I arrived in Thessaloniki in the second half of February. Light snow welcomed me on my first night, which was surprisingly far from my Mediterranean hopes of Greek weather! And so my 7 days of quarantine started, a very long chunk of time that I spent getting to know my flatmates, resting, and peaking impatiently out of the windows in the living room.
As the days got warmer, I was finally able to explore the city and was especially excited to get lost through the captivating architecture of the Ano Poli. Moreover, living by the sea is very inspiring to me, as I love spending time by the water – something that always calms my spirit and recharges my batteries. Despite the strict restrictions, I was also able to spend some time with my flatmates in the parks of Ano Poli and Kastra, so as to get a full dose of vitamin D.
It was also very exciting for me to start with the project I had chosen to work on. I was assigned to the ‘House of Arsis’ in Oraiokastro, where more than twenty vulnerable children and teenagers reside. I had worked with children and refugee teenagers before, so it was a real joy for me to resume something that fulfills and inspires me very deeply. I found the atmosphere super welcoming and it really felt like spending time at home. Although I have just started, I feel very moved, eager to learn and to strengthen my skills in the field of social work and education.
The situation with Covid is still very precarious here in Thessaloniki, though I am grateful I could have the direct experience of the work that Arsis does in the city, and that had motivated me to apply to the EU Solidarity Corps program. Finally, I am very looking forward to even warmer and more relaxed (restrictions-wise) days. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will come in a relatively short time!