This week has been an interesting one thus far. It is only Friday so I am sure there is more to come. There are a few things worth noting. Monday night Liz, Leslie, and I were invited to go watch the James Joyce (our Irish Pub) soccer (football.. whatever) team play. They are part of a pick up league and there team is a hodgepodge of bartenders and customers. The goalie is a 250 pound Greek man who loves Guinness. He's not so good at stopping the ball but ya know minor detail.
Anyway, Rony, the bartender from James Joyce who we have befriended picked the three of us up. We headed to another Irish pub, Molly Malones, for a quick drink before the game. Molly Malones was nice. Much more low key then the James Joyce. It was in a completely different section of town that is more foreigners who live and work and Greece. Rony obviously knew everyone. Everywhere we go its always like that. So we left the pub for the game, which was held at what I would call old basketball courts that had been converted in to mini soccer fields.
The game was fun. James Joyce lost to a much younger and more athletic team but according to the goalie "its alright at least we enjoy ourselves." Rony and Tom (the owner of the James Joyce who also plays on the team) were not as easygoing with the defeat. According to them the other team got lucky. That always how it works right?
Tuesday night Liz was invited to grab "a quick drink" with this British man George, whom we had met a week earlier. Not wanting to go by herself, Liz invited me along. We met George by the Polytechnico (University of Athens) and grabbed a beer at this really cool bar. It was definitely a much younger crowd then the James Joyce. More college students, Greek obviously. George is a consultant, used to be a professor and spends his time between Athens and London. He invited us to the garden party he is hosting. Date to be determined.
Also on Tuesday my Ethnography class went on an outing to the 1st Cemetery of Athens. This is where all the famous people in Athens are buried. Anyway, we had just spent an entire class discussing Greek Orthodox death rituals so that was the reason for our visit. Nothing like anything I have ever seen in the states. Everything is in marble and the graves are not marked by a simple headstone. Some have Greek style temples (huge), some have statues, some are hand carved by famous sculptors. Graves are elaborate to say the least. Plus it is common practice to visit your family grave once a week to keep the space filled with flowers, plants, oil, candles, etc. You do not feel like you are in a cemetery as you walk through the grounds.
Later that evening I went to a Greek Orthodox mass as part of my religion class. Umm no one goes to Church except the widows. The scripture is read in Ancient Greek so not even the Greek people understand it and the inside of the Church is mind blowing. Every inch of every wall is painted..depicting religious scenes or just asthetic. There are pictures of icons all around the Church and it is common practice that when you enter you kiss the icons. Oh yeah and the widows who do attend mass talk the whole time. That would not fly with the nuns. We were not allowed to speak in homeroom an hour before we even had mass. Overall, mass was not very interactive. The priest read and chanted but there was no participation by the congregation.
All for now.. met some U.S. Marines last night that work at the embassy. We're supposed to go out with them tonight. We shall see.