Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Saturday morning I woke up early and started my trek to the bus station. One thing I will not miss is how long you have to plan to get somewhere. After my hour trek to the bus station I met up with Sam and her sister, cousin and friend. We caught a bus to Meteora which takes like 5 hours. Meteora is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. There are six monasteries build on sandstone rock pillars. They were build around the 14th century.  It was pretty cool to go and see them build on top of these huge rocks. It makes you wonder how on earth when these were built they got the materials up there. I had a fantastic weekend with Sam and her family. Sam told them I don’t swear at all and that I was sick of my roommates swearing all the time so she invited me to come along with them and guess what the whole weekend her family didn’t swear. It rained most of the time we were there but we didn’t let that stop us from seeing everything we wanted to.  

On Sunday the sister missionaries called me and asked me why I wasn’t sitting in sacrament meeting with them because they finally came to the Halandri branch. Sam was like who on earth is awake on Sunday morning that would call you? Then she thought it was pretty cool that people noticed when I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.

A few more pictures here

Monday was the best day ever! I really hate my first class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and have to battle with myself to wake up and go to class. Well Monday was no different but then things turned around, I went to buy a Snickers to make my day better and I stuck in my euro coin and pushed the buttons to make a Snickers come out then I waited for my change but it never came out so I looked at the machine and it said I still had 1 euro credit so I bought another Snickers! This day was looking up. I went to tennis class and won the tennis match which greatly helped my grade. My linear algebra teacher seems to always be amazed at how I never talk but always seem to have the right answer. I usually wait a few minutes to see if anyone else can get the right answer and once they start just yelling out random stuff I usually say the answer quietly or the guy that sits next to me looks at my paper and says the answer.

After class was over I hurried home to finish writing my paper that was due today. I tried to write it last week but my computer decided that it wanted to just randomly shut down so I couldn’t write it. I was trying to finish writing my paper before I had to leave for FHE. Going to FHE is an internal battle every week, as it takes me two buses a metro, a metro line change, and a walk to get there. This was no different; I had a paper due the next day and I would undoubtedly stay way longer than I should. FHE was amazing and the games we played were way fun and I managed to leave at a reasonable time to get home and finish my paper. Monday was awesome!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Temples and slightly homesick

On Saturday I slept like all day, which was perfect. I woke up with just enough  time to go to the store, do a load of laundry, and then head to the special Saturday night activity. There’s an activity every Saturday night for the YSA members but on Saturday they had a special activity about temples. They pretty much just told facts about different temples around the world and bore their testimonies about temples, they didn’t really tell about the ordinances in the temple or anything but they used a lot of the words like sealing rooms, celestial room, etc. I brought one of the other study abroad students with me. Most everyone went to Mykonos this weekend but we didn’t so I asked her (Sam) if she would like to come with me to learn about temples, ok no I didn’t, I asked if she wanted something to do Saturday night that included free pizza. No one turns down free pizza so she went with me. She was so surprised at how welcoming and happy everyone was. I walked in and everyone greeted me (all of the sister missionaries like to give me a big hug in greeting) and I introduced Sam to everyone and by time we sat down she was like “wow everyone’s so……friendly” In my mind I was thinking you are every missionaries dream, you aren’t a member and willingly came to a meeting about our temples.

About half way through the presentation on temples I realized that even though I grew up learning about them I really never paid much attention and had no clue how to explain some of the questions Sam had. I made mental notes of the ones I couldn’t figure out how to explain to a non member and asked the sister missionaries to explain them to her while we were eating pizza. One of the questions she asked was one I knew I had learned and had just packed the answer away somewhere and just needed to access it. She asked why oxen were held up the baptismal font in the temple.  I looked up the answer on my tablet and as soon as I read it I was like oh yea I’ve learned that before. I bet you’re all racking your brains trying to remember this small detail that seemed so big to my friend, they represent the 12 tribes of Israel and in 2 Chronicles 4 it describes the baptismal font and it says that it rests on the back of 12 oxen.

