The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular!

Ladies and gentlemen, κυρίες και κύριοι, you’re reading the 100th post of Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough! When I began this blog a year ago, I never dreamed it would be this much fun. 100 posts, 650 comments, and 25,000 page views from 120 different countries later, Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough is just as exciting and challenging to me as it was when I was living in Greece.

While abroad, I constantly had in mind the chief goal of the Fulbright program: to increase cross-cultural understanding through familiarity, thereby working toward world peace. Now that I’m home and a Fulbright alum, I still take that duty seriously–I find myself still seeking ways to contribute to that goal, and this blog has become my primary way to do so. On a personal level, it’s amazing how my writing, cultural understanding and sense of self have changed, and I’m so grateful to have this record of those changes. Blogging has also led me to realize my goals as a writer, and helped me (finally!) find my genre. Delving into creative nonfiction like this has been both a very serious endeavor and an utterly ridiculous joy for me, especially when it comes to travel writing. When discussing my blog with a friend yesterday, she said, “Your blog is like a job.” It’s true, but what other job would let me sit around in my American Farm School sweatshirt, guzzle coffee, blast Greek pop and giggle as I type out the word “duty”?

Above all, παιδιά, I want to thank you all for reading. One of the lovely things about the medium of the blog is that it allows for discourse, sometimes with people you wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to converse with. Thanks for continuing to talk travel, teaching, running, and, of course, Greece with me. As a writer, I feel really lucky to have such an audience. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege!

So, with drum rolls, fanfare, cannons, fireworks and kazoos in the background, let’s take a look at the first year of Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough. Oh no, are you already out of champagne ouzo? Let’s get you another glass, friend! We’ve only just begun!

August 2010 – Salutation! Please to enjoy blog document in language, the fruitful and stimulating of glorious human adventure!

My Teach Yourself Greek book, with the creepy dolls on the cover.

…If you’re on the ball today, you caught the several different spellings of the vowel sound “i,” as well as the fact that “v” is “n,” “p” is “r,” “x” is “h,” “u” is one spelling of “i,” and “y” is “g.” YEAH. AWESOME. And did I mention that semi-colons are now question marks? It’s nuts—in college, I studied a little Arabic and a little Japanese, and had an easier time learning those alphabets because at least they don’t have English letters that mean something other than what they mean in English! (Though pronunciation is easier; I once practically threw up in Arabic class trying to pronounce a guttural “q.”) …

September 2010 – Senator Fulbright, I Salute Thee.

2010-2011 Greece Fulbrighters!

If you have ever been interested in studying, researching, or teaching abroad, or even just doing something totally extraordinary, do yourself a freakin’ service and apply for a Fulbright grant. I say this now because I’ve just returned from my Fulbright orientation in Athens and Aegina, and I have truly never been so electrified by a sense of purpose in my entire life as I am now. …

October 2010 – “I Hope Your Sheep is Doing Well,” and Other Things I’ve Accidentally Said in Greek

…With that and accidentally saying “You are a restroom?” instead of “You have a restroom?” to the server at an ice cream shop in Nea Moudania this weekend, and watching one of the interns point to the food at lunch and say “You are good!!” instead of “It is good!!” to one of the kitchen ladies, I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly what it means to learn a language through immersion. ...

Also from October of 2010: A Smattering of Tidbits in Alphabetical Order

November 2010 – The Only (and Best!) Birthday I’ve Ever Celebrated in a Foreign Country

Micah and I with our olive branch crowns after everyone sang to us.

…Looking back, I’m amazed I didn’t suspect that Carrie & Ashley would have some sort of birthday shenanigans planned for lunch, where all students on campus over the weekend would be in the cafeteria. Ashley had made Micah and I each an olive branch crown to wear while everyone in the cafeteria (I’m going to guess about 75 people) sang “Happy Birthday” to us while pounding on the lunch tables! …

Also from November of 2010: Meet My Little Fat Friend, A Moment and A Day in the Life

December 2010 – “It’s Just a Goat Head”: Changing Concepts of Normalcy at the Three-Month Mark

Well, folks, it’s been three months since I arrived in Greece. It’s hard to believe that my time here is almost a third over. So much has happened and changed. While talking with a friend the other day about my ever-evolving concept of “normal,” I decided it was time to take stock of those changes. There are some things that are a part of my every day life here that I wouldn’t have ever dreamed would be!

Also from December of 2010: Let it be known that even if you are from Montana and happen to be on a Greek island in November, the water is still freakin’ FREEZING.

January 2011 – Six Things I Did with My Six Hours in Budapest

Gorgeous statues (at least some of which are from mythology; I recognized Leda and the swan) adorn the edges of the pools.

…I’m not a girl who thinks about this sort of thing often, but as I sat soaking in a blissful daze in the hottest pool, I found myself thinking that I’d like to come here with my future husband one day, whoever he may be. The whole experience had such an air of romance, whether that was between couples or, in my case, with myself, basking in the glow of my self-date on my solo adventure in Budapest.

Also from January of 2011: Teacher Face, (Greek) Kids Say the Darnedest Things, and The Time I Stayed with a Greek Family for the First Time and Almost Accidentally Mooned Them While Saying Goodbye

February 2011 – What Do You Get When You Mix Telephone, Pictionary, and a Bunch of Greek Teenagers?

Students laughing over the results of one stack, which began as "A new beginning" and ended with a sunflower taking a bath.

