hey y’all! I’m back from my trip! I’m sorry for not scheduling a post for last week, but now you’ll have a bit of a dump haha.
some of you who follow my personal instagram account may know where I was for 10 days, but if you don’t, listen and believe. or don’t, it’s your choice.
I was in Greece on a missions trip along with my brothers and a group from our church! we assembled a playground at the mission center and helped at a refugee hang-out center, where Syrian, Afghan, and other refugees would come during the week.
I’ll be sharing a bit about my time in that singular country and experience 🙂
we woke up at 4am to get to the airport. I absolutely love going to the airport and Greece has always been a dream destination for me, so I was very excited. we met up with our team of 9 other people, said goodbye to our parents, and checked in! we had time before we boarded our flight to Toronto to have breakfast and race up and down the hallways and on those moving walkway things. oh and the ex-pro football player Joe Montana was on our flight, so that was cool. most/all of my celebrity sightings happen at airports haha.
I was able to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the first time (I have some strong opinions on this movie that I’ll share in a later post) and the Greatest Showman again before we landed in Toronto. from there, it was a mad dash to our connecting flight and then we were waiting on the tarmac for 2 hours waiting for the high winds to die down. and there were no screens on this plane. it was pretty horrible. but I survived.
we arrived at Greece at around 11am the next day Greece time (1 am California time). we were met by two vans from the center where we were staying/building the playground and a car from our mission partners. we drove the short distance to the center, put our suitcases in our rooms, and headed to the dining room/hang out area for a debrief and lunch. after lunch, we walked up to the site where we were to build the playground and after that, we took naps. that was nice. I don’t remember what else happened … oh wait. we went out to a gyro place on the Aegean Sea. it had an amazing view.
the overseer of our project arrived in the morning before church. he had a really dry sense of humor, so I knew I was going to like him.
after we had a morning prayer time and breakfast, I helped chop vegetables for dinner. later, five of our group went to the Home Spot to hang out with the refugee kids and the rest of us went to our hosts’ church. everything was in Greek, but there were a few worship songs that I recognized. we also had an in-ear translation device, so I was able to understand some of the message. we didn’t stay long after the service, since our hosts took us out to lunch.
we started staking out the ground for the playground that afternoon and I helped to set up for evening service at the center. when people started arriving, I met a few refugees and my younger brother and I got caught up in a game of frisbee with some local kids. most of them spoke really good English, but they generally spoke in Greek. worship was mostly in Greek, but they had the English words below the Greek on the screen. then after some introductions, the kids went to their separate classes. I thought it would be interesting to join the high school group, so I followed them down to their classroom. aaaaand it was all in Greek. a guy that I had met earlier offered to translate for me, but after a while, I decided it was too awkward and I didn’t want to bother him anymore, so I went back upstairs. the preaching was already over at that point, so I didn’t really get anything out of that service. oops. after the service ended, I just hung out, ate amazing food, and talked to a few people before heading to bed.
after breakfast, we all walked up to the work site to help a bit before some of us went to the Home Spot. I don’t remember what I did, just that I didn’t want to get too dirty before leaving. on the way back to the house before three other ladies and I left, one of my roommates (and my church’s missions director) took a detour with me to pet a horse 😀
we drove to the Home Spot, about 30-45 minutes away from where we were staying. there were a lot of older boys and men, some little kids, and women, both older and younger in age. we spent most of the day talking to one young man and teaching him some English. it was a very informal setting. I had thought we would be doing more concrete things, and instead I was offering stickers to kids and playing peekaboo to keep babies from crying and trying to communicate with people mostly using some form of unofficial sign language. I was able to help out in an English class for women later in the day. I also met a beautiful 17-year-old girl and her adorable little sister. they were so sweet and amazing.
I was so tired on the drive home, but I was able to stay awake until we went to dinner at our mission partners, F & A’s, house. we had moussaka, which is layered eggplant, ground lamb, tomatoes, and cheese. it was amazing. my younger brother fell asleep after dinner, so our host F showed him to the basement downstairs so that he could sleep. after dinner we had a nut cake (I think it’s called karidopita) that was one of the most amazing things I have ever tasted in my life. we left soon after that and I went straight to bed when we got back to the house.
I planned to help on the play site today, so that’s what took up my morning. I shoveled dirt and held things and accidentally fell into two separate holes. so thankful I didn’t sprain anything.
fairly early on in the morning, my stomach started feeling funny, but I took a break in the shade and had water, and then I felt better for a little while. but then it came back. and it didn’t go away. I went back to the house before lunch, thinking I would rest a bit. I ended up getting worse. to spare you the details, I’m pretty sure I got food poisoning. not sure how and not sure why no one else got sick if that was the case, but I digress.
I spent the night on the top floor in a room of my own instead of sharing one with two other women. even though I took a Tylenol to help me sleep, due to a slight fever, I didn’t sleep well.
I ate hardly anything all day and felt super weak. I was able/kinda forced myself to walk up the work site to sit in the sun and act as a sort of moral support for everyone who was working. walked back down for lunch, feeling a bit guilty about not being able to help work, and quickly abandoned my idea to go back up to the work site after lunch to watch them finish. instead I planted myself on the couch in the hang-out room, ate some dried fruit, read, and ended up falling asleep.
I didn’t eat much for dinner, but moved back downstairs to my shared room that night.
okay, the next part is going to be longer, so I’ll stop here 🙂 I hope you guys enjoyed reading! I have a lot more pictures, but I hope y’all understand that I can’t show you pictures of the kids without permission.
I’ll be back in a few days with pt. 2! ❤
all pictures are mine – DO NOT take/use without express permission