During My Three Weeks Spent In Greece, I Learned Quite A Couple Random Things.

I Traveled To Greece For Three Weeks And Learned These 13 Random Facts And Tips

Did you know that pita is an actual bread? I honestly just thought it came in chip-form.


This past January, I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Greece with roughly twenty-five other classmates while we learned about the history of so many incredible cities. I had been to Greece briefly two summers, and by briefly, I mean we made two day-long stops on two different islands while on a cruise. This time, I was truly going to be immersing myself in the culture and among the people.

I'm familiar with Europe in general, but I had always pegged Greece as much different from the other European countries I had visited before. Therefore, I was a bit nervous going into the trip, but I knew I was going to have a blast, and I was certainly right. Throughout the entire trip, I made a couple of interesting discoveries regarding the country, the world, and myself. Don't let that sincerity fool you, though. This list, while true, consists of purely random and comical findings.

1. Pita bread is in fact, a bread.


Yes, the sub-headline is true. I did not know that pita bread was in fact, bread. I truly only knew of pita in the form of pita chips, and I thought that was it. But I was wrong, and thank goodness! Pita bread is absolutely delicious.

2. I can go longer than three hours without food.  I am shocked.


I am someone who usually gets hungry every couple of hours, especially if I have an early breakfast. Most days, we had a busy schedule in the morning that consisted of eating breakfast and leaving the hotel before 9 a.m. We'd usually then have a site or museum and sometimes wouldn't actually eat until close to 2:30 p.m. Much to my surprise, I made it without snacking, and I'm still alive.

3. Double rainbows are real, and they are just as beautiful as you'd imagine.

Reilly Marzen

Greece is beautiful enough, but during our visit to Crete, we were blessed with the presence of not one but TWO double rainbows on rainy days. One of the times it appeared was over the war cemetery we visited in Chania. I had honestly never seen anything quite so stunning before.

4. "Grilled cheese" is truly cheese that is grilled.  It is NOT a sandwich.


Ah yes, coming across this realization stung a little bit. I remember absolutely craving a nice grilled cheese sandwich, and when I saw it listed on the menu for one of our group dinners, I was thrilled. When they brought out some kind of Greek cheese that was grilled, I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little disappointed. Don't worry though, it was still delicious.

5. It is 100% okay to not tip at restaurants.  No one is expecting you to.


You'll hear a lot about when it is right to tip in European restaurants because they have different expectations regarding tipping than we do in the United States. Sometimes, you can tip if the service was excellent, but honestly, you probably won't ever feel like tipping. The running of restaurants is just different there, as people like the take their time. So seriously, you do not have to tip. No one is expecting you to. (side note: while it may take longer to get your food or get the attention of a waiter, be patient. You're in a different country with different expectations. Being rude and impatient because things may be slower does not reflect well on us Americans.)

6. Learning a little bit of language goes a long way.


I cannot emphasize this enough. Learning some common phrases is not only fun, but it shows the Greek people that you care about connecting with them. They'll appreciate a simple 'kalimera' (good morning) and 'kalispera' (good evening), even if you butcher the pronunciation completely.

7. Gyros are a picky-eater's best friend.


When I say I'm a picky eater, I mean I am THE picky-eater. I was worried about what I was going to eat while over in Greece because I did not know of one Greek dish that I liked. However, on the second day at lunch, I tried the most heavenly chicken wrapped in the best pita bread. This honestly saved me. Going forward, I knew that I'd be set in terms of food if I could just find a place that had gyros. Gyros are always the move. I'm absolutely serious.

8. Waffles and crepes are not just desserts.  They are acceptable anytime of the day.

Reilly Marzen

Countless waffles and crepes also saved me during my trip. Europe is really big on Nutella, so I was able to find waffles and crepes with Nutella almost ANYWHERE. A lot of cafes and bars open late also offered them on the dessert/snack menu, which was just amazing for a midnight snack. Do not be afraid to order a waffle at 8 p.m. for dinner. It's so worth it. (Disclaimer: Greek people LOVE to load up on the Nutella, so don't be afraid to specify that you don't want your waffle drowning in it.)

