Category Archives: Journey to the Arnhemlands

Game of Challenges

Proud participant of this training course. Excellent post by Carmine, an amazing trainer.

To say nothing of the cat

From now on, I will (try to) write reports of the travels and learning experiences I am involved in. Training courses, seminars, exchanges or study visits… the hope is there that in this way more people will get inspiration from those stories, learn from what happened, maybe have an idea or two on how to realise their own. Or what to avoid, learning from our mistakes!

Of course some other people will just enjoy watching the pictures – and that’s allright too.

I want to start by  telling the tale of Game of Challenges, a training course realised in May 2015 in Skoulikaria, Greece. That is here:

Screenshot 2015-06-27 10.40.15 located near Arta, in Epirus, probably the greenest (and rainiest) region of Greece

The course was organised by the brilliant and brave young professionals of Inter Alia and realised through the support of the European programme “Erasmus+“. I have met them several…

View original post 1,983 more words

You feel like home

I have been looking for a good way to start this post but none will ever be good enough I guess. So…

edit: It turned into something other than expected! hah.

We are very privileged people. If you have a computer and/or a smartphone and are reading this right now, take a moment and be thankful for it maybe. I consider myself quite a privileged human, because I have had and will have a huge amount of chances to go out of my comfort zone, to travel and meet people. Lately I’ve been grabbing these chances almost before they appear… I have some youth exchanges down my personal history book (hungry for more!), I started mentoring EVS volunteers, and generally the past year I have been to so many places, met so many people and made so many friends that home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

And what does feel like home then? The people. The people feel like home. Home is wherever I’m with you… And if we’re talking about the people who are or would love to be free-spirited ever-moving-place-dwellers (what?) like me, it’s a win-win situation.

I found out during this short quest of self-discovery that not only do I feel at peace when I am anywhere but home, but also that I am much more solitary than I thought. Which only means it’s a matter of time before I leave this shit of a city-I unconsciously started cutting my ties to everyone and everything years ago. Of course, as with everything, there are exceptions… There’s a tiny handful of people for whom I would move continents for, no matter what. Cubi being their king.

So, travelling… I basically started writing to account my Cyprus adventures (or lack thereof) ^^;
Who would believe it one year ago that I would have jumped on a plane to visit a lovely Catalan I met in the Netherlands and that I would stay in 5 different places, one for each night, one of them being the house of the boyfriend of  one of the volunteers I’m mentoring? (Scheisse, that was complicated even to write)

I want to make it my life purpose to get people out of their comfort zone because I’m struggling with it too. A lot of friends of mine said they admired my courage and effort to visit “these people” who are so far away yet so close to my heart and it made me wonder how much (or little) people value human relationships and fresh experiences at the present time. I mean, come on! They’re only a plane or a bus away, and thinking of the endless possibilities of food tasting and people gathering boggles my mind.


If I hadn’t taken the step to go out into the unknown territory of a distant friend reunion, I would never have known the pure perfection of this vacation. I would never have known the serenity of lying silently on fresh grass in extreme heat, the blessed feeling of going to sleep and waking up with the sky staring at you, the cold stone ice cream, the empowering feeling of overcoming my fear of biking through a city. I would never have been introduced properly to GeoCaching, I would never have met a guy who liked my drawings so much that he wants me to visualize his idea for a graphic novel, I would never have realised how careless of a cook I am or never found Bulgarian beer in that god-forsaken island.

6 days so lazy but so full, full of laughter and weird deep conversations and food, lazy with jabbahutting [just lying somewhere, preferably on sand, doing nothing but talking nonsense] and butt-burning at the beach and frappe and Kamenitza and failure cookie-tasting.

Cyprus felt like home for some reason, the scenery was totally Greek to me and a lot of other places reminded me of Thessaloniki or Patra or Halandri and I guess it’s true-only lost people come on this island trying to find something, and surprisingly I found it, even though I didn’t know I was looking for it.

This world has a weird sense of humour, sometimes twisted, and instead of trying to understand it, I am trying to go with its flow. It’s not easy, nobody said it would be. Get out there, surprises imminent.

I’d like to thank all the people who made this trip truly unique in their own (helpful or not) way! ^ω^

Scan

inner conversation: -This is so silly, I shouldn’t even have scanned it. -Nonsense! It’s cute, it’s nice thing to complement your post. -But the people are all wron- -Shut up and drink some frappe OK

(I am sure I forgot people and wrote names wrong. And the scan is not so good. OH WELL)

 

DSC_7844-2

[Later] -It’s a lighthouse. – No, it’s not.

Planets made entirely of water and golden and blue lights entering liquified dreams.

All you need is cats and beautiful sunsets

All you need is cats and beautiful sunsets

Οι φωτογραφίες μπορούν να περιγράψουν φτωχά την εμπειρία των διακοπών στην Κάρπαθο θα έλεγα…
Το σπίτι στο Λευκό είναι στην ιδανικότερη τοποθεσία, έχει ένα απίστευτο ηλιοβασίλεμα και το βράδυ βλέπεις το γαλαξία ολόκληρο. Καθόμουν με τις ώρες και κοίταζα τ’αστέρια. Χάνεσαι.
Στο μυαλό μου παίζουν οι εητίλες μου και τα λαουντζοκλαμπίδια του Γιωργή. (τι αγάπη θεέ μου!)
Πήρα τη δόση μου από γατιά (ω, ήταν ορδές!) και παραλίες με λευκή άμμο και τυρκουάζ πεντακάθαρα νερά με εκατοντάδες ψάρια… και βέβαια πήρα και μια μεγάλη δόση Ιταλικών ως προετοιμασία για το EVS. 😛
Τέτοιο ταξίδι περίμενα όλη μου τη ζωή. Γιατί μπορούσα να ηρεμήσω και να συσκευθώ με τον εαυτό μου. Πόρισμα: For everything you wish, you have to pay an equal price in return, όπως έλεγε και η Yūko.
Also: Nothing in this world is coincidence. Everything is hitsuzen. [“A naturally foreordained event. A state in which other outcomes are impossible. A result which can only be obtained by a single causality, and all other causalities would necessarily create different results.”] Α ρε Yūko με τα quotes σου…

“Normal? What is normal? To do only what the masses do? What is the benifit of that? And what is the problem with adopting a custom that is abnormal if it has no negative effect on the world at large?”

