It’s the end of my first week in Thessaloniki, and everything is falling into place, kind of.

Monday and the early morning of Tuesday was spent in transport: on a lengthy trans-Atlantic flight spent finishing about an equal number of leftover freelance articles and complimentary glasses of whiskey, in a Frankfurt airport filled with bizarrely identical, astoundingly rowdy German schoolboys, and on a much briefer flight into Thessaloniki, on which I bonded with my classmate Cody over our shared desire to find a Greek theatre screening “Alien: Covenant.”

It was more difficult than I expected to say goodbye to my sister and mother at home, and my dad at the airport; I wish at times they were here with me to take in the boardwalk and wonder at some of the lurid, gorgeous graffiti coating street walls. But I’ve fallen in love with the group dynamics I’ve observed so far on this trip; everyone here exhibits a sincere love of discovery and thirst for adventure, both traits I’m more sure with every passing day that I mirror naturally.

Sydne Mass and Bridget Peery, among many others, see the world through their lenses, and their ability to capture it there is nothing short of astounding. Olivia Arnold and Alexa LaVersa have already proposed stories I’m going to be pestering them to read early, so interesting are their subjects. Danny Mortimer is Danny Mortimer. I’ve included a picture. More TK. It’s a shame about Luke.

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Our first day, involving a fair smattering of jet lag and an insightful guided tour of Thessaloniki’s streets, concluding in The Rotunda of Galerius, was tiring but exciting. The accommodations, in dorms provided by the American College of Thessaloniki, are nestled in the midst of what is obviously a bustling, colorful city, one I cannot wait to explore both by night and day.

All roads seemingly lead toward the seaport, which I had the chance to take in with a view from a booze cruise myself and 11 other students (and essentially no one else) took on Thursday night. (Many Long Island iced teas and glasses of sangria were consumed. Luke idiotically got two shots and then a tequila sunrise, because of course he did. I took this picture of him.)

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Throughout the week, I’ve been settling into the dorms but trying to spend the majority of my time walking around. I’ll detail the locations seen on our walking tour in a separate post, but I’m looking forward to spending more time out in the city. In the classroom and outside of it, I’ve been learning some elementary Greek, from kalispera (“good afternoon”) to fiáhnete kafé (“do you make coffee?”), both of which have come in exceptionally handy.

All in all, it’s been an incredible first week. I got to write the first story out of anyone on the entire trip – covering a speech given by U.S. Consul General of Thessaloniki Rebecca A. Fong – and hammered it out at 2 a.m. with whiskey in hand and a notepad by my side, just like how Hollywood has convinced me it should be. This is made all more impressive by the fact that I was so jetlagged during the talk itself that my notes included a lot of bizarre, lyrical paraphrasing, such as the phrase, “Carried a leg around, carried a leg around, kept a human leg.” Photo proof below:

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More updates to come!

 

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