about how smart and talented this guy was. Not only did he write hundreds of books, he knew many languages and was a hard-working and well-travelled man.

Friday was the last day of classes and the last day to work on my research while in Crete. I started to finish up my writing on the historical background section and felt like I made a lot of progress. We also  all presented our research in front of the class and then talked about what we liked or didn’t like about the trip and what suggestions we would make to make the abroad experience better.

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