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We started the month participating in the International Volunteering Day, where we helped restore some informative public furniture about monuments and ruins from Thessaloniki.  We also informed people about the motive of the day and where they could volunteer in the city. 

December has been the month of getting used to so many new people in the center. As shared before, new staff entered the center after being understaffed since August and that brought new ways of doing to get used to. Also, it brought the capacity to hold the space for more kids. Thus, they started coming. We threw a Christmas party were a lot of new beautiful faces were invited. We did crafts related to Christmas, and we danced and ate nice snacks. A lot of excitement filled the building, and the sense of new beginnings. Also the concerns of some absences. Not all the kids come every time, and it’s hard to not be worried about the cause, and anxious about how to do more, and if that’s what’s adequate.

We could also feel the Christmas coming closer and closer. The whole city became even more sparkly and shiny than usual. I was surprised by the amounts of lights a single alley can get to host. Whole buildings became like presents,  with their respectivamente enormous red sparkly ribbons. 

Small Christmas trees spread throughout the city. They were true ones and all of them were cut from their roots. I wondered how harder must it had been to keep them in pots to later put them back into the earth. I could not believe my eyes, but as days went by I got used to the nonsense. 

Kurabies and melomacaronia appeared everywhere. They tasted almost like home but in a different way, it’s the same feeling I’ve had since I arrived here. It was a beautiful reminder of the reason why I came here in the first place, to be in a country that has a culture of  celebrating togetherness like mine does. 

Regarding the life in the apartment, December was a month where we discovered a new place we liked a lot, and we are likely to keep on coming. Its goal is to combine western and eastern culture in a safe and curious environment. We also celebrated Christmas together in the apartment, four of us with some friends that are also living in Thessaloniki. In New Year’s Eve we even shared the meal with the parents of one of us. It was for sure a new way of experiencing Christmas.

I’ll keep updating, even if it’s late!