9. It is okay to pet the stray cats.

Reilly Marzen

One thing that a lot of people will tell you, especially in a foreign country, is don't pet the stray animals. Now, usually I would listen if they weren't so friendly. However, our group attracted the sweetest stray animals who just wanted some love and attention. Just don't let them viciously bite you or claw your skin (if you don't scream or anything like that, then you won't have a problem). It also might be nice to carry around hand sanitizer for before meals, just to make sure.

10. French fries are certainly not just an American food.


French fries are everywhere. I mean everywhere. If you need a break from all of the common Greek delicacies, just order a side of fries. Most places will have them, making it feel more like home.

11. Finding clothes that are both cute and cheap is EASY!


You're lying to yourself if you say you're not going to buy a lot of clothes while abroad. Luckily though, depending on where you go, Greece has a lot of cheaper chain stores where you can find incredibly cute and affordable clothes. Even in a small town in the countryside, we found the cutest H&M-like store that had great deals and such a wide range of clothes. I was able to get so many cute items from European stores without spending a lot of money at all.



This is also so so important. Even on the really narrow streets will cars and motorcycles try to squeeze through. Just always keep your eyes and ears peeled for any indication of a car or motorcycle about to whiz past you.

13. Greek people do not appreciate "Mo Bamba" like we Americans do.


Lastly, and perhaps most important in this day in age, do not request "Mo Bamba" at karaoke. I know, it's upsetting. You'll hear a lot of other American music, but I guess "Mo Bamba" is not a fan-favorite. A lot of young locals might look at you like you're ridiculous.

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I Visited The "Shameless" Houses And Here's Why You Shouldn't

Glamorizing a less-than-ideal way to live.

After five hours of driving, hearing the GPS say, "Turn right onto South Homan Avenue" was a blessing.

My eyes peeled to the side of the road, viciously looking for what I have been driving so long for, when finally, I see it: the house from "Shameless."

"Shameless" is a hit TV show produced by Showtime. It takes place in modern-day Southside, Chicago. The plot, while straying at times, largely revolves around the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. While a majority of the show is filmed offsite in a studio in Los Angeles, many outside scenes are filmed in Southside and the houses of the Gallagher's and side-characters are very much based on real houses.

We walked down the street, stopped in front of the two houses, took pictures and admired seeing the house in real life. It was a surreal experience and I felt out of place like I didn't belong there. As we prepared to leave (and see other spots from the show), a man came strolling down on his bicycle and asked how we were doing.

"Great! How are you?"

It fell silent as the man stopped in front of the Gallagher house, opened the gate, parked his bike and entered his home. We left a donation on his front porch, got back to the car and took off.

As we took the drive to downtown Chicago, something didn't sit right with me. While it was exciting to have this experience, I began to feel a sense of guilt or wrongdoing. After discussing it with my friends, I came to a sudden realization: No one should visit the "Gallagher" house.

The plot largely revolves the Gallagher family and their continual struggle with (extreme) poverty. It represents what Southside is like for so many residents. While TV shows always dramatize reality, I realized coming to this house was an exploitation of their conditions. It's entertaining to see Frank's shenanigans on TV, the emotional roller coasters characters endure and the outlandish things they have to do to survive. I didn't come here to help better their conditions, immerse myself in what their reality is or even for the donation I left: I came here for my entertainment.

Southside Chicago is notoriously dangerous. The thefts, murders and other crimes committed on the show are not a far-fetched fantasy for many of the residents, it's a brutal reality. It's a scary way to live. Besides the Milkovich home, all the houses typically seen by tourists are occupied by homeowners. It's not a corporation or a small museum, it's their actual property. I don't know how many visitors these homes get per day, week, month or year. Still, these homeowners have to see frequent visitors at any hour of the day, interfering with their lives. In my view, coming to their homes and taking pictures of them is a silent way of glamorizing the cycle of poverty. It's a silent way of saying we find joy in their almost unlivable conditions.

The conceit of the show is not the issue. TV shows have a way of romanticizing very negative things all the time. The issue at hand is that several visitors are privileged enough to live in a higher quality of life.

I myself experienced the desire and excitement to see the houses. I came for the experience but left with a lesson. I understand that tourism will continue to the homes of these individuals and I am aware that my grievances may not be shared with everyone, however, I think it's important to take a step back and think about if this were your life. Would you want hundreds, potentially thousands, of people coming to your house? Would you want people to find entertainment in your lifestyle, good and bad?

