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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

[travel blog insert]

I had originally published this entry on a travel blog I tried to start. I have moved it to my main blog. :)
After spending 3 days in Chania, I've started to notice a few things.
It's pretty impossible for me to sleep passed 6am! Daniel and I leave the window open because the breeze feels wonderful.  There is some sort of sparrow that you can find almost anywhere in the harbor.  They fly around like mad in the morning, chirping like crazy.  Don't get me wrong...it wakes me up...but I like it.
I mentioned before that the streets of Chania aren't busy until around 8am, so waking up before 7 or 7:30 is kinda pointless :)
The street vendors aren't pushy at all - now the restaurant owners...that's another story! Every sentence begins with "Hello Friend!" and some encouraging words in order to get you to eat at their restaurant.  This, of course, happens mostly in the tourist spots [i.e. by the water].
I've been trying to use the few Greek words I know whenever I can.  One of two things tend to happen.  Either the person thinks I speak fluent Greek [hmmm my "thank you" must sound impressive!] and continues to speak in Greek - to which I promptly reply "I'm sorry?" and then they understand....tourist. Or! The Greek person is impressed that Daniel and I are trying to speak a little bit and help me use the words correctly [yesterday I was taught how to request change for money correctly...haha].
I have been looking for a hair straightener.  I finally found one in a super market, right next to the irons [haha].  The super market I went to is in the city center, where things aren't so old like the port/harbor.  Most people in the center live here, so I was all sorts of confused when two women spoke to me in nothing but Greek. Oy! As soon as I said "I'm sorry?" their faces kinda fell.  I'm sorry?? haha :)
People are love sitting outside!  It seems like there are chairs everywhere.  And sometimes little tables.  In fact, yesterday I saw a mini table with two mini chairs around it in a souvenir shop!
The hotel manager where we stay is incredibly nice!  And when Daniel and I say "ya sas" or "calee mera" he is quite impressed.  I'm glad we ended up staying here - after the silly drama I caused!
My friend told me that I should lose some weight before visiting Greece because bread is served with every meal - and YES that is true! Bread and wonderful olive oil.  Also, if you think they've forgotten your utensils, check the bread basket!  It's all hidden inside. haha  Greek coffee is pretty good, but I enjoy a large cup, so after a couple Greek coffees, I've been ordering "filtered coffee" - it's either like American drip or in a French Press - and is usually quite tasty :)
Raki [pronounced rocky i believe] is a very popular alcohol here made of grapes.  You take it like a shot.  "Ya mas!" means cheers.  I had a couple shots of raki over a couple days [a lot of restaurants give it to you for free after your meal - sometimes a small bottle of it!] and umm....I normally refuse it. haha Daniel enjoys it, but I'm not much of a shooter!
Cats are EVERYWHERE.  I didn't quite understand why there was a cat on the cover of my Greek book/dictionary....and now I do.  Cats are wild here - and it seems as thought they are treated like birds...they roam free and nobody really bothers them!  They are also quite skittish and untrusting of humans.  For the most part they are pretty...but the dumpster cats....are kinda scary looking!
Lastly, since I will soon prepare for this...we eat breakfast at the Hotel Porto del Colombo.  The lady who serves us breakfast is so nice!  We are given plenty that keeps us quite happy and full until passed 2pm.  There is bread of course, coffee or tea, orange juice, 2 different cheeses, ham [not for me!], cookies, and Greek yogurt with honey.  SO GOOD.  Sometimes water is given to you, but usually you have to order it.  Most water is served from a bottle.
Okay, on to photographs from the evening of Day 2 and all of Day 3!
raki
honey with your yogurt?
beautiful restaurants made fron ancient buildings!
a traditional greek salad. notice anything missing? :)

Yesterday I started freaking out.  I realized that there are so many things we should do, but not enough time to do it all.  So D and I decided...let's just relax.  We are here for the Creativity Workshop...let's just take in what we're learning, do the assignments, and take it slow.  After that decision my mind stopped racing and I could relax.  Woo!
As I just mentioned, Daniel and I are taking a Creativity Workshop.  Shelley and Alejandro are our instructors.  Shelley is a writer, and Alejandro is a multimedia artist.  They are incredibly sweet and incredibly smart!
I'd like to also share some things that have made on impression on me.
I mentioned interviews in the last entry.  They have been so incredibly fun! Everyone seems to get into character when they are describing the other person [they have to ACT like they are them].  It's been extremely interesting and a lot of fun.
Another great activity I've enjoyed is the 10 tiny object assignment.  Participants needed to bring 10 small objects that fit in your hand.  They are to pass these objects to the person to their right, and then write a play or story with the objects.  Everyone is so creative!  Most everyone uses the objects to represent something else - or makes up quirkly little names for them.  For example, a friend of ours included Finger Land as the home of four rings.  Someone else included lentil soup in their story because they had to incorporate a piece of lint.  And the way people shared their stories was very fun to listen to. :)
We have also been practicing "automatic writing."  I've never actually done automatic writing and became quite frustrated with it!  The second day, though, we had to partner up and share...and I learned a LOT.  My partner was extremely helpful and explained the process so well...that when we had to do it again I felt a lot better about my writing [which I perceive as my weakness].
Every day I am incredibly impressed by the sincerity of our instructors.  Shelley complimented me on my speaking skills the second day of class [after I shared my "interview"].  I felt silly and laughed it off because I was so nervous having to speak to a crowd of peers!  She grabbed my arm and said "No, Roxy, look at me."  She told me I was captivating up there.  I couldn't believe it.  But the way she told me and looked straight at me - I seriously almost cried.  I have a deep respect for all these people with whom I have interacted in the workshop...they are all lovely and honest and it's quite a pleasure to work with them every day.
story/play sharing
during class there was a government worker protest.  we could hear it more than we could see it.

