Before I went to Greece, I pictured it looking like the movie Mamma Mia or the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I expected to be surrounded by blue skies, an even bluer ocean, and white sand nestled between my toes.
But as usual, my perfect image of how something should be was shattered. And I’m happy it was. When I first arrived at Athens for my educational field trip, I can’t say I was impressed. I saw dark alleys, cracked sidewalks, and graffiti. Everything I thought Greece wasn’t.
But the next morning I was excited for what was to come. After seeing major ancient buildings like the Acropolis and the Parthenon, it was hard to believe that I was so far from home, but so happy. The chance to see pillar styles and locations within the bible allowed me to really appreciate the extensive opportunity I had been given.
However, as you all know, Greece hasn’t been doing so well lately. According to CNN, Greece’s National debt, put at €300 billion ($413.6 billion), is bigger than the country’s economy. So that along with an unemployment rate of 24.5% (according to Eurostat) does not mean the Greeks are living without a care.
And walking through the streets of Athens, this was apparent. There were stray dogs everywhere, because their owners could no longer afford to take care of them. There were markdowns along all of the windows of the stores. Even walking around the city to find somewhere to eat was like walking through the commission booths at the mall. In the streets people were trying to sell anything they could: roses, balls, toys- anything that could help them get some extra money.
Movies are all about portraying fantasy. The best looking people, the most amazing landscapes, and surreal experiences. Going on this trip it was naive of me to expect a fantasy instead of reality. But I’m glad I came, because I learned a lot about history and life:)
Streets of Athens:
I went to other places in Greece too: