This is (not) the end, I know

Ciaooooo from Thessaloniki, Greece! My project is over and I am back home. Once again (but for the last time) I am Kyriakos, I was the Greek volunteer in SE.M.I. and I will try to share with you my experience in words (although is extra difficult). It was my very first time as a volunteer, I didn’t know what to expect but I wasn’t nervous about the unknown. Everything settled down almost instantly by the time I arrived in Faenza and Elisa and Györgyi were at the train station to pick me up and I said to myself “Enjoy it”.

Let’s talk firstly and shortly about the association and its people. They were, and are, absolutely willing to help you with every occasion occurring. For example, in the infinite (nerve-racking) way to book our vaccine appointment as non-residents in Italy we had their total support and we finally did it! So thank you Elisa, thank you Ina, thank you Danai!

Morning coffee next to the Piazza del Popolo before going to the Mercato for fresh vegetables and fruits

Now that city, Faenza! As I have lived for the same amount of time also in Siena, I am very into the idea of living in a small city and I knew it will not be a thing. So yes Faenza is a small city but there were, and are, so so so many things to do. The city is full of events literally everyday, there are even more in the surrounding area but I certainly had the summer as my absolute ally. Alive, vibrant, vivacious, sparky, jouncy, kicky, zappy, zestful, zingy, hopping, yeasty and any other synonym you can possibly imagine. Faenza is also home of the maioliche, glazed earthenware pottery, and the historic production of the maioliche faentine is recognized worldwide as one of the highest moments of artistic creativity expressed through pottery.

Martedì d’Estate in Borgo

In the school of architecture there was the slogan “SHOW ME, DON’T TELL ME” and unfortunately as I run through the pictures I took during my stay in Faenza and in my trips, I realize that they are next to nothing and the moments are almost uncountable. So I will not stand on these moments and a dry description text but I would like to say some words for a person that we shared many of these moments. A person that became a friend!

Her name is Andrea and she is the Spanish volunteer. She arrived in Faenza a few days after my arrival and for the same period of time as mine. Before that we would talk in our weekly reflection video-calls or via WhatsApp and got to know each other a bit. In a conversation we had on my last day in Faenza we found out that in those first meetings both of us had similar thoughts for one another.
Guess what?
We soon got acquainted in person and thereafter a friendship blossomed. We believed in each other, we exchanged silly stories, we shared old memories and created new ones, we could tell it like it is, we could always find the answers, we were relying on each other and standing by each other, we never stopped caring, we devised crazy schemes, we laughed until we couldn’t stop. The level on which we connected for that period of time is indescribable. We make a great team, I am really fortunate to have her in my life and I am so so happy!

So if anyone is considering volunteering through ESC in Europe, just do it! Nothing is wasted! These projects offer an inspiring and empowering experience and give you the opportunity to meet new people and create loads of memories! Do not hesitate a second! Do not double double think of it!

Finally, I could not fail to mention the guys who were there long before me and Andrea and helped in any possible way. Györgyi, she was my partner in the project, she is so cool and has the greatest dance moves. Laura, she is a great partner for night outs with doses of laughter. Mathilde or “how much humor and how much sarcasm can fit in one person” and Gonzalo, the (mistakenly) quiet and enigmatic guy.
Viva guys!

As ever,
Kyriakos

P.S. I am already trying to plan my way back to Faenza and engage with ceramic practice.

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