Sunday, November 9, 2014

In the Presence of Greatness 10/14/14-10/27/14

        After getting back from London that type of missing home really got to me,  from the whole bus ride to the airport and even on the plane ride back I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about it so much.  This would be pretty much bug me for the entire week because their was no connection to home and it really got me unfocused for midterms so getting back in to studying wasn't the best. That entire first stay back was the hardest I had to study even the week prior, because all of these exams were in the same day back to back and the amount of information that is needed to take them was pretty ridiculous.  That Wednesday it was like the battle of JCU in regards to having all of these midterms back to back because of my classes.  After the day was done you could may as well say that I was dead out of my brains and just mind blown.  So once again don't judge me for this but I went to the cafe and had a couple much deserved beers for my troubles.
        Now that my exams were done I could start preparing for my trip this weekend to go where I have dreamed of going my whole life and which was truly the only place I wanted to visit Athens Greece.  That weekend it started off much like on our way to London, the only difference was that the airport was more efficient and we got through security quick and only had to get our passport checked once which was pretty nice.  Also the service was better as well on easy jet, the only thing difference was that the pressure in the cabin was not so well so my ears kept popping the entire way their and weekend.  So I wasn't the most comfortable on the plane.  Once we arrived I felt a warm feeling out side, my first site was a great hillish mountain in the distance from the airport and even though it was just hill these were just beautiful and no hills I have ever saw in my life matched their beauty.  After debarking from the plane we hoped on the bus and headed straight towards the Akropolis area where we were staying once we got there and checked in to our hostel, we headed to get something to eat.  Right around the corner from our hostel their is a Gyro place and was the best place in all of Athens because it only costed 2 euro and it was unbelievably delicious.  That whole weekend I would continue to eat their because it was so good.  After getting a much needed meal, we headed to the National Defense Ministry War Museum.  Here we saw a bunch of guns and bombs you would not expect to see in person, but also we got to see a lot of ancient Greek weapons and shields that were a sight to see.  A Hopitle spear for example is the size of me if not even taller, so you must imagine that is a pretty tall and indimidating weapon.  We also saw some stories of some rulers, though it really mostly contained descriptions of weapons, it had minor stories of like Alexander when he took a city in Greece a Philosopher was just laying their and Alexander said to him "what would you like most" and the Philosopher said "I would want you to move out of the way because your covering the sun".  I just found this funny because Alexander from that day on had great respect for that man and the man was kind of a smart ass to probably one of the most powerful men in the world.  It just showed me that the idea of having no fear of someone who has more powerful than you is a trait that not many men or women have because we submit to those who have more power than us in fear of what they would do to us and in return we act like servants to those of power.
         After we left the war museum we went back to the hostel to take a nap because we both of course didn't get any sleep the night before because we had to be up by 4 am and we both didn't sleep well.  Later that night our Hotel had a roof top bar so we went to the top to have a drink, and the sight was just beautiful.  Right when you sat down you would see the citadel and the Parthenon right behind you and it is just lit up with lights and the moon and stars shining right down on it.  That moment I started to get a warm feeling, much like the one I got after I disembarked from the plane and saw the hill in the distance.  These feelings I wouldn't understand what their were until much later.
        The next morning after having some pretty bad continental breakfast, if you call it that because all if was is rolls and jam with hot water... Yeah so we went to the Gyro place again because it was awesome and we just ate pretty bad stuff.  After we ate we started our way up to the Akropolis where we would enter to see in what the modern world says "the birthplace of democracy".  When we go to the top of the Akropolis after seeing the minor things on the way up, we approached the hall into the Akropolis.  Suddenly the warm feeling came again as me and my roommate walked through and was staring right at the Parthenon.  It was truly a miraculous sight to see, and to me it was a climax of my study abroad experience as well as a high point for my adult life.  The reason is because it one shows dreams do come true.  I remembered the first time I read about Greece and the Roman Empire my first year of High School and how inspired with their techniques and political issues, and some of the people I read about like Alexander The Great, Pericles and Constantine all of these great figures of society stood right where I stood.   It was being of the presence of greatness, the worlds greatest intellectuals of all time have stood right there and looked over the beautiful City of Athens and landscape of giant hills and the stunning Aegean Sea from the citadel I am standing on.  They walked the path I have walked and have endured life struggles like I have.  The leader who has stood out to me the most was Alexander the Great.  Yes he was born into a royal family unlike me but that is not what makes him one of my idols.  While growing up especially in middle and high school, I was always second and always had to prove my worth and abilities and even though I would people would still step over me.  That was Alexander's childhood and he worked hard and proved everyone wrong and became King of the known world.  Being on top of that Akropolis was being in the presence of greatness and is a moral standard for what I want to accomplish in life.
       Me and my friends would end up spending most of our time on the Akropolis admiring the city we gazed upon.  It's funny because we were talking about life, politics and other things I guess you can say that Socrates would be looking down on us smiling.  After a very memorable weekend we would spend our last moments on top of a hill across from the Akropolis where we would watch the sun set from the top of the glorious citadel all the way in the distance of the beautiful Aegean.  Once again that warm feeling inside and still I didn't know what it meant.  The next day as our plane took off and I looked out the window saying goodbye to the Athens my heart became empty and tears came from my eyes.  At first I didn't know why I was crying but I eventually realized why.  My whole life was full of struggle and doubtfulness that I would never become someone capable to leave my country or even my state and their I was in the city I have admired my whole life, in the city where I stood where Alexander the Great stood, and in the place where the first foundations of democracy were set that would later give me the opportunity as an African man to be able to progress myself in Western society unlike my ancestors.  It was a moment where struggle of my family lineage has started to become progression to become great like the intellectuals of old.  It wasn't just for my personal feelings that I was touched by, but those of my family and how I am setting a good example to my siblings and younger family members.  I felt like one of the idols I looked up to growing up because I am setting an example to those people younger than me so they can reach to the stars and achieve bigger and greater things that I have.  It was a moment where being in the presence of greatness has made me realize that I wasn't nobody and that I was born to be a somebody.

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