Saturday, June 27, 2020

❝ Athens, Sparta, Rhodes ❞ HIS-101 Final Project

"Athens, Sparta, Rhodes"

I  decided to travel to ancient Greece because I  have always had such an interest in life on the mediterranean as well as greek mythology. I  set forth to visit three different Greek poleis to get a better understanding of the way people lived in Greece, and what was important to them. My travels began in Athens. Athens is the place where the very first modern Olympics took place. So I  traveled to the Panathenaic stadium, and it is said to be the "only stadium in the world built entirely out of marble" (Panathenaic Stadium Athens 2019 para. 1). The Panathenaic stadium was used for the very first time in 330 BCE, but it originally had a rectangular shape, which was typical of Greek structures. However, under Herodes Atticus, he rebuilt the stadium and gave it a horseshoe shape, typical of Roman structures. 

The first modern Olympics almost didn't happen in Athens, because Greece had filed bankruptcy and couldn't fund the olympics on their soil. However, Dimitrios Vikelas was "adamant that holding the first Olympic games was an honour and something that Greece deserved" (Panathenaic Staidum Athens 2019 para. 7). Thanks to Vikelas and a wealthy merchant, George Averoff, I  am standing in front of this marble stadium in Athens. This honor is important for Greek society because they hosted the first ancient olympic games, so I.T only makes sense to allow them to host the first modern olympic games that will continue to be held every 4 years. 

The Panathenaic Stadium was a common ground for so many different people. The people of Greece would come to watch swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling... etc. The stadium would be packed with hundreds of thousands of people, all close together cheering on their favorite athletes and watching their favorite sports, with people from around the world. The games brought together athletes from 14 different nations, but the largest delegations were from Greece, Germany, Great Britain, and France. 

Since I  loved traveling to the Panathenaic Stadium and seeing the way greek life came together with other nations, I  decided to stay in Athens to divulge in their drama. Athens was known as the birth place of tragedy. I  set off to the Theater of Dionysus next which is the "most famous ancient Greek theater and the site of the renowned Athenian drama festivals" (Nardo 2007). The theater is located at the southeastern foot of the Acropolis, and was built in honor of the fertility god, Dionysus. It was originally built with wooden seats, but those collapsed and ended up killing a lot of people, which is why it has stone seats now. This theater ended up being a model theater for other Greek theaters, but also other theaters throughout the world. I  felt very lucky to be visiting this theater that held significant important to other theaters constructed throughout the world. 

Theater was so important to Athenians that even prisoners were allowed to be released from jail temporarily so that they could attend. These plays were so important, once again, because they were used to honor Dionysus. They also held competitions in playwriting and performing, within their own towns and in other towns because every Greek town had at least one theater. Athens was the main center of these festivals and theaters and they spread their love of theater throughout so that everyone could have some sort of common identity. Once again, the Athenians used their accomplishments to really bring people together. 


I  took my travels to Sparta next. Sparta is known for their military, and so I  wanted to get a sense of their military life. Boys as young as the age of 12 were sent off to the barracks to train to be warriors. That's what Spartans were known as, warriors. They go through a great deal of training; their life was dedicated to being a Hoplite (a spartan soldier). Homer's The Odyssey portrays the struggle of a Spartan soldier on his 10-year journey home from the Trojan Wars. What he faces when he gets home is devastating for he is "at first unrecognizable to his wife" (Higgins 2013 para. 5). Spartans spend their whole lives becoming this magnificent soldier bred for war, so the question really does present itself, can soldier's really return home? 

As I  travel to Sparta and visit the ancient military barracks and see the history of soldiers, the Odyssey had never rang so clear. However, Sparta had many accomplishments when it comes to their military. They created a formation called the phalanx and I.T was "living proof that people are stronger together than apart" (Backman 101). The Phalanx was a group of Hoplites in about 8 horizontal lines with 10-20 soldiers. This unit would rush at the enemy and smash through them. This was an immensely powerful force, that the Spartans thought of. This vase is one of the first depictions of Hoplite soldiers in a phalanx formation. The soldiers are faceless, which shows that a phalanx was all about discipline and group-mindedness, which were strong values in Spartan's extremely successful military.