μουσικό διάλειμμα με τρία άσχετα αλλά πολύ σχετικά τραγούδια.

whatever happened to my heart? it’s still there

|grass under bare feet|Russian words|cold Wind|fire|guitars and voices|fairies|Find An Ending|beetroot soup|parting tears|the smell of rain in the Forest|clicks|laughter|storm and canoe|rainbow sunset|calming voices|opposite beds|killer hugs|holding hands|C H A N G E|

my mind has been stuck there for weeks.

Bare Feet

It’s been exactly one month (and one day) since we came back from our trip to Finland.

Hyvärilä Youth Center, 14.06.2013, around 12AM

A bunch of Greeks arrives and finds a group of Russian and Finnish people gathered in the common room of the hostel.

Everything feels weird, but exciting.

Hyvärilä Youth Center, 21.06.2013, around  3AM

7 days later. The whole group is outside of the hostel, everybody is hugging and saying goodbye, some people are getting emotional.The bus leaves.

So what the hell happened in between?!
I surely can’t simply name this a project. Even though officialy, it was.
Creative Photography in the Finnish Wilderness.
If you ask me, though, I’d probably tell you “Life-Changing, Mind-Broadening, Absolutely Magical Experience“. Or something cheesy like that.
Hey, what was so special about it? Let me elaborate. I could write a whole book on this trip, but I’ll try to be short.

DSC_1478

Hyvärilä Youth Center, located in Nurmes, Finland. A place of extravagant beauty(like all of Finland. and it was my third visit!). Like a fairytale unfolding before me, Hyvärilä and its surroundings captured me from the first second I laid eyes upon it. Oh enough of this already! Look-see!

1 DSC_1504

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Happy Daphne captured by Cubilone! C:

A mixed group of Russian, Finnish and Greek youngsters came to Nurmes in order to attend this project. At first I was a bit surprised by the age differences-only half of us were adults. We even had a couple of 14-year-old kids! In the Greek group, I was the youngest and Lena, Chara and Alexis were the oldest in the whole group (almost 30!). And we had somewhat of a language barrier between us too-only a handful of people knew English well enough to communicate efficiently.
But, hey. We never let either of those prevent us from having a good time. People always find a way to communicate, and talking is at the very bottom of the list.

Look at us!

5-3

5-5

DSC_1558

We enjoyed many hours of sitting by the fire and playing music. The Russians had brought with them all kinds of instruments, and the forest guy (his name escapes my faulty memory) even constructed a didgeridoo out of a pipe! By the way, yes, it was kind of cold, like early spring weather in Greece.

DSC_3982

We sure did lots of bonding-we even had and international evening with foodstuffs from each country! ^v^

DSC_1608

Alexis serving mastiha liqueur. (nope, the minors only tried the submarine stuff :D)

Apart from all this wonderful cozy stuff, we visited ravishingly beautiful places-

DSC_1581

(see the storm?!)
Koli natural park.

DSC_1530

Ellun Kalio…

(and we also canoed.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(and we watched the sun set at 23.30 and then rise again in the next few hours)

7969_10151681342312838_1016326224_n

I never mentioned what we actually did there. It’s still hard for me to describe, so instead I’ll give my thanks to Sanna and Henna, our “teachers”. How can I ever forget how gentle these women were? How can I forget Sanna’s Stuff and the way Sanna and I started a disco party?

Anyway. The final project was a digital story. Each of us made whatever the hell our  little heads came up with. Here’s what I did, amidst hours of exhausting disco-partying, slow-dancing, MJ-dancing with the Russians, frustration because someone (coughs) never actually stood up to dance with us and running up and down the Hyvärilä fields to be in time for dinner and lunch:

Sigh, I never had a way with words. Cubi, though, excels at describing things in an overly creative way.

(the pictures speak for me.)

DSC_4075

hyvärilä2

hyvärilä3

Maybe it’s because it was my first time in a youth exchange. Maybe it’s because I get excited so easily. Maybe it’s because Cubi and Garret were there (a special thank you to Garret cause he’s AWESOME. btw, his video!<3).

But… I can never forget how I learned to close my eyes for 5 minutes in order to take in my surroundings. Or how I decided to copy Lena and walk barefoot everywhere. Or how beautiful it is when suddenly it starts to hail during sunset. Or how it feels to paddle with your boyfriend and not actually have a fight over it. Or how Gleb taught us some Russian and we taught him Greek. Or how I couldn’t control my tears all the way back to Helsinki, when we had to leave.
Or how I felt at peace the whole time.

(and ERMAHGERRRRD SAUNA!!)

2

that’s us! :3 it’s a gif! clicky click ^_^

Usually, after each trip, I’m still starry-eyed and dream of the day I’ll meet the people I met once again.

tumblr_m2qw13leLn1r0timto1_500

But generally, this is the trip that left a huge impression on me.
Oh well. I live in a place that allows me to do (I was actually looking for the right verb and gave up -__-) some Sanna’s Stuff near my home. So off I go.
Close your eyes and feel.