What it usually means: To eat not at all, sparingly, or only particular foods
What it means to Orthodox people: Checking the calendar before deciding what to have for lunch
What it usually means: Picking something to “give up” before Easter
What it means to Orthodox people: PB&J sandwiches for 40 days
What it usually means: A monotonous repeated sound
What it means to Orthodox people: The most beautiful song of voices joining together in prayer
What it usually means: A 60 minute measurement of time
What it means to Orthodox people: A relatively short church service
What it usually means: For a long time
What it means to Orthodox people: Hooray! Congratulations!
What it usually means: Egg hunts and chocolate bunnies
What it means to Orthodox people: The feast of feasts. Also, having to explain why you’re celebrating Easter a month later than everyone. Church in the middle of the night. And food, lots of food.
What it usually means: A long skirt perfect for summer or the beach
What it means to Orthodox people: What you wear to a monastery
1. You stay up until midnight anxiously waiting for registration to open.
2. And when it does, you’re the first to register.
3. Then you’re confirmation email comes, and you’re like…
4. But now it’s time to fundraise!
5. And when you reach your fundraising goal…
6. You suddenly realize Real Break isn’t for another four months.
7. After Christmas you get a Real Break newsletter, and you can’t contain yourself.
8. Finally… Real Break Eve comes around and it feels like Christmas.
9. But then you board your plane, say bye to Mom and Dad, and realize you’re on your own.
10. When you get to your layover, you can’t wait to meet your group.
11. By the time you land, you’re already best friends.
12. And you spend the week praying, serving, and growing together.
13. As the end of the week approaches, you realize you are a whole new person and are so thankful for your experience.
14. But you hate the idea of having to leave your new best friends.
15. For weeks after you trip, you dream about your time on Real Break.
16. And every night you thank God for the experience of a lifetime.
17. Until, next year, when you register again.
Alexandra Abboud is a junior at Miami University in Ohio studying social work. She serves as the Real Break Student Leader on the Student Leadership Board. You can read her full bio here.