Does anyone remember Kimba, the White Lion? It was one of the first Japanese cartoons to make it to the U.S. The way this Ephesus cat is standing reminds me of Kimba—sans the colored fur, of course
And so it ends.
I am now back in the United States. Summer is almost here, and I am settling into my “typical” life. The apartment is a mess and needs to be cleaned. After I left, my car’s “check engine” light (which my brother so aptly calls “the idiot light” since it tells you nothing about what’s wrong) came on, so the person I left it with opted not to take chances and did not drive it. Now this needs fixed. I’ve started volunteering at the library again, and I’ve already visited the Silver Tips Tea Room and Whimsies.
Display, the Museum of Folk Art, Athens
Processed food, Greek-style. Pre-made spanakopita that I bought when I first arrived in Greece
What did I learn from my experience in Greece? “Not much” is my initial response, but I wonder. I did live in another country for nearly three months, faring well against language and cultural barriers. I visited different places that I had always wanted to see. Was it really “Not much?”
The Tripartite Shrine, Palace of Phaistos, Crete
I finally met my Cretan relatives, discovering that my second cousin was afraid to tell me that he was a Greek Orthodox priest, that this might upset me for some reason. He was surprised to find that I had an uncle who was a priest. I may not be religious, but that does not mean that I am not spiritual or respectful of others’ beliefs. (Actually, I visited a few Orthodox churches while in Greece and actually crossed myself and kissed the icons.) I would like to visit my relatives again sometime in the future.
This cat is being fed outside the Acropolis Museum. Look at those incisors! (I kept trying to find a reason to post this pic.)
Perhaps most importantly, I found that I like studying archaeological ruins. Therefore, I am seriously considering going for a third Masters degree, this one in Liberal Studies with the track in classical and medieval archaeology. It will be “free” to attend at the university where I currently work. I will, however, have to pay taxes on this “scholarship” as it is considered part of my salary. (America really values education.)
A curly-haired, bearded man resembling Marcus Aurelius, from Gortyn, and in the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion, Crete
As for blogging, it is far too much work. For someone who has kept a diary for decades, I find that I either duplicated the information, or the blog served as a complement to the diary. I simply cannot sit down and bang out something without thinking about it first. I always believed that no matter what one writes, the writing needs to be crafted through revision. This takes time, time I’d rather spending doing other things.
Artemis preparing to kill one of Niobe’s children. In mythology, Niobe bragged that she had twelve (some traditions say fourteen) children while the goddess Leto, mother of Apollo and Artemis, had only two. This sacrilege was punished by Apollo and Artemis, who killed all of Niobe’s children. In the Archaeological Museum, Herakleion, Crete
However, I do understand the euphoria some people must feel in blogging. It’s being published—literally. (Academic libraries in the U.S. consider anything on the Internet as published.) Several weeks ago while still in Athens, I did a Google search to see if I could find the sculptor responsible for the statue of Constantine XI near the Phaleron beach. The first entry was my blog entry on traveling to Phaleron and seeing the statue. This surprised me, as I did not put any keywords into most of the entries because the blog was specifically written for friends to keep up with what I was doing; I have no interest in being “famous.”
An embankment collapse onto an empty street, Pompeii, Italy
I should have known better. The “spiders” that “crawl” through the Internet index all important words in all web sites. Keyword searching is the substitute for metadata, that information catalogers create for items held in their libraries—or what is online that the libraries provide access to, usually for a hefty fee. Metadata allows databases to precisely search titles, authors, notes, subject headings, etc. whereas on the Internet everything is keyword. This is why you need to do several searches for anything complex in Google: terms are jumbled together in one search box, so the searcher has to go through screen after screen or, like me, gets bored and does the search again—with more crappy results.
Modern Greek graffiti, Athens. One could easily argue that this is art
My research in Greece has given me information that might lead to my writing a few articles. What actually interests me about blogs is using them in research: restricting access to pages where I’m working on something, and then making the pages available when I’m finished. Something for me to think about.
A Byzantine dish depicting the half-Byzantine, half-Arab hero, Digenis Akritas. Stoa of Attalos Museum, Athens
From a personal perspective, I have spent much of my life alone; therefore, I did not get homesick. I did miss my friends from time to time, but they are living their own lives and I do not spend that much time with a lot of them. I had no one to go out with on occasion, but this was not that different than being at home. I functioned in Greece as I do in America: going out and doing most things alone. As always, I rely on my own resources.
Would I do it again, living in another country? Absolutely.
Close-up, the windows of Hagia Irene, Istanbul, Turkey