“Friendship is a coincidence of open-heartedness.”
Where to begin?
The month and a half on Corfu is like a distant memory. Remaining is a sense of community, security, love, and friendship. These impressions are now spilling over into my life in Thessaloniki.
After 5 hours on a bus and a long walk through the rain I was sitting in the stairwell of the building waiting to be let into the apartment. A bang on the door and on my way to open it expecting to see my renter I was happily surprised to find my friend, Gautama.
Gautama and I met over 2 years ago in Brazil where we both worked in a hostel in Salvador de Bahia. Over the years we have kept in touch and only in March began a conversation about the refugee crisis in Greece. A few months later, Gautama and his friend, Morley, were able to come to Thessaloniki where they have spent the last 3 months gathering information about the situation here.
I have hit the ground running. From catching up on all informations, stories, and scenarios from Gautama, Morley, my friends in Oikopolis and more to volunteering in Softex (camp outside of Thessaloniki) to aiding in teaching English classes there has been very little time to process any thing. However, the hectic pace has seemed to have a positive effect on my overall mentality.
I returned from the camp to Thessaloniki around 6pm yesterday evening. Even in my two-day-in-a-row clothes and muddy shoes I went directly to Oikopolis to visit Gautama and observe his English class. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love Oikopolis and the people involved there. Gautama’s class was preparing for a new activity when I arrived and he looked to me for ideas. We conducted a simple “20 Questions” type of game, having students write the questions in English on the board and try to guess different nouns. It was a blast.
A new activity was started and I went to speak with a friend I had met in April. He told me he had received the call to be relocated. It was certainly something to celebrate.
“Tears of joy,” another friend said after coming out of a long and emotional hug with our friend with the good news.
I will never forget that hug…and I wasn’t even a part of it!
Another wonderful dinner and conversation with Gautama and Morley and then I finally headed home.
The apartment where I am staying is on the 5th floor of an old and beautiful building. Long french doors open out onto a small balcony and I leave them and the shudders open during the night.
I was speaking with my host for a while in my room and when he left I heard,
I looked around the room and out into the living room where my host had several friends sitting fairly occupied around the table.
I went out onto the balcony and looked down at the street but no one was around.
I look straight up and directly across from me to find two of my friends from Oikopolis standing on the balcony.
Listen, Thessaloniki is a big city! With thousands of apartment buildings going up to even 6-7 floors. To find my friends living precisely on the same floor in the building across the street was a true feeling of elation. The reassurance I get from time to time that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Of course I ran over the visit them and bask in the beautiful coincidence. We stayed up talking until 3 in the morning about a thousand and one things.
My blogs from here will always attempt vagueness because names and places are necessary to be private for many reasons these days. However, I hope once I get back into writing more I am able to share in more detail the events and situations happening here.