Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Shortly after my fifteen hours of air travel, I stood with my fellow students at the Suda Bay Monument and my perceptions became reality. In our group meetings and days leading up to June 6, 2015 I couldn’t seem to comprehend just how captivating the Eastern Mediterranean Security Studies Program would be. Now here I am. And I am still struggling to comprehend.

       The Suda Bay Monument, our first excursion in Crete, is British and Commonwealth Soldier Cemetery. The stone reminders of the lives lost was jarring yet so was the bright blue water. The sight was overwhelming and truly ambivalent. I was struck with sadness walking through the rows and rows of gravestones but I was also enchanted by the magnificent views of the Bay. Overwhelmed, I questioned how such hideous violence could happen in such a beautiful place.

I guess beauty and unpleasantry often go together because I am about to reference something I read in the Tasty Burger bathroom—“True knowledge is knowing that you know nothing. Experience, Learn, Listen.” While I don’t totally agree with this proposed concept of knowledge (partly because it was probably written by some drunk girl at one in the morning), I appreciate the sentiment of an open mind and a willingness to experience new things and absorb surroundings.  I strive for this open-mindedness here in Crete (especially when I try to pronounce the Greek letters φ, Θ, and Υ)
In Crete I am taking two political science courses with the delightful Professor Vamvakas. What we have studied so far in these courses has a strong theme of fluidity. Flows of peaceful and violent, stable and unstable, positive and negative, prosperous and ailing, from one dominate ideology to another. Flows that I can cheese-ily compare to the water I saw on our trip to Suda Bay.
In the same corny manner, I will conclude with saying: I feel so fortunate to be part of the Eastern Mediterranean Security Studies Program in the beautiful island of Crete—a place rich with history and delicious food but faltering economy.

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