Even today, something to take home from my travels was that Spartan soldiers are important to today's 21st century society of soldiers. Today we have movies like 300, which was about Spartan soldiers, although not historically correct. This movie, according to Samantha Henneberry's senior honor's project, was watched by soldiers "while they were serving in Iraq" and it "gave them some sense of honor and pride as soldiers." Spartans were loyal and dedicated to their service to their country, and that is something that soldiers nowadays take away from ancient greeks.

I  spent the last of my time in ancient Greece in Rhodes, where the Colossus of Rhodes is located. The Colossus of Rhodes is one of the Seven Wonders of the World along with places like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria... etc. This statue was so important to Rhodians because I.T was a symbol of their success in the defense of their land against the Macedonians. The people of Rhodes built this statue to honor Helios for the deliverance of their land from war with Macedonia. The statue is said to stand 100 ft tall, on top of a 50 foot platform. Mythology was a main source of religion for the Greek people, and just like the Athenians put on drama festivals to honor Dionysus, Rhodians erected a 33m high statue to honor Helios.


The statue was made, and made to look like, in honor of the sun God, Helios. The worship of Helios was important to the people of Rhodes because the name of their island "derives from the nymph Rhodos who bore seven sons to Helios, the patron of the island" (Cartwright para. 6). I  was very lucky to be able to travel to ancient Greece to see this statue because nowadays, not much is known about it because it was toppled down by an earthquake in 228 or 226 BCE. The people of Rhodes speak very highly of Helios and visited the statue to honor him. It was devastating when it toppled down because of the earthquake. However, as of 2008, "government officials in Rhodes announced plans were in "the drawing board stage" for a new Colossus" (Nix 2015 para. 4). If these plans are followed through, I  will have to travel back through Rhodes to see the new Colossus! 

Friday, April 24, 2020

❝ Surviving Quarantine: 5 Tips & Tricks ❞

I  remember literally a month and a half ago I  was at school, planning so many fun adventures this summer. I  am finally 21, and this summer was going to be my summer. I  struggled a lot in the last year with my emotions and with my school. I  debated back and forth whether or not I  wanted to transfer to a school closer to home because I  thought I  was extremely unhappy at my current university. Turns out, the place I  was living at school just wasn't working for me anymore. I  needed change, and I  found that change. I  planned on moving in with two friends, to a house closer to campus, and I  was finally going to be living like a normal college student! I  took steps to make myself happier every single day and I  was getting there.

Then Coronavirus hit, and quarantine hit and I  felt like I  was spiraling again. But I  wouldn't let myself! The Sagittarius in me would not let me stoop to negativity, whether it be my own or someone else's, not again. It wasn't hard in the beginning, because part of me still felt like it was a joke, or a dream. This is not a joke, nor is it a dream and so I  had to find ways to cope with this major change that was sprung on everyone so quickly. 

My heart goes out to anyone affected by this horrible virus. Everyday is progress, and every day is a new opportunity to get closer to a cure, a vaccine, whatever it may be to get us through this. However, since we aren't the scientists, we have to find other ways for us to cope personally. Here's what I  have been doing to keep myself sane in an extremely insane time: 

1. Hobbies
I  have taken the time to really hone in on my hobbies. That is why I  have been working to get my blog back up and running. 
Thanks to Krystle for helping get my pictures back!! 
Writing is what I  pride myself on. I  have been working on my books, back and forth between the two as I  get inspiration (which is lacking but we will get to that!). Before this quarantine and lockdown, I created a poetry book and my g-little in my sorority has been designing my book cover. The last thing that needed to be done was my book cover and then I  was ready to publish! So Natalie and I  were back and forth discussing the book cover and she created the most beautiful book cover for my first poetry book ever. I wanted nothing more than to publish it this summer, and I  was going too, but I  refuse to publish my first book during a lockdown. The bright side of the situation is that I  now have time to overly perfect it!