As a teacher of English as a foreign language, I’ve come to rely on what I like to call the Sneaky Teacher Motive. The Sneaky Teacher Motive is in its element when it represents a real lesson lurking in the background of a really fun game. STMs help keep students and teachers happy. Everyone wins! …Today was perhaps the best Sneaky Teacher Motive I’ve ever put into action. My friends and I play a game back home called “Telephone Pictionary,” as it’s a mix of the two games. …

Also from February of 2011: Fulbright Greece Across the Generations and “Is Good Gymnastic!”: My First Three Weeks of Half-Marathon Training in Greece

March 2011 – Adventures in Lesvos: the Perfectionisticus Totallus, out of Her Natural Habitat

"The girls." These three ladies were my company for a cup of coffee on a cold day in Agiasos, Lesvos. It was a challenge to get through an hour of speaking Greek, but with the aid of gestures, we got by, and it quickly became one of my favorite unexpected adventures I've had in Greece.

…The women stopped talking and looked up at me. Unsure if the cafe was supposed to be closed or not, I said, “Er… thelo na ena cafe?” (“I’d like a coffee”). …”Sit down,” they said amiably. When I went to make for a different table, they looked confused. It was then that I realized I was supposed to sit down with them. So I did. The oldest of the women (on the far right in the picture) was the owner of the kafenio, and she brought me my coffee. And then we talked in Greek for about an hour. …

Also from March of 2011: My Week Without Running: a Tragicomedy in Six Acts

April 2011 – My First Half Marathon: It Was the Most Amazingly, Life-Changingly Euphoric of Times, It Was the Most Bleepity Bleeping BLEEEEP of times.

The final push across the bridge!

…Devastated, all I could do was continue. I was shocked, upset, anxious and even terrified for the miles to come, as I now had to face an even greater distance of new territory and the tremendously humbling realization that I was even slower than I had thought. But there I was, all alone with my music, the pavement and a handful of other runners. At this point, I was reminded of one very important thing: I’m mortal. Relying solely on my own body to propel me forward, with legs that were already starting to ache, my only choices were to quit or be a human-powered machine. I chose the latter.

Also from April of 2011 (a seriously epic month!): Christos Anesti!, The Top Ten of My Trip to Santorini, Nerding Out in Crete: My Kazantzakis Pilgrimage, Riding in Pickup Trucks with Greek Boys, and Other Adventures from My Trip to Pilio, and Prague in Pictures

May 2011 – Finding Konstantinos: A Peterson Family Pilgrimage

The first picture my parents took of Konstantinos, while walking along the road.

…It was wonderful to have the chance to spend some time paying homage to Konstantinos, a man who was so kind to my parents when they were on their own traveling odyssey.  The feeling of finally being in the place where this amazing family legend actually took place was remarkable. Greece, being so steeped in history and tradition, often gives the sense of being able to simply jump right through time: to skip around the centuries and decades as easily as if one was diving into a pool. That’s exactly how I felt as I was standing at the tomb of Konstantinos Bastounis.

Also from May of 2011: And That’s How I Injured the Only Other Knee I Have, Dinner with the Legend, My Top 10 Strangest Experiences on Public Buses in Greece, and My Weekend with Sokratis

June 2011 – The Great City of Istanbul, from A-Z

Braving the crowds on my quest to find the perfect scarf!

…Grand Bazaar – How could G not be for Grand Bazaar? The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. … It is packed with tourists and locals to the point where you can hardly move at times, and with so many shiny, colorful things and noisy racket going on all around you, I’d describe it as sensory overload on crack. That said, once you let yourself indulge, it’s a blast! I myself really get into haggling, and I dare say I got some steals with the comeback “But sir, I’m just a poor teacher…” The vendors certainly have their own arsenal of lines, some more business-based than others. Though “Hello my angel, how can I help you spend your money?” and “Darlings, come look at my rubbish!” got us giggling, this year’s grand prize goes to, and I quote, “Come back to my heart, meow meow!”

Also from June of 2011: The Eleven Commandments of Traveling in Greece and Intercultural Bewilderment: My Turkish Bath Adventure

July 2011 – Our Golden Girl

Carpe Flingball, Abbie. I hope there are hot dogs and bunnies wherever you are.

…That night, Mom, Dad, Boyfriend and I went out to dinner to celebrate the life of Abbie. Loved by all, she was a remarkable creature, and I can’t think of anything better to do now than celebrate what a lovely little doggie life she lived. Therefore: the tribute post. …

Also from July of 2011: Spice Cupcakes with Pecan Buttercream Filling and Espresso Frosting and Power-Tripping TSA Hulk Lady vs. Jet-lagged Culture-Shocked Ginger, and Other Tales from my 50+ Hour Transit Nightmare Home from Greece

August 2011 – How Greece Changed the Way I Think About Food

A close-up of some heavenly spanakopita. Look at all those layers!

…Eating more vegetables and sweetening things with honey instead of sugar have inspired other changes along the road to eating healthier, like seeking out whole-grain products and (eureka!) stopping eating before I feel like I’m made out of bread/peanut butter/cheese/other culinary vice of choice.

Also from August of 2011: My First Day of College-Level Teaching

And with that, bottoms up to the next 100! …Are you out again? What number is this for you anyway? …Five?! Wow. Clearly, you’ve learned a lot from this blog. You’re well on your way to becoming Greek yourself! 😉

Στην υγειά μας,



About wrap me in phyllo dough

travel addict. greece-obsessed. grad student. bottomless pit.
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2 Responses to The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular!

  1. What a wonderful round up, all the highs and lows of a year. I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels and seeing all the great food photos. Congrats on 100!

  2. Pingback: The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular! » Greece on WEB

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