Zakynthos, Greece

This is a post that I wrote during a summer trip I took to Greece and Italy. We stayed got to see the wonderful and historical sights in Athens, Greece and Rome, Italy. We also were able to immerse ourselves in Greek culture while staying with friends on the small island of Zakynthos off the western coast of Greece in the Ionian Sea. You can read my pre-trip post here. We're back in America and almost back in school, but I'm not quite ready to give up summer yet! So here is a short posting I wrote while staying with Yia yia Bizkinis in Zakynthos, Greece. Enjoy.

As a history teacher, I am constantly looking for ways to get the students to think about their lives and the lives of others from a different perspective. I can think of no better way to accomplish this goal than to put students in genuine experiences with the other, a term I use for anyone or anything makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it is another language, another race, another culture, another type of food - the other could be anything. If you win the lottery, you should pay for students to travel. It will change their lives.

I'm in Greece right now with my wife, Angela and our brother Tony. We made our way to Zakynthos, Greece, the wonderful island in the Ionia Sea in between Greece and Italy. It was about a 4-hour bus ride and 1-hour ferry away from Athens. Now we're staying with our good friends Vivian and Renee and their Yia yia (grandma) and uncle. Our other friend, Triffin, is also here visiting this wonderful island. Without fear of exaggerating, this place is flippin' awesome.

Angela has been taking most of the pictures and we didn't bring the cords or computers to transfer all of those, but here are a few that I've taken:

Angela and Tony cooling off on the back patio.
 Yia yia Bizkinis cooking dinner for 10 AM! We ate a little before we
left for the beach in the afternoon and will have more in a little bit for dinner.
 The kitchen of Yia yia Bizkinis' house.
 It gets really hot in the afternoon. I always thought a siesta was 
just fun. Now I know it's kind of a necessity.
 Here's a view of the entrance to Yia yia Bizkinis' house. 

So this is where we're living until July 11th! It is small and completely useful. We recently watched a documentary on living small, and the Greeks have this concept nailed down. Living small is essentially ensuring that every single ounce of space is well-used and it's a concept that many of us in America would either struggle with or scoff at, myself included. There's something to it, though. We are all in the same space every moment we are in the house.

This is where life in Zakynthos has gotten really fun! Vivian and Renee's Yia yia and Uncle speak barely a word of English. Angela, Tony and I speak barely a word of Greek! Yet somehow, with a little translation help from Vivian and Renee, we taught Uncle Andreas how to play Gin Rummy! Life for us has been filled with daily trips to the beach, lots of gyros and ice cream, plenty of cards, frappes and good conversation with good people. 

Thanks for reading! It's time to head back to the beach!

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