As I write this I’m flying over the Pacific Ocean on my way to Hawaii. I got home yesterday at 10 a.m. following a one-hour flight from Boston to Washington D.C. and a five-hour flight from there to Vegas. The day before that I flew from Athens to Munich and and Munich to Boston. I’ve spent so much time on airplanes the past few days I think I might permanently lose all feeling in my butt because of the uncomfortable seats. Also my face is breaking out.
I’ve been so busy the past few days I haven’t really gotten the chance to stop for a little while and think about all that has happened, but this flight to Hawaii has provided some time to do so. When I got home my parents asked me to give them the rundown on how the trip had gone and what the highlights were, and so much had happened in such a short period of time it was kind of difficult to think about any one specific moment.
The highlights of the trip I was able to pull out were the hike at Mount Athens, the day at Aegina, Meteora, and all of our nights out in Athens. I loved exploring these places. Each one was special for a different reason. In Aegina I was able to relax and recharge so that I could keep going in Athens. Mount Athens and Meteora gave me a chance to get out of Thessaloniki and see breathtaking scenery. In the end though, I think the main reason I enjoyed these places was because of the people I was with.
By the end of the past five weeks, I had several new friends who I feel very close to and who I feel I will be friends with for a very long time. Of all of the surprising things that happened on the Dialogue, I think I am most surprised by just how much I enjoyed hanging out with everyone in the group. I loved Isaac’s pop culture references and the way Olivia said “oh, ok!” I loved working on videos with Hsiang-Yu. We had fun even when we should’ve just been stressed. I really could go through every person on the trip and say something nice about them (but I’m about to land in Hawaii and I don’t have time for that).
That being said, the trip wasn’t without its challenges. I found it hard to focus on school work because I was so overstimulated by the sights and sounds. I’m an introvert in that I need time alone to recharge, so sometimes it was exhausting because I was never truly able to be alone. I felt homesick a few times, probably because I only get to see my family for a couple weeks this summer. Several of my article ideas fell flat throughout the first few weeks for a variety of reasons.
When I think about all of these challenges though, its more important to dwell on how I reacted. I would say I reacted really well to all of them and made life easier by doing so. I don’t know how much this trip helped me mature, considering I’d been put in very similar situations my first semester. However, by reflecting on how I reacted to challenges this time and comparing it to last time, it becomes apparent that I’ve grown a lot as a person. I am much less likely to be overwhelmed by various aspects of life and I am much more confident socially and academically. There were multiple points throughout the trip when I though to myself, “wow, I should really be more stressed right now than I am.”
I am so glad that I had this unforgettable experience. I have grown as a journalist and have gained memories and friendships that will last a very long time.
And now, time to lay on a beach and drink a Bloody Mary. See ya.
(I’m going to blog from Hawaii too so stay tuned, or don’t. I don’t care either way.)