Tuesday, January 16, 2018


We went to Monemvasia and it was cool. Because we are cool.

https://goo.gl/maps/rzfQZvzuQZy

This is water

I don't know how many times I heard this speech; I don't know how many friends I showed it to. I know that I remember the day I first heard it, the friend that shared it with me. I heard it several times in a row: I didn't want to miss not even one small thing. I still listen to it every now and then. 

My time here is ending. Slowly I start to put things in perspective and I ask myself what was my purpose here, and how to communicate it to my colleges, and future EVS. I can start by the beginning, way before EVS, with David Foster Wallace words.  

This is a speech in a graduation ceremony of a liberal arts university course. Instead of presenting a nice "congratulations" speech, Foster Wallace underlines the human value of education and goes to the bottom of that should it be: a tool that allows us to learn how to think and to choose what to think about. For me, this is the true meaning of all education, but even more of non-formal education. 

If you are here, as I am, you have the tools. You can choose to choose, to be aware, to go beyond your default settings. You might not be able to choose the water, but you can choose to see it or not; you can choose how to see it. Your way, our way from now on it a matter of choice, OUR choice. 

This is what, this is water. 


Note: there is a full version of this speech that I highly recommend you to listen. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Goodbye amigo!

Our little Sheila!!


You came here for a short time but it was enough to touch our hearts. Your positive energy, craziness and compassion will never be forgotten.  




We have seen you sad and happy, sleepy and awake, steady and dancing. We experienced your changes and we learned from you.





We all miss you and I guess see you soon!!! :)


Ola

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

THE RUSSIAN IN GREECE. FIRST IMPRESSIONS

THE RUSSIAN IN GREECE.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS

      If there is anything I'm terrified most of all, it is snow and everything that is related to winter. Yes, I experienced 26 years of strong Russian winters with 18-35 degrees below zero.

       And you know what? It was the survival time. You must keep warm, really warm clothes within reach since you don't know what to expect from nature tomorrow. Strong winds, blizzards, leading to traffic collapses the next day. Transport services, even working at full capacity, can't cope with large snow scales on roads.

       At times weather was merciful and gifted sunny days with bearable temperatures. Crunching snowy sound under the feet, cheerful sunbeams and winter birds songs. God bless those short but unforgettable moments! Still it's reality, and wool clothes must be worn. OK. It's not as severe as in Finland) Still difficult, personally for me.


      That's why I was extremely excited to learn that I would spend this winter season and next months in Greece, many tourists' place of destination! 

     It's been a couple of weeks since my arrival to Kalamata. Not a long period still found unusual things I should get used to. Let's check together:

1. Heating system

       Back in Russia people warned me that it differs from the Russian central heating system. Yea, winters on the vast territory of Russia might be harsh. Still at home so badly needed warmth is a 100% guarantee, whenever you are there, all day long. In Greece it seems like waking up in a tent. Now my best friend here is duvet and plaid. Once in the morning I was even shocked to see that my phone display was wet! WOW!

         So the best way not to be frozen is to get out from house as outside is soo warm!! Like spring/autumn in Russia. And lots of sights to see. And ssoo long awaited beach with mild sun, endless sea and roadside cafes.
Special combo: Greek Christmas
with autumn yellow leaves

2. Solar batteries

       I've heard that in Europe people use them but didn't pay much attention as summer was in fool blossom. However now in the evenings weather is becoming chilly. After the sun goes down, boiler system is the only way to have  a hot shower (if you are not a winter bather). Still it doesn't bother much, as you need just to wait some time. 

   Just for the record, in Russia there are periodical shutdowns of  hot water (so called routine maintenance). Those
who doesn't  have boilers in their flats - it's the majority of the Russians - have to literally boil the water  in saucepan, then mix 
it with cold water and  have a fast countryside style shower 

 with the help of a small scoop.

Greek people choose lesser of two evils. And me)


3. Separating garbage on recyclable and non-recyclable

     European countries are one step ahead in preserving nature and saving the environment. In large Russian cities  government and eco-leaders are implementing the same, still it's new to people. We are not sure what  kind of wastes is recyclable. Most of us prefer to throw litter to the first trashcan we meet on the way or to wait for the standard litter without sorting options))

     Now I can say that I'm a responsible trash container  user (even if it sounds weird). After all, I came here to learn and didn't regret for a second.

4. Popular transport

     The town of Kalamata is rather small compared to Athens. Yet it takes some time to get from point A to point B. The Greeks take all the advantage of staying mobile. With the help of motorbikes. And bicycles. And cars. No wonder that the town sounds like a roaring gear through the day.

5. House decorations

       It's festive Christmas season on every street. The locals' holidays spirit make you feel the same happy way. At least, elated.  Doesn't matter that you still live on Russian time and put New Year (31 December-1 January) prior to the European-style celebration of Christmas.

      Fancy house decorations, lights, even small wreath on the entrance door remind of the holiday time. Who knows why in my country holiday begins behind the closed door..)

      To sum up, I've already had first lessons so far. I think this info will be more/less useful and will help new volunteers to be prepared properly. 

 Bring a heater and have a WARM holiday time!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

THE RUSSIAN IN GREECE. GREETINGS

Hello, kind people of Kalamata! My name is Angelina, 26. I came from Russia, my city is not so easy to pronounce, still have a try: Nizhniy Novgorod. Good? Ok.
   I found out about EVS existence by chance in the University. After a small research I was loaded with a ton of current- and ex-volunteers feedbacks, both negative and positive ones. Since than I've been  obsessed with an idea to participate and learn by myself whether it's worth trying or not.
   
   So I'm here for helping you with getting to know Russian language and with digging even deeper in Russian culture . As a plus to that will keep  going on working on our bodies together. A bit of stretching, fitness exercises, a lot of energetic music.  So see you in the Youth Center KANE!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

CHRISTMAS FAIRY TALE HOUSES


During the weekend 16-17 of December Youth Center volunteers, alongside with EVS and ACT volunteers were creating free activities for children during the  Christmas fairy tale houses on the Central Square of Kalamata.



Face painting, fishing game, christmas cards from stamps, animals for christmas tree - attract a lot of children on Saturday and Sunday to visit  Youth Center House. Except of all this activities  we also asked children to write a wish and send a message of love to the children of the world. With all this warm words we create  a big chain, that brings hope and smile.
Although the weather wasn’t helping - we manage to spread the positive spirit of volunteerism for this christmas!

Parallely, we held a BAZAAR, where we offered christmas decorations, gifts and biscuits made by us and also by Youth Center teachers and people participating in workshops, to support the Youth Centre of Kalamata.

Check the pictures taken by Mirella, Bilal and Antoine:

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

EVS departure



 EVS means meeting a lot of other EVS volunteers.

You share your daily life with them, you see each other sleepy, happy, hungry from the morning to late in the night, you discover a new country side by side, you discover each other language and culture. You also see each other improving.

After some times or directly because of a "friendship a first sight", with some of them (or all) you are not just "EVS at the same time" you become true friends !

But EVS life is also about departures... because we don't arrive all at the same time, because our projects don't have the same duration.
This isn't the easiest moment when one of your friend is leaving but this is not a goodbye this is just a "see you soon somewhere around the worl!". You will meet again if your friendships worths it because, never forget: where there is a will, there is always a way.



We will miss you Gordana !

Ophélie