Monday, August 31, 2009


7:47 am Copenhagen time/1:47 am East Coast time:

Greeting from Denmark! As I write this I am in the Copenhagen airport, the land of tall blonde attractive people. For those who watch TrueBlood, I have learned the true origins of Eric.

Anywho, my first flight (the one from Dulles to Copenhagen) went as follows. I was not a fan of the plane’s design. The plane was obviously a good size, therefore it had a carry on storage thingy above the center row (just not on the sides like smaller planes), however this center thing was “barely” connected to the ceiling, so everyone there was the slightest bump it would shake like hell and make you feel like it would fall at any moment (plus it was terribly loud), which was scary for people like me sitting below it. I did have some entertainment from the woman a seat away from me. Lets just say she like the Pink Panther two movie a little too much, which resulted in her so loud and so frequently that three people (who also spoke three different languages) came up to her to tell her to be quiet. Besides that, I sadly got at most forty minutes of sleep, and the other time was spent either watching Watchmen or watching Harry Potter 2 twice.

The Copenhagen airport looks exactly like I thought an airport in Denmark would look like. It is very clean and every four feet there is a vodka bar. My only criticism is that they took my bottle water away, even though it was from past US security. I think it was shocking, because when was the last time the Danish government/Denmark made you angry? Probably never, that’s what I thought.

While walking to connection I met a really nice girl from Emory who is studying abroad in Milan. She had never been to Europe before and was overwhelmed with taking everything in, which in return got me even more excited in my sleep deprived state.

Now I am currently sitting at my gate, which leaves in less than two hours for Athens! However, the gate is super trendy with cute little bubble seats which makes a quick sprawled out nap impossible. Athens in less than five hours!

***I am now in Athens. It is basically like freshmen orientation all over again, but in a faraway land....will update asap on arrival once things become less hectic :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Today is very surreal. I knew I wanted to study abroad before I even applied to college. I was 80% sure I wanted to study abroad in Greece before going to Duke....and now tomorrow I am actually leaving to study abroad in Athens. I am beyond excited, a bit nervous, and in shock all at the same time. As of 3:22 pm on saturday, I am pleased to say I am 93% packed (probably laughing at the percentage I chose). Packing always goes well when you have Harry Potter (the only dvd that I am bringing with me by the way...) on in the background though. I am packed in two checked bags and one little carry on that I can use for traveling once there.
In addition, I have however said most of my goodbyes by this point, as many of you know I am terrible at goodbyes and they make me incredibly sad.
My flight tomorrow is out of Dulles at 5:15 to Copenhagen (which I'm actually sad I only get to see the airport, because I have wanted to visit Copenhagen for a long time, in addition to it being one of my favorite words to say). I arrive at 7:15 in Copenhagen and then catch a 9:15 flight to Athens, arriving in Athens at 1:30ish their time. So basically a quick whirlwind trip.

Fast forward a couple hours: The amazing Erin Mee came over and we "raged" over me going to Athens, which was wonderful. For the big last night in the U.S. (besides the rage with Erin), doing some last minute packing while watching Adventureland with mi madre.

Before I leave I want to wish everyone at Duke an amazing semester, and I want to wish everyone an amazing upcoming months while I'm gone. Whether you are in Blacksburg, Williamsburg, Durham, Richmond, Palo Alto/SF or studying abroad somewhere wonderful please keep me updated. I will always be wanting to hear from you.

love from one last night in the U.S.,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


So far I have figured out which warm/fall clothes to bring. To me this is a success. Next step is to figure out what winter clothes to bring, which are still packed because I have yet to unpack my winter clothes from college, great move on my part as it turns out. The other night Anthony Bourdain did a show on Greece (love that show). He spent half the show in Crete, which is exciting because the program I'm going to (College Year in Athens/CYA) takes us to Crete for almost a week later on in the semester. It got me super excited for the amazing seafood. Got even more excited for the sea urchin, apparently it is amazing there. love good uni :)
New goal: Join a local gym in Athens--I believe this will be an experience in itself. Never been to a European gym.

Some of you might now, but I will have a cell phone in Greece. To reach me call + 1 757-263-4054. The call is free to the caller, but it charges me about .30 cents a minute. Therefore, puhlease download skype and use it to the fullest. My skype name is erin.malone.smolla--pretty easy to remember. Or IM me at Sportfire3.

Also, if anyone out there has recommendations on places to visit/see, let me know :)

countdown to Greece: 4 days

Monday, August 24, 2009


I'm not quite sure you can really prepare for studying/living three months abroad. Sure you can pack correctly, but I honestly think that is overrated. It is Monday night (I leave Sunday morning) and have yet to do any packing, or anything in preparation for my departure. However, I have made some goals for the upcoming semester:
1. Since the program I am going to does not include dinner, my goal is to become a "mini-master" of Greek cooking. I will hopefully be able to make numerous dishes upon my return. I hope to recreate my dishes for loved ones when I get back (and hopefully they will enjoy it).
2. Learn the language. I am taking Greek 101, and I hope by the end of the semester I can go to a local market for that night's dinner and be able to have all my conversations in Greek.
3. Travel, travel, travel. I very much hope I make it to Santorini and Mykonos early on since the islands apparently "close down" when not in season. I also greatly hope I make it to Istanbul and Cairo during a longer break.

**will post more goals as they materialize

Random thoughts:
For those of you who don't know, I am the only Duke student going on my program and therefore I know nobody. I think this will only make my abroad experience even that more exciting.

I learned yesterday that the outskirts of Athens is on fire, however it has not reached the heart of Athens and it appears it is not going to.

I am going to blog my experience this semester to the best of my ability. In addition, I will share recipes I learn while abroad so maybe those at home will be inspired to also try some Greek cuisine.

More importantly, I have no true expectations for this semester. I am simply going in looking for nothing in particular but the experience itself.

Countdown till Greece: 6 days