As the temperatures in Crete increase, so has anxiety. I can feel elements of apprehension all around me—over the intensity of the program and the politics/economy of the region (in my case, anxiety stems from the struggle to master the Greek alphabet and the ATM that didn’t return my debit card). At times, the EC EMSS can be overwhelming with the struggle to balance the stress of course work, everyday activities, current events, and the excitement of being in beautiful Greece. Time moves rapidly in Crete at the EC Eastern Mediterranean Program, which seems to make the balance of everything just a little bit harder.
Nevertheless I think it is important to value this experience, even if it can be overwhelming, stressful, and dynamic. There is value in the journey. Therefore it is important to engage in class and excursions, go to the beautiful beaches, local sites, and even if there is a little stress around a map quiz, paper or test. In my first class with with Professor Vamvakas he briefly mentioned a poem that he liked—Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy. The poem is about valuing process not the goal and being grateful for the journey. It has always stuck with me and was added to my own list of favorites. The last part of the poem reads:
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Lastly: I’d like to thank Katrina for the “5 stars”