I’ve pretty well failed at the 500 words a day thing by now, but let’s just all agree to ignore that and pretend it hasn’t taken me somewhere around 2 months to get to day 14 or whatever we’re at. Sound good? 🙂
We’re in Athens now. Came in by ferry from a week long side trip/adventure into a couple of the Greek Isles. We spent 4 days each on Santorini and Naxos. Was fun to play the tourist again and explore new places, but we had more mishaps and minor missteps then usual and landed in Athens pretty exhausted last night. The husband is back to working his normal job at abnormal local hours and trying to get in the swing of things. So far, however, we’ve had a pile of problems with the internet at the Airbnb apartment we’re at as well as a little dispute with them over logistics of the deal that has left everyone involved feeling pretty leery and uncomfortable with each other. But as of yet, we haven’t worked out a way to agree on how to part ways. I’m definitely developing a new appreciation for the day to day challenges and frustrations individuals face when trying to establish life in a new place and culture where you don’t speak the language. Our little venture here is still short in the scheme of life at a month, but just long enough that there’s a few contracts and necessities involved that I’d feel incredibly competent in handling and negotiating at home, but that here has required far more time, money, confusion and frustration.
It’s a good reminder to keep learning, have a good sense of humor and maintain perspective along the way. And that rarely is it a good idea to try to negotiate things when one party is coming off being knocked out by Dramamine and still feels like they’re on a boat and both of you are utterly exhausted, sweaty and haven’t eaten an actual meal in 24 hours. Those things might possibly impact one’s perspective on life as a whole as well. J I also suppose that after 2 months of mostly living in Airbnb’s, we were bound to have a lemon experience in the bunch. It just sure would have been nice if it was one we were only in for 2 days instead of month!
We are in Athens, predominately so that I can volunteer with a couple groups working with refugees. The primary place I’ll be participating is with a day drop in center in the city. We both went in to meet people and do an orientation today and will go back to volunteer for a few hours tomorrow. The center is located on one of the main metro lines a handful of steps up from the old Olympic venues, which is the predominant location the government is housing refugees at right now. It’s also a couple buildings down from the Office of Immigration, where most refugees come for appointments. The center is open 6 days a week with 3 days each for Farsi speakers and Arabic speakers. The focus on providing services that are either not available or not of a good quality at the government camps in a manner that retains dignity for refugees.
Currently, this involves clean, functional, hot, private showers, laundry facilities, a children’s play area, culturally appropriate snacks and mostly a safe space to rest and be. They have games, puzzles, coffee and tea and free Wi-Fi. There’s English and Greek classes scheduled throughout the week as well as opportunities for haircuts and other scheduled items.
It was great to meet some of the staff and volunteers today and we’re definitely interested to learn more tomorrow. For the moment, I’m well over 500 words and rather tired so I won’t go into why I/we’re volunteering, but maybe another day. I really am going to try to try again for building a habit of writing.