Here, you gotta try this!

Seated outside Agiola, Bridget dropped a single ice cube in my glass and poured the slightly cloudy liquid over it. This slightly cloudy liquid being an anise-flavored liquor called Ouzo (ούζο in Greek). Let me put it this way, my mother makes homemade limoncello with everclear that tastes infinitely better. 

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Ouzo, a Greek anise-flavored aperitif

I only had a few sips, cause you know, when in Ro–Greece, right? But in a way, trying something completely new felt like the perfect way to cap off an absurdly long day of travel.

When I rolled into town, plenty of the team members came out to greet me and Carlene showed me the nearby supermarket where I spent far too long trying to determine whether the carton I was buying was milk or heavy cream. (I still don’t know, because I realized that even though I bought instant coffee, I don’t have a cup to make it in. Thwarted again, beverage gods!) But I got to spend the remainder of the afternoon hearing about everyone’s stories, setting up my burner phone, and unpacking. Sydne even gave me a crash course in the Greek lessons our instructors at the American College of Thessaloniki had given the team a day prior. Essentially, after reciting a few words with what I believe to be decent pronunciation, I can say “hey!” and “mocha”. The latter is slightly less exciting as it is simply “moca”, which I learned after dragging my dining companions into a delightful gelateria along the boardwalk.

I’m kicking myself now for not getting more photos–of the sun on the ocean, of Cody’s grilled octopus, of the brightly lit dessert parlor, or the street performers around us. I did snag one, a view from our common room’s balcony, which reminded me so much of the back alleyways of Tokyo. (See above)

Later on, in an over-packed cab speeding narrowly around motorbikes and aggressive jay-walkers, I realized it all still felt very much like a dream. I’m here to get out of my comfort zone, to polish these skills I’ve spent the past four years building. But I’m also here to put my nose to the grindstone and start turning out content. So after tomorrow’s guided activities, it’s time to get to work.

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