Five Things I Enjoyed While Living in Athens in the Summer

downloadA bright light hits my face while I’m on my bed. I do a little yoga and prepare some eggs with ham. The eggs sizzle on the skillet as I place cinnamon crunch bagels in the toaster oven. It’s around seven a.m. on a Wednesday and my day in Athens has begun.

Being in Athens for the summer has been a tranquil time, and I’m here to tell you five things I really enjoyed while living in Athens.

1. The Post-Apocalyptic Theme around Campus
I hear loud beeping and crushing noises as I ride my bicycle on the bike path. The
Hocking River glimmers against the sunlight as bulldozers and wrecking balls
smash against the brick walls of some South Green buildings. I rarely see more than 10 people when I leave my house, apart from campus tours that are occurring around south beach and the new south dorm area. One of my classes is on West Green, which is just as desolate. I like being able to ride my bike without trying to navigate through the masses during the fall and spring semesters. The whole atmosphere is quiet and it is a relaxing change of pace from how hectic campus can be.

2. The Free Time
I have two academic responsibilities: tutoring and two summer classes. Both
things are not too demanding and that leaves me with free time. I still
procrastinate on some work since I have summer motivation to do work. The one
show that I am obsessing about is Game of Thrones. I read the books last year and
fell in the love with the series ever since. The focus of my free time has been reading and writing. I really enjoy free writing since seeing my stream of consciousness on a piece of paper can help me ease my mind of my petty stressors. In addition, I have read several books this summer; most of them were self-improvement, like 92 Ways to Talk to People and The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. I also read some other books, like Bossypants
written by Tina Fey, and The Exorcism.

3. The Weather
The sun beams down on the bike path as I bike to Peden to tutor. The scenery is
beautiful and is one of my favorite parts of my day: the luscious green trees sway
as a light breeze sweeps around the area. It cools me as I pedal across the empty,
paved path. It does not stop me from sweating with my book bag on. I sometimes sweat
so much when I bike that I bring a hand cloth and an extra shirt. Hot, sunny days
are common in Athens. It has rained a total of eight times this summer. However, when it rains, it pours. My house has a roofed front porch and I like to sit outside on one of the couches with a book. The rain surrounds my sight, with dark clouds and whistling wind
accompanying it. A background noise of the “pit pats” of the teardrops hit the
concrete and puddles as I turn to the next page of my book. I always feel relaxed
and enjoy the rain from a distance.

4. Local Events
I went to Boogie on the Bricks and had a lot of fun! The stage was filled with
music, locals and food trucks were lined up on the street. It was like Halloween,
except without the massive crowd and costumes. Other events in the summer included the Nelsonville Music Festival and Ohio Brew Week.

5. Cooking
The stove emits a blue flame under a pot full of water. An adjacent flame is
cooking a marinated chicken. I start dicing broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes as I
continue to watch the chicken, waiting to flip it. A rice cooker near the stove flips
from COOKING to WARM, and sticky white rice awaits to be eaten. I consider
myself an OK cook at the moment, but it was definitely not like that in the
beginning of the summer. I always relied on Nelson, Shively, and my parents for food. Now that I am alone, I had to learn how to cook. I saw the concept overwhelming at first.
The first few times I cooked was awful. I made spaghetti that was under-cooked
with the WORST meatballs I have ever seen. Gordon Ramsey would have had a
field day about my skills. My mashed potatoes still had potato peels and I am
shocked I am not dead yet with the chicken I “cooked”.
However, things started to change when I noticed my mistakes. I should mix all
the ingredients before I put the ground beef into the shape of balls. Use less salt
when boiling water for food. I needed to cut the chicken breast in half before
calling it cooked. The biggest thing that helped me was friends that were cooking
long before I have. Our house has a charcoal grill so people come over to cook
and I observe them. I also ask for their advice about cooking my meals, which
helped me make some delicious meals.

Overall, I am happy at how much I have been working on myself this summer.
Being away from my parents and original home helped me realize that this is the
way things are going to be in a few years and I better know how to swim when I
am thrown into the metaphorical pool of life. I still have a lot to learn about living
on my own, but living in Athens for the summer was a great taste of what is
in store for me.

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Adam Maslowski is a junior strategic communication major with a minor in computer science. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMaslowski.

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