What am I doing in Greece?

So everyone seems to know what I am doing in Greece, but you might be wondering why I am not taking pictures of fun adventures and things of that nature.

I’m not here for vacation, play, or anything like that. I am here for school.

I am attending the University of Peloponnese in Kalamata studying Cultural Heritage Materials and Technologies. In short I am furthering my education in Conservation though I am increasing the science/technical base instead of the physical aspect of doing the repair treatments.

This semester is quite difficult and right now I am learning about different techniques to determine the provenance of an object (basically where it comes from, and looking at how the materials are moving around the world before they become a finished object). So in the last few days I’ve learned a bit about XRD, LIBS, Raman and SEM. We use these tools (X-ray machines, Electron Scanning Microscopes, Lasers) to look at the chemical structures of the objects we are trying to conserve so we can better know what treatments will be most effective for the object, and to know the absolute age of the object and its history.

I absolutely love what we are learning even though a lot of it is going over my head. I am getting better at looking at graphs and being able to make conclusions from them. Not only that but also using the correct words to describe what I am seeing because they matter.

Soon I’ll get to go to some cool places, but for now I’m a homebody… Studying and truly exploring Kalamata, my home away from home.

If it helps I’m also trying to get good at conversational Greek so life gets hectic.

Best wishes for your day and your upcoming weekend.
Patrick

Two weeks

You give two weeks notice before you quit a job as a courtesy to your employer so that they can get you to hand off your projects and other tasks to someone else.

Well everyone I’ve been in Greece for two weeks and a few things have happened.
1. I moved into my apartment
2. I started school

So I guess it is real now. America had my two weeks, now I live in Greece.

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As I sit at this desk I wanted to show you around the new apartment. I needed two bedrooms to be able to have friends and family to come visit me. So if you needed an invitation here it is: Come visit!

From here we move into the entry way:

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From here we move into the living room

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Plenty of room to relax and talk while enjoying the breeze!
From here we’ll move onto the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.

I absolutely love this kitchen and love that I still have the chance to cook and explore recipes. Hopefully soon I’ll start learning some Greek recipes so that when I come home people will get to taste Greek.

I have started to study and absolutely love learning about clay’s, metals, glass, paper, and history. I am still worried about using the instruments to get data that I then have to interrupt but they will teach me and I will succeed!

The most important thing I have learned so far is that Greek people are so friendly, nice, and loud. Everyone should become more Greek, I have met a lot of people around the world and out of all the European’s I have met I have found the Greek people to be the most open, friendly, caring, cool, beautiful, wonderful people. They readily switch to English for me and I just hope I’ll be able to hold conversations in Greek soon (maybe in 3-4 months)! If I could stay in Greece forever I would very much consider it, who knows what this year will bring but I know that I’ll have friends for life.

I’m not sure what my next adventure here will be, but if you’d like to be a part of it I will always have a room for you.

-Patrick

In which I explored a Castle

On Thursday 4 October 2018 I was invited to attend the 5th ARCH_RNT Archaeological Research and New Technologies but that didn’t start until 5 p.m.

I’m really not good at waiting I get too much nervous energy and it makes me need to move and do something. Anything. Literally why I don’t date much I just don’t like the buzz of energy I get hours before the date. This is neither here nor there, just a side note…

Anyways, I decided I’d walk up to the Castle of Kalmata because I could see it from my AirBnB and thought “Hey cool! Old. Castle. Walking!” So I went. Walking there got kind of crazy as I just picked roads at relative randomness until i could reach the Castle. One of the roads had some dogs guarding their home and well they were sitting at head level on the wall next to the road. I didn’t notice them, they noticed me, I admittedly jumped. Fun times were had.

After I explored the Castle I walked back down to the beach and just stared at the water for a good 30 minutes, hopefully this week I’ll actually get into it while the sun is still warm.

The conference was really good though way above my head because I’ve never dealt with ESM or Electronic Scanning Microscopy

I promise I’m having fun and that I am alive! If you want to come visit please do, I really like this place.
-Patrick

Back at the grindstone

Well earlier this year I had some unfortunate news that rocked my world, changed up my plans, made me re-evaluate life and to be perfectly honest made me really quite depressed.

I wouldn’t say I’m out of the woods yet, but I’ve taken some minor steps to being happy again. Namely, I MOVED TO GREECE.

Grad school starts on Monday and I am so excited to get my brain worked over by deep thought processes, new technologies, homework, and tests. So much better than sitting around and waiting for Grad school to start!

But before that happened I had to have an adventure. Life is like that, it gives you things to do… kinda like a video game, with side quests and main quests but in ultra HD graphics (although I’m starting to think I might need glasses so my resolution might be a little less than others).

