March 07, 2013

project thessalonica: a day in greece

For those of you who don't know, I'm in Thessaloniki, Greece on a missions trip with Tim and Karen, Dan and Brandi Jones, and Rachel. We'll be here for two weeks helping out missionary Brent Logan and his family with... whatever they need help doing! I'm supposed to be posting these updates on the official website, Project Thessalonica, but sometimes there's a delay between my posting and the website's administrator getting the posts up. Aaaand... I know we have peeps at home waiting to hear from us so I'm posting here as well. No delays. These posts are a journal. You'll be getting as much detail as I can remember. Also, we have a friend back home, Bro. Lowell, who really, really wanted to be able to come on this trip, and has been praying for this project ever since it started. But he's really sick with cancer and wasn't able to make it. So these posts are mostly for you, Bro. Lowell! I hope you enjoy reading all about Greece! Update: project thessalonica: the day lowell went home. 

Greece is so different from America. I mean, that's kind of a no brainer, but I guess I didn't realize just how different it would be. I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and that was pretty much what I had to go on as far what Greece would be like. That movie actually did a fairly bang up job of portraying Greeks. They eat a lot, and they're loud and affectionate.  They are not friendly to Americans though. That's one thing the movie got wrong.

Anyway, yesterday after we went letterboxing, we went to the mall. Yay. Not. I really, really hate shopping. So some of us went home, and the others went to the mall. And then we were locked out of the house, and had to go back to the mall to get the house key from the others. At which point, I was starving and decided to stay at the mall and utilize the food court (Greek food court is pretty awesome. Not like American food court at all.). So Benjamin came running out of the mall with the house key, and when I asked, told me that Angelo was in the food court, and then he left. And I went to find Angelo.
But Angelo wasn't in the food court. I guess he ate really fast and ran out of there. So I searched for him. And then I walked around the mall and searched for the rest of the group. AND NO ONE WAS THERE.
And then suddenly, I realized... no one knew I was there. They all thought I had gone home and stayed there. And I didn't have a cell phone to call anyone. And I didn't speak Greek. And everyone else was probably going to meet up at the food court at some point, and walk away laughing with their shopping bags on their arms, and they would cram themselves into Angelo's little Ferrari that's not really a Ferrari because it's a Toyota, and they would all go home, and when it came time to leave for church, someone would say, Where's Sunny Jane? And I wouldn't be there because I would be at the mall, crying. By myself. 
So then I sat there pathetically croaking one of my three Greek words, Parakalo? (Please?) Parakalo? And just as I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I would be living at the Greek mall for the rest of my life, and would probably have to celebrate Christmas there from now on and maybe even my birthday, I saw a bald head and some Wranglers off in the distance. It was Dan and Brandi, and I was never so happy to see anyone in my life. So anyway, the moral to this story is: Malls are dumb.

Meanwhile, back at the mall, Sunny Jane was sad, alone, and crying. And saying, Parakalo?

The driving here. Oh my word. I know I keep mentioning it, but it really is crazy. In America, there are laws. In Greece, there's just hanging on with your eyes closed. And especially if Angelo's driving. To all my friends at home who think I'm a crazy driver just because I ran over that lady at Costco that one time and the other time I ran into the tree... Angelo is much worse. It's true!
Some things you will hear Angelo say while driving: I'm so confused. Which way are we going? So... what am I doing? I hope I'm driving on the right side of the road. In Australia, we drive on the other side. I'm so confused. Why are they honking? GIVE ME A SECOND TO GET GOING. Is this a one way street?
And then he holds the map upside down until Tim takes it from him.
And then he randomly honks the horn a lot because when in Greece, you honk the horn whether it needs it or not. And then we kiss the ground when we finally stumble out of the car. And we're like, LAND!!!
But we all love Angelo anyway, and would like to take him home with us.

Angelo looking confused in the rear-view mirror.

Anyway, now that you know all about how I almost grew old at the mall, and almost experienced Death By Angelo's Driving Skills, here are some random pictures from the last few days:

 Rachel and Brandi found a little coffee shop around the corner from our house.
I haven't been there yet, but it's on my bucket list.

 Eating. We do it.

A lot.

Trying to make a decision at the sweet shop is like, basically impossible.

I love this church window. Love it.

Graffiti is everywhere. On fences, buildings, historic landmarks, and even on the cars. 
I hope that picture doesn't have any Greek swear words. 

Protesters. I have no idea what they're protesting. 
Probably the lack of a Greek driving manual, and parking laws.

Cops escorting the protesters. They totally think they're such studs.

 Kayode painted this picture thingy and gave the Gospel along with it. Pretty cool!
He gave it to Brandi to take home.

Kayode had some fans. They stood there for quite awhile listening to him.

Smiling Greeks! We haven't seen many of those. They smile at each other, but not at us.

Karen made friends. These guys were nice and didn't mind talking to her.

And then there was this guy. We saw him walk up to Karen and start whispering in her ear, and we thought it was really cute, and starting snapping pictures from across the street, and talking about Karen's "boyfriend", and we were having a grand time watching the two of them. The Angelo ran up and ran the guy off, and we were like, What? And he was like, That guy was talking dirty. And Karen was like, I had this really sick feeling in my stomach the whole time he was talking to me. And then we were like, Sorry we just stood here taking pictures of you...

Pigeons. They're everywhere in the town center square.
And they'll poop on your head if you're not careful. Rachel and I narrowly missed being pooped on today. It splattered right next to us.

Brandi out letterboxing. Don't you love the view behind her?

More letterboxing.

Tim and Dan pretending to be Greeks hollering at each other. Greeks holler even when they're happy. Tim fits right in here.


The loveliest gate.

All us after letterboxing.

And all us after street preaching, coffee, and some shopping.

All Us