Observations (Athens)

I started my journey on Tuesday when I landed in Athens! It was raining and I didn’t validate my metro ticket, but I landed safely in Syntagma square, which I guess you could call the city center. Long ago, Syntagma square was a cemetery for the city of Athens. It’s not creepy at all that the city center used to be a cemetery.

I was in Athens for about 4 days, and observed quite a few things while I was there: some of which apply only to Athens, while others apply to the entire country.

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The Founding of Athens

The history of Athens is a long and winding road (Beatles reference! :D) and I don’t want to bore you guys (or myself, for that matter) with historical dates and events, so I will tell you the mythological founding story instead (which is frankly much more exciting!) :

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I am going to start blogging again! I bridged the gap between blogging in SF (for a few weeks) and starting again with ohlife entries, so I still have some sort of record. Blogging really isn’t easy – I learned that the hard way..
Anyhow, as most of you know, I am currently in Greece on a mythology scavenger hunt! Most people either ask me what exactly that means or if you’re my stern German grandma, you will ask me why I’m going to Greece “for fun”. To answer the first question, this is a scavenger hunt that entails trying to visit many of the locations of Greek myths, and trying to gain a newfound understanding of them. I am doing this for completely selfish reasons, and am very happy with my decision 🙂
And of course I’m not going just for fun – the primary goal of my trip is to learn as much as possible about Greek mythology and history. It’s a so called “Bildungsreise” (Learning/educational Trip? One of those beautiful German words that you can’t satisfactorily translate haha *cough*wanderlust*cough*) ! I will attempt to keep track of my explorations and discoveries with this blog so that you can all watch me grow and mature blah blah blah enough cheesiness. Seriously though, I hope you guys will accompany me on my little Greek mythology nerd journey 🙂

❤ you all!

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

One of our challenges this week is to write down our goals using the SMART method. SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Boxed. Each goal that we want to pursue must meet these five characteristics.

Here are my goals for the week based on the SMART method:

  • Working out: go to the gym three more times this week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday)
  • Working out: go to Bikram Yoga Classes twice this week (Thursday and Saturday)
  • Cooking Chinese dishes at least four more times this week (go grocery shopping on Thursday)
  • Decide which country I want to go to for my voyage phase
  • Work on completing one item from the “To Learn” List
  • Sign up for an MOOC and start watching the lectures

I will update you all on how this goes by the end of the week!

Exciting Stuff!

The launch phase has been extremely beneficial for my personal development so far. For the first time in my life, I am living and “working” in the real world, with like-minded people and an extremely supportive team. I am no longer bound by the rules and regulations of boarding school or a school curriculum – I haven’t felt this free in a long time. I used the past week to explore some interests of mine and try out a few new things. I will be doing fire-arms training on Thursday, visiting the Noise Bridge hackerspace today (I have never been inside a hackerspace before!) and attending my first real music festival on Sunday! Additionally, I will take part in Bikram Yoga classes, take swing lessons starting in October, go to the nearby gym more often and probably visit the Buddhist Center a couple more times. San Francisco has so many things to offer, and I don’t know if I will be able to take full advantage of the myriad of opportunities, but I will certainly do my best. I am just extremely grateful and excited that I am able to have all of these new experiences and utilize them for my personal growth! Thank you to all the people who have made my first week such an adventure 🙂


To bring last week to a close, I want to reflect on our learning outcomes and how successfully I “completed” them. The expected learning outcomes for the last week were:

  • Understand your current identity and the value in its malleability
  • Think about how your identity will change
  • Learn how you can control and communicate your identity
  • Understand how your identity influences your actions + decisions

The first week of the launch phase has been filled with challenges, adventures and new experiences. Through our discussions during the workshops, the reading material and my meaningful conversations with the other fellows, I feel as though I have gotten to know the others, and myself, a little better. Watching Julian Baggini’s TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you.html) was especially inspiring, because he gave me a new definition for the word “identity” – one which really resonated with my beliefs. When I was applying for the UnCollege Gap Year and was asked to describe what kind of person I was, I did not really know how to answer the question because it was difficult for me to summarize myself into a paragraph filled with definite, unambiguous statements. I realize now that I was attempting to say the same thing as Julian Baggini, just with my own words. I am very thankful to have listened to his TED talk, because it makes things much clearer for me.

All of the challenges that I have completed throughout the week have contributed to this entire process as well. I have made new and fascinating discoveries about myself (I like Mexican food!) and the world around me (There really are more crazy people on the street here). I will continue with the “identity” challenges whenever I get the chance, because they are a great way for me to put things into perspective and reflect on myself. What I was not able to accomplish this week was to communicate my identity effectively – I will make sure to address this issue by writing a new CV and sending emails to potential “employers” for my voyage phase.

I am really excited about this week and all the new experiences that will come my way!