And then I could see the question forming in the sisters eyes before they ever asked it but they nicely engaged Sam in a conversation and casually threw in there hey you should come with Brittney to FHE on Monday and – Hey wait who said I was going to FHE, it takes a lot of planning and time on the metro to get to FHE and sometimes I’m just not in the mood for the 45 min public transportation/walk to get there. Now they had trapped me into their plan also. – maybe you would like to come early and talk with us. On the inside I was kinda laughing the whole time because I had made this offer to the study abroad group many times when they ask me questions that I can’t quite figure out how to explain without using words I would also have to explain. It’s a little harder to say no when two sisters and 2 elders have you trapped. She said that she would meet with them so we set up a time to meet at the church. I’ll keep ya posted on how that goes.

During our conversations about the different temples I exclaimed how weird it was to not go to the temple for a whole semester and how excited I am to go back to Utah where I live within driving distance of like 5 temples and the sister missionaries were like hey you should go to the temple in Germany and stay with our families. I didn’t have Germany on my list of things I wanted to do before leaving but I quickly changed my plans from partying in Barcelona to a temple visit in Germany. On Monday we are going to contact their families and see if they would be willing to have a visitor come at the last minute. If I go it’ll probably be June 1-3.

The one thing I have learned from this study abroad is that I did not pay nearly enough attention in primary and Sunday school. I have greatly taken advantage of the fact that I live in Happy Valley and that everyone just knows what you’re talking about.

I Skyped again to see the reception at the Anderson’s and if I wasn’t homesick before this did it. Seeing everyone from Mapleton was good but also made me wish I was there. I think the last 27 days in Greece are going to be the hardest. I have a feeling they are going to make the first 88 days look like a walk in the park, a park in America not one here, the parks here are weird.

Jordans Wedding via Skype

Jordan and Amber’s wedding day was very interesting as I went via Skype. Here is the running commentary on what happened:

Dad woke up before everyone else and we Skyped while he got stuff ready. Then Jordan texted him early to come and pick him up. Dad thought it would be funny to go and pick him up in shorts and a t-shirt. I don’t think Jordan thought this was funny.

 Dad left Skype going on the iPad while he went to get Jordan and left it on the counter. I could hear someone rummaging around in the kitchen so I asked hey whos there. And I could just picture a very confused Joey going “um it’s me” like where on earth is this voice coming from. I played with him for a min and was like “me who?” I could tell by the sounds and the hesitation in his voice that he was wondering where on earth this voice was coming from. I finally told him I was on the iPad on the counter and then we had a conversation that covered these things: Greece has siesta and everything closes from 3 to 5 every day, except Sunday because everything is already closed on Sunday, they don’t have captain crunch in Greece they pretty much don’t have any of the same cereals, they do have cheerios but not honey nut cheerios, Euros are different sizes depending on the amount they are worth, they don’t have 1 euro bills but they have 1 and 2 euro coins, nai means yes and the word for no is too long it sounds like ohee but its spelt oxi.

Jordan and my dad came back and Jordan seemed a little stressed then everyone was awake and it was just loud and lots of fast questions with everyone asking what time it is here. Well if you live in the Utah time zone just subtract 3 and then make it later in the day that’s what time it is in Greece.  Then everyone just disappeared. I think they all went to get dressed. I don’t know because the internet in Greece decided to stop working for like the 10th time today!

I was ok with it not working because there was a concert at the school put on by the Yale a cappella choir Redhot & Blue. It was AMAZING! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them before they are so good and so personable. My favorite was their arrangement of ABC, it was really cool.

After the concert I Tangoed my dads phone which Mike had but tango never seems to work so they couldn’t hear me I finally got them to give it to Lauren and she turned on Skype which was way better. They walked over to the mall and were looking for a toy store but couldn’t figure out the map so I googled the mall and told them where the Disney store was and how to get there. Mike thought it was pretty funny that somebody in Greece was telling him about the mall he was in in Utah. It didn’t seem that weird to me, when I skype with dad I google stuff for him all the time, usually to prove he’s right about something at work.  I tried to get Kate to talk to me but she’s Kate and we all know what that means.