Daniel and I are off to breakfast and then class. :)
ya sas!

Monday, June 28, 2010

CHANIA, GREECE :D

on a 2 hour boat tour of the old harbor in chania.
snorkeling and extinct goats?
read on :D

p.s. waking up in a foreign country to find out you won THIS is totally amazing :)

2 days in chania :D [travel blog insert]

I had originally published this entry on a travel blog I tried to start. I have moved it to my main blog. :)

the view from out hotel window :)
okay, so the first full day we were in chania, daniel and i woke up around 6:30am. we unpacked and walked around the city. first thing you notice is that NOBODY is up before 8am. it's crazy! so it was almost just us walking around town for about an hour.
we had a small breakfast of fruit and juice and then we stopped in a cafe for some greek coffee. oy! it's strong and you're not supposed to drink it all. the bottom is tar.
then we walked around for a bit until we had to be back at the hotel for class.
i love greek dogs! so far all the "strays" i've seen are NOT strays! they are well fed and groomed AND have collars. it seems like dogs are treated like cats...they get roam the streets for a bit and then go inside. this little guy sat patiently by his home for about an hour or so.
so cute!
when we got back to the hotel, i discovered that i set my watch incorrectly and we were ALMOST late to class. AND i also discovered that daniel and i checked into the wrong hotel!
blargh. it was totally my fault. there were so many emails about where to be/go/ and what to bring and all that jazz, that i got my wires crossed.  i wasn't a total dorkwad, i mean the hotel we're at IS on the list of hotels where we possibly could have stayed. but anyways, a conversation and email later, all is well.
this is shelley, one of our teachers. she didn't know i was photographing her :)
class is pretty fun. we spend most of the time sitting/laying on the floor writing and drawing. our teachers, shelly and alejandro, explained that we are doing a lot of childish activities in order to trick our imaginations.  we're trying to awaken a part of our brain that we haven't used since we were children.
it's actually really cool.  everyone is doing the same thing so nobody feels silly.
on the first day we did a lot of drawing exercises. here's daniel's process :)
in the photo above we are doing our "interviews." this is something that would be fun to do in a classroom! we had to meet with a partner sometime before the 2nd class to do an interview. the following day we had to "be" them as we told the class about the person.
does that make sense?
me and my "show and tell."
we did our interviews right after the 1st class at a pretty good [even if the owner was pushy..] restaurant in the old harbor!
the old port/old harbor
daniel's partner [the lady next to him] was HILARIOUS. she even imitated his voice perfectly! this photograph was taken after lunch.
here's a clip of nurmeen [not sure how to spell it!] doing an amazing impression of daniel :)

those of you that know daniel, i think you'll enjoy it! you need to turn up the volume and forgive my crazy camera shakes as i laugh and get distracted :)

daniel and i woke up BEFORE 6am this morning to try and make it to the beach before class.
SO COLD.
after class [day 2], daniel and i met up with a couple new friends for a 2 hour boat/snorkel tour!
from the boat we could see our hotel room! [the open window right above the green umbrella to the right.]
it was amazing. i had never been snorkeling before and probably annoyed the crap out of daniel trying to stay afloat/getting all the water out of my goggles.
apparently there's this species of goat that is almost extinct...so a bunch of greeks decided to put 100 kri kri goats on an island. it's illegal to be within 100 m of their little island. our captain drove the boat around the perimeter so we could see the kri kri! :D
see the little kri kri to the far left?? they're hard to spot!
okay, that was most of the adventures from days 1 &2.
i am currently sitting in an internet cafe with my laptop after an awesome dinner.

i leave you with a photo of kri kri memorabilia :)
good night :D

Saturday, June 26, 2010

travel times

oh HEY. i flew on 3 planes today.
wanna read about it??
:D

3 flights later...[travel blog insert]

I had originally published this entry on a travel blog I tried to start. I have moved it to my main blog. :)

hello! i am sitting in the athens airport, waiting for our flight to chania.
so far daniel and i have been on a 9 hour flight from houston to frankfurt, and a 2 hour flight from frankfurt to athens [i'm rounding down by the way].
Grabbing a light dinner at Pappadeaux before the frankfurt flight.
the flight from houston to frankfurt was cramped! and if i thought so, you know daniel was hurting! but he's the strong silent type and i'm...not. :)
cramped continental! ["lufthansa operated by continental" apparently means CONTINENTAL.
the contents of this meal made the 9.5 hour flight more tolerable.
yay "vegetarian dinner!" yay indian food!
don't EVEN act surprised. :)
daniel's reading material.
i forgot that in frankfurt you get off the plane and then ride a bus to the terminal. you can't tell, but that lady is coming down those tiny steps in platforms with TWO bags. that's some talent.
after we were all bussed to the airport, we walked. a lot. to the athens terminal.
on the way we saw an american making americans look foolish. he was extremely rude to the lufthansa personal. i muttered to daniel in a super awful french accent, "estoopeed amereekans."
oh lufthansa, you never fail to capture my heart.
daniel is WAY up there where the very front of this photograph is.
we were finally able to get some decent shut eye on this 2 hour trip.  between eating awesome lufthansa food and drinking [not so awesome but hey it's an airline] coffee.
arriving in athens.
more athens :D
i've actually been through the third flight by now! on aegean airline.
i started this entry at the athens airport but ran out of internet time!
we are officially in chania, checked into our hotel and everything.
we're going to go walk now...check things out...then hit the sack.
i am POOPED and i've got class in the morning!
good night europeans and good afternoon my friends! :D