I got to Thessaloniki on January 27, 2009, two days before my 20th birthday. I was a glorious mixture of terrified and excited. I had never been someplace with absolutely no one I knew, anytime I’d been out of the country before, I had friends or family with me. Not this time. I was the first student EVER to study in Thessaloniki, at least when it came to the University of Northern Iowa. Now, two and a half years later, two amazing men will be continuing my legacy in Thessaloniki this fall, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them. I will finally have a family at UNI that will understand what it is to be Greek, and no, not the sorority or fraternity binge drinking kind (no offense to sororities and frats that actually do something worth while). For the first time, I get to hear someone else’s account of the amazing times had in Thess. My stories now serve a purpose to someone, rather than being droned out again and again by my family and friends who’ve all heard my stories countless times (some of which will be told on this blog as well).
The fact that CJ and Trevor (my fellow future Greeks), appreciate these stories, and want to learn more every time we get together, is pretty much everything to me. I LOVE IT. It’s like I’m preparing them for what will forever change their lives, and I’m lucky enough to see the before and after. I’m grateful for this opportunity. I’ve taught them the important Greek cuss words like, na and malaka (yes, I’m an excellent mentor)…as well as what foods to try and where to travel and go out. I feel like a proud mama, getting my boys ready for the greatest journey of their lives, and if they are anything like me (and they are a little TOO much) they will never ever be the same.