There was a part of me that was protesting as I was booking a flight just two weeks into our second semester. Thoughts of all the work that had yet to be done crept into my head with every scroll and click, making it all the more difficult to ignore the voice of reason and follow my heart for a change.
We settled on Ephesus because it had been one of the things at the top of our list for quite some time, flights were cheap, and the journey seemed doable in a weekend. More than anything, it just felt right.
On that first morning, with the mildest of breezes and the sun on my skin for what felt like the first time in months after a long, dark, and frigid winter, I conceded that my heart sometimes knows more than my brain gives it credit for. Hand in hand, we stepped out of our hotel tucked in the tiny town of Selcuk and onto the highway leading to our point of interest.
When most people think of Ephesus, they generally think of the facade of the Library of Celsus, which is the area’s most popular site; but Ephesus is so much more than just a library. Having been passed back and forth for thousands of years among several civilizations, it expanded and changed many times, eventually leaving behind remnants of theatres, churches, arenas, and temples, each representative of a different era in the ancient city’s history.
From the moment I stepped through the entrance, I felt like I’d been transported into another dimension, where time doesn’t really move. The beautiful contrast of the bluest sky I’ve seen in ages and delicately carved columns, slightly yellow with age, left me speechless. There was a surreal presence in the air, and even now as I am recalling it, it feels more like it was a dream than a memory. Perhaps it was my body’s reaction to the much-needed influx of Vitamin D after a lengthy deficiency, or perhaps it was simply because it is an incredible thing to walk paths that were built millennia ago and imagine what it was like to be alive then.
The few hours we were there didn’t feel quite long enough. It was rejuvenating to be at one with nature and history, away from the stress of daily life, with the whole thing practically to ourselves. We soaked it up as much as we could, trying to take in enough sunshine and freedom to last us through the hectic weeks ahead.