We began our day early enough, gathering in the dorm’s lobby at 4 AM. Suitcases in tow, we bid our farewells to our resident assistant, Lita, returning our keys as we walked out the doors one final time. We didn’t get far, though. A misunderstood timing on the part of our bus driver left us standing alongside the road by the dorm building. Never a dull moment, another student getting out of a cab recognized us as Americans, referring to us as “Americi’s” as he tried to hail one cab for all fifteen of us.
Our driver eventually arrived looking rather frazzled himself. Foregoing our earlier tetris-method of delicately arranging our bags, we tossed them into the trunk and piled on the bus for our dash to make our check-in time. We made it with barely a moment to spare, getting through security with just enough time for a pit stop and a quick breather before boarding.
The flight to Zurich was lovely as we enjoyed Swiss hospitality and chocolate, although we took turns napping during the early morning hours. One of the perks of flying so early: seeing the sun begin to color the horizon marked by Alpine mountain peaks.
Once on the ground, we had a brief layover before making our connection, during which time many of us stretched our legs and searched for more of the famed chocolate.
Switching from Swiss Air to United Airways, we began our transition back to the US as we were greeted by American accents and the constant pursuit of efficiency. Several hours later found us in the Dulles airport, many of us still dreaming of Greece as we queued up for a tram ride, customs check, and passport verification. A few of us noted the culture shock in returning home where signs are not in Greek and where we feel compelled to have lines, order, and efficiency for everything.
Those of us returning to Roanoke together spoke excitedly in the bus, comparing our experiences in Greece to our arrival back in the United States. As we quieted down, exhausted from our travels, Phillip Phillips’ song “Home” came on the radio. And as we disperse to our families, friends, and school, we can’t help but wonder a little if we’re just now getting home or whether we’ve just left it behind.
–Catherine & Madchen
As a group, we would like to give a huge thank you to Professors Richter and Salowey as well as to all of the friends and family who have been encouraging us from the beginning and following along. Each of us had an incredible experience that we will keep with us for the rest of our lives; we are so grateful for the priceless knowledge and wonderful memories we created together. We thank you — Ευχαριστούμε!