Two weeks ago I went to San Francisco to apply for a Student Visa. I had to go and interview in person… I needed a stamp on my acceptance letter because “without a stamp you could have forged the letter, I don’t know who these people are” later he also told me “well even with a stamp I guess you could have forged this letter” but to make it official and for him to feel better a stamp I got him! I had to go back on Monday the 24 September 2018 to give him the stamp but that’s what I did. It involved two, 20 hour train rides. It has so far been totally worth it!

That week flew by, super stressed hardly ate or slept… sometimes i just don’t feel prepared, ya know?

Plane ride happened, took a nap in the Moscow airport and when i woke up the gate had changed, which was great because I WAS AT THE FURTHEST GATE AWAY FROM ANYTHING, I mean I’m not bitter for having walked nearly 1.5 miles to get there. No, that isn’t me.

The plane to Greece was also a fun time, turns out Greece had a cyclone/typhoon/Medicane hit and turbulence was pretty fun. Also i took a 20 minute nap and woke up to a random girl sitting in my same row and it freaked me out, didn’t say a word to her, though she was composing some song lyrics on the flight so she’s probably pretty cool.

Church was amazing and I already love the ward. Everyone is so nice and i have plenty of options to stay places when I go visit and people to go rock climbing with (I really need to get my shoes here!).

And then I got to Kalamata.

I walked from the bus station to the AirBnb at night, couldn’t see anything and was absolutely exhausted. The host wasn’t there but i called her and tried to find out where the key was (her kids went and grabbed them for me) and then her mother appeared and started speaking all sorts of Greek to me. For real didn’t understand a thing, but she was smiling and happy so it was a great experience!

The next couple of days involve sleeping and eating, food is fairly cheap here but my body is having some issues adjusting to everything. Hopefully I’ll be ready to go by Monday!

I’ll try to post once a week. We will see… I’ll figure out some adventures to write about in the meantime.

Best,

Patrick

Winter is fun… If you let it be fun!

So I woke up one day and thought to myself “I can’t really paint but snow is white like a canvas. I want to recreate Starry Night.” Simple thought, that turned into a rather fun adventure.

I chose Starry Night by Van Gogh because I thought the texture of the snow being dyed by food color and kool-aid would be easier to mimic. It seems to have turned out alright.

Remember to be safe outside, but get out there and go explore!

 

Civilization

So the last 2 months I really have tried to remain upbeat and positive. It was nearly impossible sometimes (you can ask my mom) and other times it was the easiest thing in the world.

That being said…

I am free from the completely domineering world of Twee Riviere and the oppression that the rector is.

For now, that is all I will say on that matter, come talk to me in person and I will paint a much better picture!

Other than that I am now in Port Elizabeth for 3 days! So far I’ve gotten to see 4 different landscapes, go to an Organ Concert, see the world’s largest South African flag, the original lighthouse, the shark pier (no sharks yet), and a ton of built for tourist attractions! All of this has happened with my broken camera, so I took some mental pictures, and let me tell you, they turned out great!

I’ll be home soon, but I will enjoy and have good memories of South Africa!

Cheers,
Patrick

I think I know my limits

So I have never really felt homesickness. I generally am happy with an situation I am in and whatever is handed to me I can cope with.

This is different.

It has now been 6 weeks since I have had any real interaction with a person. Now, there are people around and I think they do stuff? I think, because there is no semblance of them actually doing anything. They work, they eat, I think they sleep (I haven’t checked) and then they do it all again…

I might be an introvert, but I at least like to: Go hiking (they don’t go hiking because the Puff Adder is the most common snake in the mountains), Camping (See not about snakes), Exercise (There is not much grass, nor good roads, nor any sort of area where one could do this safely), Go out to restaurants (there is one, across the road. I have had everything on their menu. Twice.), See a movie (yeah, no cinemas. I did watch an hour long video about finding truth, through Christ, that I think was mean’t to kind of persuade me to just believe in Christ and not the church), Sew books together (ok, this is my job, but I love it. So there).

I can’t do any of those things here/have found literally no one to do those things with! There aren’t any young people. Also, not to bash on homeschooling, but when your family starts to resemble a cult in the way they act and think, they are limited in the amount of knowledge they have obtained, or they kind of look to their father figure as some kind of god. There might be a problem. I am definitely fine with honoring my mother and father, and I think I do… but i draw the line at deifying them. They are human, I am human. We make mistakes. Let it be enough…

Ok so the “religion” is weird, but if I expected to have an African adventure this time around I was mistaken.

