Welcome to Alexandrias! Your Home Away From Home

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Since my roommate arrived two days before me, my bed was the one on the right, without sheets and a welcome packet filled with information about the city, rules for the apartment and what to expect for the next few weeks.

The moment I arrived in Greece I didn’t have much time to process what was going on. I felt a whirlwind of emotions, mostly happiness, because I had finally made it. This was where I was supposed to be. After I got my luggage I was greeted by Efi and another coordinator from the study abroad program. We waited for one more student and then they rushed us off towards a taxi driver so we could go to our apartment.

The both of us were staying in Alexandrias. I don’t think it registered in our heads to look out the window and get our first close-up of Greece. We were both sweaty and exhausted and nervously got to know each other on the short ride to our new home away from home.

After a short drive, we ended up at our apartment. Outside, our resident advisor (RA) greeted us. A young woman of medium height with blonde hair and a big smile on her face. She helped us with our bags and directed us to the elevator to bring us to our separate rooms.

Even though I share a room with someone I was surprised by how big it was because in America the dorm rooms remind me of closets. They are very cramped and I consider them barely livable but then again Harry Potter lived in the cupboard under the stairs so I suppose students survive just fine.

We were the lucky ones though. Michele and I had cups, utensils, a pot and a pan so we could start cooking right away. They don’t give you those things when you come. You’re expected to buy them in a market close by, during a trip to IKEA (man, they have IKEA everywhere, don’t they?) or shove them in your luggage between your socks and shirts from home.

If you can't cook I advise you to learn some simple dishes. My roommate and I were amused because in American dorms a hot plate isn't allowed. Do Greeks trust their students more? Hm, you decide.
If you can’t cook I advise you to learn some simple dishes. My roommate and I were amused because in American dorms a hot plate isn’t allowed. Do Greeks trust their students more? Hm, you decide.

The only thing you might have trouble getting used to are the washing machines and their symbols. According to my friend, the cheery maintenance man of the building, the numbers (30, 40, 60, etc) do not tell you the time of the cycle for your clothing but the temperature. In his words, “It’s not like your home. It’s not like US.” The quickest cycle? 1 hour and 15 minutes.

These two washing machines may seem simple to use but they can be slightly confusing. They're also smaller than the machines I'm used to in the United States. Another thing to remember? Greeks don't use a machine to dry their clothes. You can hang your clothes out on the balcony to dry but no worries, they dry quickly.
These two washing machines may seem simple to use but they can be slightly confusing. They’re also smaller than the machines I’m used to in the United States. Another thing to remember? Greeks don’t use a machine to dry their clothes. You can hang your clothes out on the balcony to dry but no worries, they dry quickly.
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See what I mean about the symbols? It’s easy to understand why most people think the numbers actually tell you the time.
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A sign in English breaks down the washing machine symbols.
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The same sign that’s in English, is naturally in Greek as well.

He broke the news to me with a big grin and a slight chuckle.

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