I guess there was a bit of confusion when Jordan and Amber came out of the temple and I couldn’t get anyone to pick up Skype so I didn’t see them come out. Jordan Skyped me on their drive to Preston really quick and asked what I saw of the temple, which was nothing but that’s ok, and then told me it was raining and the photographer got into a car accident so he wasn’t coming so they had to improvise. The connection in the mountains wasn’t very good so we hung up but he sent me a picture of Amber so I could see how amazingly beautiful she was in her dress.

The church in Preston Idaho must have a super secret wifi password because none of the usual church passwords worked. I know you’re thinking how do you know the passwords the church uses? Well in this 21st century the singles wards in Cedar have discovered that we need to know the passwords to have successful FHE’s and if they tell us the password then we can have indexing parties at the church. I mean most of us have the internet on our phones so why try to stop  us from using the wifi. The 4G coverage was pretty horrible if existent at all so everyone that I met was just a blob of colors. I sure hope everyone I met in Ambers family doesn’t expect me to remember because I have no clue what they looked like other than the color of their shirt and hair.
This is the only wedding I've ever been to in my pajamas and at 4 in the morning and yes this is what everyone looked like to me so really the only way I knew who I was talking to was by voice recognition and height. So people I had never met before its still kinda like I never met you cause I still have no clue what you look like.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Soccer game at the Olympic Stadium

We went to a soccer game tonight. I'm really tired so here are the pictures

Click here for pictures

Aegina Island and Church

Yesterday we went on our last study abroad excursion to Aegina Island. We swam, tried to not step on sea urchins, got sunburned, and ate a ton of food. The trip to the island was a strange one. The study abroad coordinator couldn’t be there so he pretty much gave us the tickets for the ferry and sent us on our way. The RA came with to keep track of everyone but this was the weirdest trip we went on.

When we got back that night I was tired and started feeling the sunburn coming on and when we got to our room we had no power!! They fixed the power and I hung out with some of the other study abroad students in their apartment thinking that an hour almost two was plenty of time for my roommates and one boyfriend to shower. No apparently 2 hours is not enough time for 4 people to shower. I was really hoping they would be finished because I needed to do my laundry so I would have something to wear on Sunday and go grocery shopping. I ended up staying up way late to get ready for Sunday and on Sunday morning was not in the mood to go to church.

 I almost convinced myself not to go but I knew I needed to go so I got myself out of bed put on some clothes and headed out to catch the bus. I was running late and knew I would have to hurry to catch it and was praying that it would be late, but no it was early!! I could hear it stop and then take off when I was still around the corner from it. Dang it! Now I had walk to church with a backpack (I owed 3 kids some American candy and scriptures get heavy) and a sunburn. It’s like I forgot everything my parent taught me; put on sunscreen, get your laundry done Saturday morning, plan ahead…..

Not a good way to start off the day. I went to church with a bad attitude but as soon as I walked in the door everyone was so happy and asking everyone how their week was and offering to help with upcoming things that my mood quickly changed. I talked to the primary boys about their week and how their favorite soccer team is doing and even got told by sister Hicks to stop playing on Facebook,-even if it was in between classes- during church(some things are the same in every part of the world). After sacrament meeting sister Frost asked me if I had to take off right after church or if I could stick around for a while she had something for me. I never have anything to do after church so I told her I could stay.

Well after church there was a pot luck!! Man this day was looking up I was so excited to hear that there was food and that I wasn’t going to have to go home and hope I had enough stuff to put together to make up a meal.
But wait this gets even better, sister Frost gave me two grocery bags after the pot luck and this is what was in them.

This is why you should always go to church (ok and all the good stuff like sacrament and learning about Jesus) even when you don’t want to. Finding chips and Old El Paso salsa at the grocery store by my apartment is not going to happen. But the grocery store they go to has a whole American section I guess.

This turned out to be the best day so far. At the beginning of the semester I couldn’t wait to get back home and go to a singles ward and live in a community of other LDS people but now I think I’m really gonna  miss the people here.