I came here to learn though, and that… Has been going spectacularly well. Apparently I am good enough(?) and talk about books enough that they are wanting me to come back as a visiting lecturer. I might even come back for a year if they offer me a spot as a student… But this time, I’ll come prepared and with the knowledge of how it all works here.

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!
Patrick

Here’s a little something to prove I’m still alive

I’ve been bored recently, and honestly I don’t have many adventures that I’ve gone on yet… I did manage to finish all of my art pieces though, and will be working on reports tomorrow but that’s all boring stuff. Also, I’ve been working on a little children’s story. I don’t know where it is going, or what will happen in it, but I will flush it out eventually and make it something a little kid would like to read.

Without hesitation:

I didn’t think it could be this bad, but when you do something as bad as I did… Well, here I am. In the clinker. No more recess, snack time, or anything fun!

It all started on a day just like any other! Sally and I were outside in the sand box playing.

We had just built a giant sandcastle with a real moat, a working draw bridge, and shiny knights!

Sally thought that we should have a princess in the tower but what did she know; this castle was made for battles! Not princesses.

I was about to go get more water to help make the moat keep working when I heard a sound. It was coming from behind the fence. Our fence lead up into the woods, I wasn’t allowed to go in there by myself. I turned to leave, but the sound got louder.

“Sally, come here I need you to listen to something.” I hollored over, sometimes Sally has her head in the clouds, “do you hear anything strange?”

“Nope, nothing strange out there at all” Sally said. Sally never thought anything was strange. She seemed to think nearly everything was normal, except carrots, Sally didn’t really understand those.

“Let’s go investigate” I said slowly opening up the gate. “But mom said we weren’t allowed to leave the yard!” Sally exclaimed “if she comes back we could get in trouble.”

“I know that, but what if the sound is injured. If we saved it we would be heroes and not get into trouble. Besides, if you come with me I’ll have a tea party with you later” it was always sad when I had to negotiate with my sister.

“You have to wear a tie.” She responded. “What?” I questioned “A tie.” And her foot went down. There was no other option. “OK, I’ll wear a stupid tie if you’ll come with me.” If that is all it took to get a chance to explore that sound I got lucky….

A little bit of before, a little less of after…

Ok so as you know I’ve been here, doing an internship in paper conservation. At least that is what I have told you… But you have no actual proof I’ve been doing that. Aside from my word, which is pretty strong, but I figure I can give you a little bit more than that.

I don’t actually know the name of the piece. I’ve been calling this one “Carl Bloch- Ships”

This is the before, there is some staining in the right corner of the sky (in the plate mark) and some staining in the upper left hand corner.
This is the before, there is some staining in the right corner of the sky (in the plate mark) and some staining in the upper left hand corner.
This is the back of the Carl Bloch ships.
This is the back of the Carl Bloch ships.

Ok, so this is the before. It really isn’t in the best of shape right now, it is very acidic and doesn’t look as magnificent as it really should.
So that is where I come in… and well, here it is!

This is what it looks like now...
This is what it looks like now…

Notice, I did not use a filter. The nasty tape edges are gone, and there is no staining in the areas I pointed out before.

Ok, onto a different problem child. Saint Jerome.

This piece was a nightmare, it blistered the moment I placed it into a 3% Peroxide solution, but the results were so good I had to keep going. I will have some intermediary pictures eventually. Maybe when I get to place where the internet isn’t so dang expensive.

Anyways, here is the before.

There is foxing over the majority of the page. Doesn't look so pretty yet...
There is foxing over the majority of the page. Doesn’t look so pretty yet…
Here is the backside... Notice the skinning on the left hand side, in the middle. and right by the sticker.
Here is the backside… Notice the skinning on the left hand side, in the middle. and right by the sticker.

Ok cool. Another nasty piece of art (not the art itself, the paper… When I get to Goya I’ll call that one nasty. Meaning all of it.) but I can do better than this. This is not even pretty yet.

So here is a prettier version.

No more foxing, all the blisters are down. Here is a piece of art...
No more foxing, all the blisters are down. Here is a piece of art…
Sorry for the portrait layout. Here is the backside for Saint Jerome. You can still softly see the skinning in the bottom middle. But I added a paper paste to it. It will dry very close to the color and give it strength!
Sorry for the portrait layout. Here is the backside for Saint Jerome. You can still softly see the skinning in the bottom middle. But I added a paper paste to it. It will dry very close to the color and give it strength!

So yeah here you go. Some before and after. These were the first two pieces of the 9 I have… More to follow someday.

I appreciate you reading and commenting and stuff. I hope each of you have a wonderful day!
-Patrick