Tuesday, December 26, 2017



      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!

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