As one of the only 24 hour diners in Pangrati, serving delicious crepes 24/7, Poco Poco obviously became a CYA favorite from the very beginning of the semester.
While studying for exams, writing endless essays and simply just being too lazy to grocery shop in the last two weeks of the semester, I found myself at Poco Poco quite frequently with friends as we wrapped up our study abroad trips and tried to spend as much time as possible together our final days.
In the last week, as students began departing for the States, little by little, one by one, Poco Poco housed less and less of a CYA presence. It was almost like watching a scene from a film, where you are frozen in time, yet everything else moves in fast forward around you.
And little by little, I realized how quickly time really moves. It’s like we just arrived yesterday and now we are all being shuffled onto planes headed in all different directions.
Yet, even though it felt like the blink of an eye, the fact that I have learned so much, not only about the world, but also about myself, in such a brief time, really illuminates the value of these study abroad experiences.
These values have revealed themselves in full as we have prepared to return back to our old lives. Before leaving, Dimitris at Kekkos asked me what the one most important thing was that I have learned from the Greeks. I smiled, shyly looking down at my feet, wondering if I could actually admit to myself, let alone to him, what this one significant thing was that has had such an unexpected and fruitful impact on my life and my time in Athens.
After a few seconds, I looked up at him, noticing that he, too, was smiling, eagerly awaiting my response — a response, I’m sure, which he expected to be of my typical overly verbose manner.
But when I finally spoke, I simply said to him, “Dimitri, the Greeks, specifically the Athenians, have taught me to be less afraid of life.”
“Yes, Rachael. We do not fear life because we do not fear death.”
I cannot imagine a better conversation with which to have ended my study abroad trip.
I remember at the beginning of the semester, I was trying to keep up on my Spanish with my housemate and dear friend, Ana. She commented to me that it was funny how the name of the diner, Poco Poco, was a play on the Spanish phrase, “poco a poco,” meaning, little by little.
Poco a poco, acepto que la vida no es estática ni lineal; es fluida y constantemente está cambiando. Poco a poco, he aprendido de Atina y ella me ha aceptado.
Este salido no es un “adiós,” es un “hasta luego”.
Así, hasta luego, Atina, mi amor.
(Little by Little, I accept that life is not static nor linear; it is fluid and it is constantly changing. Little by little, I have learned about Athena, and she has accepted me.
This departure is not a “goodbye,” it is a “see you later”.
So, see you you later, Athens, my love.)