As I flipped through my pictures of Greece on my flight home to Texas, I realized that there are so many things I didn’t capture. I couldn’t possibly photograph what it felt like to finally be done with a story after weeks of work, or the irony of wanting a vacation after spending more than two weeks in a hotel or how it felt to be re-entering reality.

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This Dialogue was an incredibly rewarding experience. Going in as a first year journalism major was overwhelming, to put it lightly. I had little experience and my only published works (all four of them) were about rowing. Now I have (almost) three internationally reported stories that I can be proud of, countless hours of successful interviews and have become much more comfortable badgering people over the phone. Olivia, the love of my life, said it perfectly; It is impossible to give anything other than 100 percent to this time-intensive and demanding dialogue. While that isn’t always easy, I am so glad I stepped away from my life back home for 5 weeks. I have learned an incredible amount about journalism, perhaps more than I learned during the academic year, and am so grateful for the experience.

Going back to school and applying to co-ops in the fall seems a little bit less daunting now. I am returning confident in my ability to write, but also with the ability to adapt myself to any situation.

I’m in a weird limbo of missing Greece and being excited to start my home routine. It feels like I’ve been gone for months because of how much I’ve learned and experienced, while I can also remember the day I left in perfect detail.

I know I’ll miss the daily sense of newness and adventure. I’ll miss working on something I’m passionate about. I already miss my wonderful friends. I have found so many fulfilling and wonderful relationships within this trip that I will treasure forever. It was so wonderful to work with and get to know so many talented journalists. I’ve already scrolled through everyone’s picture on the nujournalismingreece2017 Meet Our Team page with my parents and told them a little about everyone, both because they were curious and I wanted to brag about how cool my new friends are.

There are so many parts of this dialogue that are worth remembering and sharing. I will always remember getting trapped in a contemporary art piece with Isaac as we waited out a surprise hail storm. We made friends while playing pick up sticks with the other six people there, and a few days later I passed the restaurant one of them was working in and she ran out, waving her hands in the air, and gave me a huge hug.

I will always remember the beauty of Mount Olympus; the complete silence apart from the clear streams rushing down the mountain, and how delicately the fog touched the peaks.

I will always remember the kindness of Father Athenagoras Loukataris and Faros Tou Kosmou, who welcomed us into their center without question or hesitation, and the sense of awe I found in Meteora and the peace I felt in Kalampaka.

I will always remember sangria nights with Asia, Paxtyn and Sophie, laughing until our stomachs hurt and taking selfies with the Casa Bianca waiters.

I will never forget the Thessaloniki boardwalk and watching the sun set on my birthday with my feet dangling over the water, or how tired I was of that orange diner down the street from the apartment.

I made a small video to say goodbye to Thessaloniki, so now I’m doing the same with Athens- along with all the other places we stopped along the way.

Goodbye for now, Greece.

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