Sunday, May 13, 2012

young wild free

A few days ago, Daphne walked up to me outside and told me she was having a pool party and she wanted me to come. I was completely elated. I was so excited to be included and to be invited to an "all Greek" pool party. Only 2 other Americans were invited, and I felt truly privileged to be invited. Not that the party was only for the "ACT elite" or anything, it just feels really wonderful to be included in a Greek gathering, to feel like part of the group. Daphne is part of my "Greek parea" that I have at school, which Thansis, George, Alex, Marina, Maria, Sevi, Stratos, Nikos, etc are all a part of. So it wasn't completely wild that I was invited, Daphne was even surprised at my surprise, but I was happy happy happy nonetheless.
So, yesterday, Saturday, was Daphne's pool party. I took the 8 bus to IKEA where I met up with Sevi and Maria to get picked up by Alex and go to Daphne's. Daphne lives quite a ways out of town, but she has a gorgeous house with a tennis court and a pool with a diving board, a pool house and bar area, and a few that looks straight out over the sea-- a truly beautiful home. Daphne is actually from Brazil but she's lived here in Thessaloniki for 5 years now and her Greek is perfect. She's truly amazing.

The weather was cloudy and windy and it rained for awhile, despite the fact that the weather pan predicted sunny and breezy at 82 degrees. It was still warm, warm enough that we all got in the water and jumped off the diving board and swam around for awhile. But it was a bummer that the weather man was completely off base. So, most of the day was spent in the pool house or by the pool side bar, drinking, eating, dancing and whatnot. They grilled chicken souvlaki and lots of other meats along with pitas of course. There was vegetable dips and vegetable salads, brazilian cheese, brazilian rice, and brazilian inspired alcoholic drinks.

Lots of alcohol was consumed but only one person got a little too intoxicated. I'm lucky that I know my limits and I don't like pushing them. However, I now completely understand why my parent's were such sticklers for no swimming/diving and drinking because having a diving board and a pool when that much alcohol is present and when that many people are present only spells for disaster. Ergo, Daphne had to go to the hospital. She slipped on the wet tiles and hit her chin on the ground and sliced it open and bruised her jaw, she went straight to the hospital and got four stitches. Another source of worry and stress was that as the night progressed, people decided the diving board was the perfect stage for dancing and one by one a person or two would head up just to dance, at such great height a little slip of the step would end up with broken bones and other damages. Every time someone went up there, my eyes locked on them and my palms did not stop sweating until they came down. Adults were present, Daphne's parents and a couple of their friends, but their either not big worriers or too shy to say anything. I'm not sure which, but I was terrified.
Despite the hospital drama and diving-board-stress, I had a wonderful, wonderful time at the pool party. The food was delicious and the company was amazing. I brought my good canon camera out with me and snapped over 400 photos. I knew that it would be an amazing day and that having my camera always at the ready would be a solid idea. Greek's aren't huge on bringing camera's everywhere with them and they tend to only have 100-200 photos on Facebook compared to the average college girls 3,000+ photos. So, I knew they would be very appreciate for me playing the role of photographer and adding 100 photos of them to Facebook. And I definitely got some great shots. Hopefully a new profile picture or two will be found among the 400.

George brought his camera too and the coolest thing about it is that it can take underwater photographs. I've never had access to an underwater and it was sooo cool too play around with but it's pretty difficult to take the picture because you're blindly trying to figure out where to point&shoot it.

Pretty cool huh? Well, it was fun to play around with and fun to use in and out of my water. People struggled with my camera and one guy who I didn't know (who was friends with Daphne and didn't go to school) thought he understood how to use the camera but he messed up all my settings and it took me 5 minutes to figure out how to set them all back correctly.

Let me introduce you to my greek friends:
part of the group
Me, Sevi & Marina
Thanasis & Me
Alex & Me
George & Me
Alex, George, Statos, Nikos, Nikos, and Thanasis (from right to left)
So, there is most of my Parea. They are such amazing, kind, fun people. I'm lucky they have welcomed to their party and into the group. As you can see in the group photo, there was about 20 people at the party and I didn't know a handful of them because they are Daphne's friends from other circles, they all were very nice though.

After swimming, eating, taking lots of photos, and just goofing around, the dancing really began as night fell. It was all goofy and fun and there even was some traditional dancing busted out. I wish America had some traditional dancing that the youth enjoyed learning and performing. It's so cool to watch traditional greek dancing and how people get so so into it. They really enjoy dancing and performing and even though it's just certain steps and certain arm movements, it's considered very sexy and cool. I love that. We threw napkins and clapped and all that jazz. How Greek, How Fun.

Nikos dancing
The pool party felt very similar to an American pool party, grilling, blended drinks, swimming, loud music, dancing. There wasn't anything except the type of food and the type of dancing that felt really Greek to me. The people though, that was the most amazing part of the whole day. Sevi & Maria & me laughing endlessly and bonding more than we ever had before. Playing chicken on George's shoulders, fighting Sevi to a draw, a tie. Diving off the diving board with Kostas. Watching Nikos do his traditional dance and Marina doing the traditional dance for girls. Keeping Alex company as he grilled the food. Taking shots with Stratos. Daphne telling me to "make myself at home." Taking underwater photos with George and Maria. Sharing Brazilian cheese with Sevi. Tangoing with Thanasis and salsa-ing with Daphne. It was an amazing day all around. I felt so at home and so happy.

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