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ANITA CALCHI NOVATI_August 2021

ANITA CALCHI NOVATI August 2021
ANITA CALCHI NOVATI August 20212
ANITA CALCHI NOVATI August 20213

During my first month and a half in Greece, Thessaloniki gave me the best welcome I could hope for. The city immediately seemed fascinating to me, full of interesting sights, cute little places, great bars to eat and drink, but also full of contradictions and discordant elements. I found a welcoming environment, a warmth – even physically, with 40 degrees fixed for the first few weeks – and a welcome I did not expect. Entering the Arsis house for the first time was a very special moment, the children and young people were absorbed in their activities and over the following days and weeks there was a slow approach, a mutual discovery made up of games, activities, glances, laughter, jokes and little mutual attention. With the older children it was easier to establish a relationship immediately, thanks to the fact that both we and they speak English and therefore we had a very easy time interacting from the beginning, arriving now to have a beautiful relationship, to discuss small and big issues and to joke together every day. We had visits to the city’s museums, where it was very interesting to discuss with them the beauty of the paintings and the emotions they arouse in each of us. We cooked a lot of dishes from different countries, and it was wonderful to see the pride of the girls in telling you how the dishes are made, what they are called in the national language and how they are eaten. With the children, on the other hand, the game has helped us a lot to relate; you don’t need words to play simple games like UNO, the most popular game in the house, or creating simple bracelets with coloured threads. Through small activities, you can bring out in every child the desire to play, to have fun in a carefree way. It is perhaps this very carefree attitude that has amazed me in the children and young people of the House of Arsis; although life has already presented them with a great many obstacles and difficulties, you can see in them a desire to enjoy life to the full, to play, to have fun, to leave everything behind. During this month and a half, we also explored Thessaloniki and its surroundings: from Ano Polis to the beautiful beaches of Chalkidiki, from the white tower and the seaside promenade to the fascinating island of Samothrace. They were wonderful experiences that I lived together with the other volunteers and that allowed us to get to know each other, to chat and to find our equilibrium, sharing together wonderful landscapes, delicious food, and small great adventures. All in all, I would say a wonderful first month and a half in Greece!

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