I understand the experience, excitement, and fun the trip can be. While I recommend skipping the houses altogether and just head downtown, it's most important to remember to be respectful to those very individuals whose lives have been affected so deeply by "Shameless."

Cover Image Credit: itsfilmedthere.com

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10 Vacation Destinations That Are Worth Hopping Over To During Easter Break

Colored eggs and chocolate are not the only treats you can get for Easter Break.


Easter is a time to spend with family, have time away from school, go out with friends, and remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. However, it is also an opportunity to visit many fun and exciting locations. Whether you love swimming, dancing at clubs, indulging in five-star restaurants, or getting a massage, there are a variety of activities that will make anyone's Easter more enjoyable. Here are 10 vacation locations that will meet the needs of any family this Easter.

1. The Royal Hawaiian

Hawaii is one of the best places to visit for vacation. Families will love walking along the shore, getting delicious food or drinks at one of the many bars, and even stopping by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a massage at the Abhasa Waikiki Spa. If you are courageous enough, head out to the beach for surfing or just to relax. With so many sites to explore, this is a vacation that will bring lasting memories.

2. Berry Springs Lodge

Here is a nice and quiet location that is definitely a treat if you want to experience a less hectic vacation. The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee is great for anyone who loves taking photos or exploring landscapes. There are two Whirlpool Suites with a fireplace, deck, and whirlpool that gives you an awesome view of the mountains. Activities include playing a game of pool and going on a mountain bike through the nearby trail, so try to stay observant and take in the environment.

3. Lake Austin Spa Resort

If you plan on traveling to a much warmer state for the holiday break, then this would a good choice. This resort is just a short drive away from Austin and is an excellent place to take it easy. Here you can stay at one of the cottages, take a nap by the fireplace, stroll through the outdoor garden, get a massage at the spa or have a seat in the hot tub. This is a vacation that will certainly take your stress away.

4. Fredericksburg

This is another city located in the state of Texas that features a special Easter tradition that families will love. Dress up for the Easter pageant and have a fun time. Visitors can see the Easter fires in the surrounded area that light up the night. There are plenty of food, drinks, and activities to keep everyone occupied, and ensure that they will have a happy Easter.

5. Bay St. Louis

Here is a vacation spot in Mississippi to celebrate Easter. All families will enjoy watching the sunrise and hunting for Easter eggs. Other activities to check out include the Stella, Blues and Barbecue festival for some tasty food and fun. There is also a yelling contest in which participants scream "Stella!" which is a reference to "A Streetcar Named Desire." No matter what you choose to do, this location will result in plenty of excitement, laughter, and possibly a sore throat.

6. Flagstaff

If you are traveling with a small or big family and do not mind the heat, then head down to this destination located in the very hot state of Arizona. The land is beautiful and gives photographers a chance to capture the amazing forests and mountains there. If you are feeling adventurous, check out the Snowbowl Ski Resort or if you want to take it slow, there is always Humphreys Peak where you will see gorgeous landscapes. Lastly, make sure to visit one of the restaurants that they have to offer for a delicious breakfast for an amazing start to the day ahead.

7. Lake Powell

This destination features cool rock landscapes and is located on the border of Utah and Arizona. Despite the place being surrounded by boulders, families can still have a fun time. You can take photos of the environment or visit a petting zoo. Take a walk around the land, find a spot to catch some fish for dinner, and you will agree this vacation definitely rocks.

8. Santa Monica

Here is an awesome vacation spot for anyone who loves working out and engaging in various outdoor activities. This is the place where you will find the Half Marathon for Easter. There are other options like the 5k, 10k, or 15k run, as well. The weather is sunny and it's a nice place to go for a swim, visit a farmer's market or participate in other Easter themed events.

9. Savannah

Do not let the heat discourage you from visiting this location. There are multiple gardens and parks to check out, along with markets and a music festival. If you are looking for additional fun, there is a Savannah Riverboat Cruise for families to travel around the city. There are a variety of delicious options for brunch or dinner, and other surprises for your holiday.

10. St. Augustine

During Easter vacation, there are so many things to do with family and friends. If you decide to travel to this location, you will enjoy the Easter parade known as the Parada de los Caballos y Coches or the Parade of Horses and Coaches. If you are looking for a nice family event, head on down to the parade and listen to the music. The horses and carriages are great to see as well, and there are multiple restaurants located around the city when you need a break from the festivities.

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