Inspiration is definitely something that is lacking because I  am an extreme extrovert who gets my inspiration and my energy from being out in public around people. I  find inspiration by reading and sitting outside in nature. Here are some book suggestions if you're bored: 
  • It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Realistic Fiction)
  • Shatter by Michael Robotham (Psychological Thriller)
  • Black Butterfly by R. M. Drake (Poetry)
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Atticus (Poetry)
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Spiritualiy/Romance)
Or just watch Eat Pray Love but that is a great movie/book for being locked inside. We can all live vicariously through Elizabeth Gilbert! I've also been playing video games a lot, which has been fun. I  started streaming on Twitch a while back, but that has been on and off. Once I  can get a nice set up at home, that will be another thing I  get back into and hopefully get to grow again. 
I  just started playing Dead by Daylight, after having it for 6 months and being too scared to play it!!! 

2. Friends
If it for all my friends, who are just a text and a call away, I  would have lost my mind by now. It is so important to stay connected with your friends. Yeah, we're all used to talking to them everyday, and we never thought much about it. Now is even more important to make sure you schedule those facetime calls, or go to a park and stand six feet apart. My best friend Jasmine and I  went to Taco Bell, ordered food, took it to a parking garage (it was kind of cold and windy so the coverage was beneficial), and we parked a space apart and just yelled at each other from car to car!
But seriously....
It was nice to be able to see my best friend and catch up with her on all of the things we didn't get to talk about because lockdown happened so fast. I  look forward to my facetime calls all the time. Although schedules are still busy, and personally for me a little unorganized, the one facetime call between my sorority family and me did so much for my mental health and sanity.
I  have a zoom call meeting to play song association with my cousin and her friends (whom she introduced me too) that I've never even met and that live across the world. Just because we can no longer travel and see each other does not mean that communication, socializing, and fun needs to stop. We are lucky enough to have luxuries that connect us. 

3. Family
My family and I  are very close, and I  say that with pride and confidence. They are my rock, and my support. It has been really hard not to be able to go over to my grandmom's house whenever I  want to see her, or to see my family because grandmom's house is our meeting ground. However, just like friend meetings, families can have meetings too and it's so nice to get in on a zoom call and talk to everybody. We did it for Easter, which was a lot of fun. We cracked open wine in our houses and had a glass and some food over zoom. For my little cousin's 3rd birthday, we had a zoom party where we played family jeopardy and it was the highlight of my day, being on that zoom call.
I  know we all feel like we're trapped (at least, the extroverts like me), and being trapped in a house with the same people every single day for every single minute of every single hour can be difficult. But family is family and nothing will change the way they love and support.

4. Nature
I  DEFINITELY took this for granted!! I  promised myself I  would go outside every single day when lockdown is OVER. It's amazing the things we take for granted when the outside world is closed off to us. Nature has always been there, and yet the benefits of just being outside, in fresh air go unnoticed. Unless you're a super nature person, but I  definitely wasn't.
Feeling trapped? Step outside, even if it is just your front yard, or your backyard. Like I  said earlier, coffee shops (and my school's library) are the only places I  can knock out my homework without having any problems, and those are the two places I  get the most inspiration. Since I  don't have that,I I have been sitting outside every time the weather allows me too. I  take my coffee or my tea out into the backyard, and I  sit at the table and knock out all my work and then I  feel good afterwards. I  don't feel stressed or fatigued from a boatload of work, I  feel good.
I've also heard that actually touching the earth, like actually touching the earth with your skin, is really great for your health. So I  will try it! Maybe you should too!

