So today was my 4th day here in Greece and things are going well. I’ve been very busy which is a good thing. Sunday I went to church with Brett and his family. He has two little girls and the oldest, Sophia, decided I was her new best friend for the day. They had headphones that translate whatever the preacher is saying into English which was the only reason I was able to stay awake. Jet lag hit right in the middle of the sermon and it was all I could do to keep my eyes open. Two of the other team members go to that church as well. After church I had lunch at Brett’s along with his family and one of the girls on the team, Christy. They told me more about the ministry, went over my schedule and budget for the week and asked me a lot questions about myself. Brett lives within walking distance of Susie’s so Christy, Brett and I walked back and on the way stopped at the metro to get my week pass. Susie’s boyfriend Yousef, who is from Morocco, made us dinner. It was delicious and American- Hamburgers 🙂 The rest of the night we hung out and watched Elf.
Monday the ARC (Athens Refugee Center) is closed to give the team members the day off. Some still meet with refugees but outside of the center. I decided I wanted to go to the Acropolis (duh, I’m in Athens!). I planned it out on a map and was all ready to go by myself, but one of the interns, Tiffany, decided to go with me since she had never been there. I think that made Susie feel better since I don’t speak Greek and have no phone. I was just happy to have someone else to hangout with and take pictures with. It’s really not that hard of a place to get to. It was a gorgeous day out and we wandered our way to the top. You have to pay to actually go in but it was worth the 12 Euros to see remnants of the birthplace of the western world.
After we saw all their was to see we went to Monastiraki, which is a square with a lot of shops, restuarants and tourist stands. I had my first authentic Greek meal, which consisted of a chicken kebob, fries, pita bread, roasted tomatoes and some sort of sauce. Needless to say, it was delicious! And what’s a meal in Greece without gelato? Next stop was a nearby gelato stand where I got Banoffi. Tiffany and I then walked through the shops and parted ways. I was meeting Susie at 4:30 outside of Parliament so I had about an hour to kill. I found a church in the middle of their shopping district that was from the 11th century. It is illegal to tear down churches in Athens (maybe all of Greece?) so they just build up around or on top of them. They are all over the city and its pretty awesome.
When I got to Parliament I thought a protest was about to start but I found out later I had just missed it. Too bad. That would have been pretty cool to see. Tomorrow a holiday here where all the students get together and protest in honor of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising, an event in which students stood up against the military junta. With that comes anti-American protests since it was rumored we supported the Greek military. In reality, there isn’t much truth about that and but it provides a good excuse to protest America. Either way it usually ends at the American Embassy which is near Susie’s house. After meeting Susie, we took a bus to Ken and Lisa’s house. They have been on the team for 3 years. Two former team members also came to dinner so it was a good way to hear more about the team and what they do.
Today (Tuesday) was my 2nd day at the ARC. We took the metro at 9:30 to get there at 10:00. Its not a long ride and its about 10 minute walk. I’ve been getting my exercise here which is nice since there are stairs and walking everywhere. Today was the Farsi outreach day where they have about 120-150 people come that are all Farsi speaking and serve them a meal. You have to have a ticket to get in. After the meal they are welcome to stay for a short program of singing and teaching. There is also a program for the kids while their parents are at the adult program. The meal was chicken, fries, cabbage salad with olives (gross), an apple and tea. Apparently its usually spaghetti but they decided to try something different. It was a big hit and they had to say no seconds because people were putting food in pockets for people who don’t have a ticket. I was mainly in the baby room helping with the toddler kids. After the program people can stay for tea, talk, play board games or just relax. At three we closed and began clean up. The women have a beginners/seeker Bible study afterwards so we set up for that. There is a lady who speaks Farsi that comes in to translate and the ladies can ask questions. There is a Bible school for the children as well. It was fun but I only understood about half of it. By the time we cleaned up and left the ARC it was 5:30. The metro ride is pretty nice and there was five of us so that made it pleasant.
Tomorrow I have the morning free since it’s their team meeting time and then there is a huge shoe give away at the ARC. A Greek company donated 400 pairs of boot shoes for the kids that we will fit them for. I am very excited about that because its going to be fun. We only have an hour or so because Brett wants everyone out of the ARC by 4 because of the pending protests that start around 5, which sometimes turn violent. Should be an exciting day. Here a few pictures from my free day. Because most of the people they serve at the ARC have fled their countries I have not been taking a lot of pictures there. I will try and get some of the kids tomorrow, but I just have to be careful who I photograph.