For those of you bewiledered as to why I'm going to Greece at all, the short answer is "Inexplicably the Newton Public Schools and Brandeis teamed up to offer a classics class in Ancient Greece for teachers, and part of the class is we're required (I know, poor me) to go on a 2 week tour of Greece. Who exactly this class is aimed at besides me, your friendly former Classics major, remains a mystery, as the only other Newton teacher taking the class is my friend Mme Langlois, who I connived into taking it with me based on promises of beaches and baclava.
Besides us, people going on the trip include:
Doug, Mme Langlois' husband
Susan, the head of the Cambridge Public Library
Connie, the frazzled but very nice lady whose job seems to be to send a lot of email to us
Profesor H, the smart professor who doesn't talk much
Professor O, the professor who cries a lot
Some people who took the class last year and didn't get to go to due to Icelandic Volcanos
Some people taking the class online, including...
Susan Cooper. The author of The Dark is Rising.
I don't know how many times you've read Harry Potter, but I promise you, I've read the Dark is Rising more. I used to have dreams about it. It's set in Wales, which is the primary reason that last summer, for my 30th birthday, my family went to Wales. You may not know who Susan Cooper is (I was highly dismayed, upon going to two different bookstores, that only one had ANYTHING by her, and that was a giant compendium of all 5 Dark is Rising books that was way too fat to be enticing or carryable) but to me she is a GIANT celebrity. I have been alternating between totally freaking out about meeting her and being totally certain that she is going to bow out at the last minute, because really the idea of going on vacation with Susan Cooper is like the idea of Lady Gaga showing up at a Bigelow band concert- preposterous.
I have thought a LOT about meeting Susan Cooper and not much about actual Greece. My ideas about Greece fall into 2 categories: 1) D'Aulaires' book of Greek myths, the only book I read enough times to actually memorize and 2) the island in the movie Mamma Mia. You would think that my class would have expanded my views, but so far, not so much.
The other thing I've thought a lot about is Passover. This will be my 4th international seder, the previous 3 being the Stonehenge seder (people definitely thought we were druids and took a lot of photos), the Swiss seder (chocolate eggs for the seder plate!), and the Swedish seder (where we got to act out the plagues.) But this is my first ever seder without my family. Which will be weird. So Susan Cooper better be prepared to sing the 4 Questions.
OK. I really do have to pack. Next post: from Greece! If my predictions are correct, Mme Langlois and the God Apollo and Susan Cooper and I will be singing "Dancing Queen" on a sandy beach in fewer than 48 hours. I can't wait.