5. Kindness, Love, & Compassion
This may be super cheesy but hear me out. Being kind not only to others, but to yourself, is a very key component here in surviving the quarantine. We can sit here and sulk and feel sorry for ourselves and hate ourselves and treat our bodies like crap, but we're only hurting ourselves. There's nothing that we can do to control this but stay home and social distance, which is tricky, so we have to be kind to ourselves in the process. On top of that, we need to be kind to each other. Which, we should have been doing that before quarantine. However, this is an extremely difficult time for literally everybody. Nothing is solved by beating each other down. Now is the time to start lifting up and showing the love that is all embedded in us.

Bonus tip: A little retail therapy never hurt anybody either ;)


Monday, July 15, 2019

❝ Where I Have Been!! ❞

Hi! Welcome Back :) 
This post is going to be all about the traveling I have done this summer! This summer has been really exciting for me because obviously, I'm a Sagittarius... and you know, us Sagittarians are known for being travelers and adventurers. Unfortunately, I have not gotten to do much traveling in my past. The only places I've really travelled to were Florida and New York.  Yes, New York is one of my favorite places in the US but it was time for me to venture further.
First, my mom and I went to Philadelphia. She had to go for a work trip, I just tagged a long for fun. It was somewhere other than Virginia, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, it did end up raining most of the time we were there, which kind of sucked. However, it was nice to be in a city! We spent a lot of our time in Reading Terminal Market, which is a place with all different kind of food vendors. The food was really good... and so was all the dessert! 
Shortly after that, I flew out to the west coast for my very first time! My boyfriend flew me out to California; more specifically we went to a small town called Chico and then we ended up in Sacramento. Chico was a really beautiful small town. It was pretty far from the water, so we didn't get to any beaches, but I honestly didn't care. The scenery, the people, the vibes were really awesome in Chico. They had a downtown area, which I'm pretty sure was near a college... I think it is a college town. Anyway, it was so cute. I know i'm a big city girl and a big beach girl, but I could've seen myself staying in Chico for awhile. 
I got to go to In-N-Out burger for the first time too, and I got to check that off my bucket list! It was pretty interesting, I probably didn't enjoy it as much as my boyfriend did because I can't eat meat. I also told myself I was going to start a "Traveling Vegetarian" blog and show all of the vegetarian meals I have while i'm traveling, but I never started that...So I'll just talk a little bit about it here (lol sorry) 
In-N-Out burger actually had two vegetarian options, they have a grilled cheese and the burger without the burger. Lol. The burger without the burger is basically just the veggies with the sauce they use.  More specifically it was lettuce, tomato, onion and dressing on a bun. It was as good as veggies on a bun could be. It was more interesting than a grilled cheese, though. 
There's me, eating the burger without a burger!! :)

Also here's the pic of my boyfriend and I outside the In-N-Out burger with the pretty sunset behind us because this is one of my favorite pictures of us.
How freaking cute are we?

Then we went to Sacramento for our last day in California. We actually went to Old Town Sacramento and saw these big beautiful trains and train tracks and all the cute, old shops. Again, I'm a big city girl but this downtown Sacramento was so beautiful, I could see myself staying there for a while too. I really just think it's a California thing. This was my first time being in California, but I knew before I even went that I was going to absolutely love it. My boyfriend and I ate dinner in old town, after we walked around for awhile, checking out all the cute, unique shops. They also had a lot of candy shops, which was fun for me. 
I really wish I took more pictures, I'm sorry, I was really just living in the moment. I was trying to squeeze as much time out of Derrik and California as I could! I truly wasn't on my phone a lot. I'm trying to be more in the moment, especially with him. 