At the pot luck dinner brother Frost asked me how I came to study abroad in Greece I told him about how my roommates were annoying me and stuff and how I got offered a scholarship and just felt like I needed to get out of Cedar for a while. He said well this is pretty far away from Cedar how have you liked it? Well that is a loaded question; I hated it then it was bearable and now I kinda like it here, I feel like I belong to the branch and the YSA group always texts me if I don’t show up to something. I answered by saying it’s been a real good learning experience, I’m never going to do it again but now I know more about me and I’ve learned a lot. He thought that was a funny answer and said ya well going from Happy Valley to Greece would be a big change. I said yep a REAL big change and I think I prefer Happy Valley and will stay put. He said now Cedar and annoying roommates is looking real good. Well not real good but at least better, at least in Cedar I know I can knock on almost any apartment door and be met by another YSA LDS member and the priesthood is closer. Everyone at church is always so nice and willing to help you in any way they can I just love going and days like today remind me why.

Pictures of the Island adventure here

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Temple of Poseidon and Mexican food

Yesterday instead of going to the beach for the 3rd day in a row I went to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio. I read online that I should take a bus from the metro stop Victoria and that it would be like 4€ to get there so I headed off figuring 8€ to see a temple that’s on cliffs by the sea would be well worth it. Well it turned out that it was 6,30€ each way but still worth it.

While on the bus there I met two retired couples from Australia that were on a 3 week long vacation and had just arrived in Athens the day before. Australians travel a lot. I have met quite a few on my travels. I taught them some helpful Greek words told them a little about the culture. They were very nice.

I got to the temple and it was awesome. You could hear the waves crashing against the rocks and once the school group left it was really peaceful. I took a few pictures then walked down the hill a little to sit and wait for sunset to come so I could get the awesome pictures that I saw online and in the book Aunt Nancy gave me. I did get some really cool shots but the last bus left before I wanted it too but oh well. As we came around the corner after leaving I looked back and you could see the moon coming up over it. I really wished I had a car so that I could stay and take pictures of the temple with the moon behind it. That would have been a really cool picture.

When I got off of the metro on my way home another study abroad student was on the bus with her mom. We talked about all the cool things to see in Greece and her mom seemed pretty cool. Then when I got off of the bus and started walking home I ran into the rest of the study abroad students who are here and not on a vacation. They asked me if I wanted to go get some Mexican food. I couldn’t turn down food with flavor so I went. Boy am I glad I went, it was worth every penny to eat legit Mexican food. I was so happy to have food with flavor. Greek food uses more like oregano and stuff like that, not really spicy or super flavorful stuff so I was soooo happy to eat enchiladas and refried beans.
I used windows live photo gallery to make my pictures into a panorama

There is a hill cross from the temple that I hiked up and got this cool shot

The temple is made of marble but has less flutes in it than a
 typical temple has to help it combat the erosion from the sea

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

FHE and Hugs

Monday at FHE I learned some new games and had awesome conversations with awesome people and was just feeling super happy about life. When I got back to my apartment that night my roommate was skyping with her boyfriend and she said “I haven’t gotten a hug from someone I love since my mom left, I can’t wait for you to get here!”

In my mind I was thinking really you haven’t gotten a hug since you’re mom left? I get hugs every Saturday at youth night and Sunday at church and on Monday at FHE all by people I have come to love. I know that when I walk into the building someone is going to come up to me and ask me how I’m doing and tell me how much they appreciate me and then probably ask me to say a prayer or something but I know that if I’m ever in need of a hug I can just walk into the church in Athens and someone will greet me with open arms.

I never thought about that aspect of being away from home. All the other study abroad students don’t have a built in support system anywhere they go. I know that no matter where I go (ok except like China) I can find a church building and walk in and immediately be welcomed with a warm smile and possibly a hug.

Also for the rafting trip I went on we had to list an emergency contact and one of the international students asked me who I put down and I said I put the Relief Society president from my church down and they were like well what should I put? I love that I know that there is someone here who could and would help in an emergency.