Me in Sacramento. Here's a little outfit pic because I loved my outfit this day.
My shoes are super cute, from a small shop in Chico.
I'll post an outfit blog soon because I have a lot of outfits to show you guys. 
After California, I went home for a few days which sucked because Virginia couldn't even compare at all to California. I'm sorry. Then after I went home for a few days, I was flying out to ALASKA. I never in a million years thought I'd ever get to see Alaska. But, and just to shout out my boyfriend's family really quick... My boyfriend has the most amazing family in the world. They're all so loving and caring, and I couldn't have been luckier to find not only an amazing boyfriend but an amazing boyfriend with an amazing family. My boyfriend's parents flew me out to Alaska to see him. 
For those that don't know, my boyfriend is in the Army and he's stationed in Alaska. So I got to go out there to see him and I had the best time of my life. 
Alaska is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. The mountains, the water, the nature, it's all so freaking beautiful I couldn't even believe it. It was also really nice meeting my boyfriend's friends over in Alaska. We spent half of our time in Anchorage, which was a really pretty city and the other half of our time in Girdwood. The drive from Anchorage to Girdwood was stunning - you're driving along the water, with the mountains in the background and it was breathtaking. I was staring out my window the whole time, trying not to miss a moment. BUT I did get pictures this time. 

Girdwood, Alaska
We got to go to an animal conservatory in Girdwood, which was really fun for me because I got to see all of the animals I wanted to take home as pets but couldn't. I almost adopted one of the animals, but I didn't... I will one day, though. And then, my boyfriend took me on yet another beautiful and amazing date ever. 
Side note: Back in december, my boyfriend took me on a date to the Watergate in DC where we ate dinner and listened to music in an igloo. 
We rode a tram up a mountain, like a HUGE ALASKAN MOUNTAIN (where I saw a Moose!!) and we got off at the very very top of the mountain where there was a restaurant/bar and ski resort. 
The view from our table
So, here's another "Traveling Vegetarian" segment of my blog. There was literally not a single vegetarian option on the menu. It was all fish and meat. There was a small little cheese appetizer and that was the only vegetarian thing on the menu. So I asked the waiter if that was all or if there was anything else. To my luck, they actually had a hidden vegetarian item on the "menu". I ordered a Cauliflower Confit with Alaskan barley and roasted veggies. Surprisingly enough, it was actually REALLY good. Like, I was shocked. 

Cauliflower Confit with Alaskan barley and roasted veggies.
The only Vegetarian dish.
But it was really good. 
Here's another picture of the drive through Girdwood on the way back to Anchorage. 

Girdwood, Alaska
Now for some Questions and Answers because I get these questions a lot when I talk about Alaska.
"Was it really cold?"
No. Actually, it was really freaking hot!! Alaska was hitting some records when I was over there. When I tell you it was hot, it was HOT. I'm the type of person who doesn't really do that well in heat, so I was literally dying in my boyfriend's room. It was in the high 80's and apparently Alaska doesn't believe in AC. 
"Was it daylight the entire time?" 
Yes and no. The sun never fully went down, which was kind of cool but it was midnight and bright as day so I was still ready to do things but everything was closed! It was definitely a weird feeling looking at the clock at like midnight and the sun was still out. It did get kind of dark, but not fully dark. As my boyfriend explains it, the sun kind of sits on the horizon. 

After Alaska, we flew straight to North Carolina, where we stayed for two weeks with his family. I haven't been to a lake in years, so it was actually really nice to be there. It was really relaxing and it was fun for me to hang out with his family and bond with his family some more. We went jet skiing and tubing... I was thrown off the tube several times. We ended up going to Wrightsville beach as well one day, and spent a couple days in Wilmington while we were out there. 
I really liked Wilmington, actually, it was a really pretty beach town. It was cute, I don't know, I really liked it and I really liked the Wrightsville beach too! The water was really nice. 

Me and my love on the beach.
In his Budweiser shorts... 
Well, that is what I have been up to this summer. And that's all. It all went by way too fast. It's now July 15th, and I have completed all of my vacations. So now I'm just working, and I have to go back to school soon, which I really don't want to do. I really didn't want to leave Alaska... I really want to go back. I also really miss my boyfriend, and that really sucks. I got so used to being around him and so comfortable, because he's so amazing, that I'm sad he's gone again. But, he will be back and I will be back to Alaska and he will be coming home for good soon! 
This has been the BEST summer so far. I have been so lucky to go on these amazing vacations, and I can't wait to go on more vacations soon. 
Until then...
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