Terça-feira, 16 de Fevereiro de 2010
I see greeks everywhere.

It's almost 5 PM here, and there's not much time. By convenience, I should be getting the bus as soon as I finish writing this, and try to drag someone along with me for an urgent shopping spree. For now, I'm sitting in a corner on the local library from the ΤΕΦΑΑ (read: TEFAA) building complex.

 

I'm tired, and my first night in Trikala was unfortunately a little depressing as well. Let me try to pack up in a nutshell what has happened so far.

 

After giving my final farewell to my family at 5 AM in the morning, I took the airplane from Porto to Frankfurt.

 

 

I arrived at Frankfurt around 10 AM at their local time (GMT + 1). It was my first time in Germany, and the Oktoberfest country made sure it would welcome me with lots of snow, which I couldn't play with, because I had to stay inside the airport during the following hours, while waiting for the next airplane.

 

 

After a quick stomach fix (one sandwich and one water bottle for 7 euros), and Internet fix (one hour for 8 euros), I took the airplane to Thessaloniki at 2 PM, and arrived at 17h30 in greek time (GMT+2). Waiting for me, was one of the Erasmus coordinators who I had already meet before, during her visit to UA.

 

 

The coordinator was kind enough to give me a ride to Trikala. All I can say is that is way a 4-5 hour ride, with lots of snow in our way, and curves too.

 

And finally, Trikala. Waiting for us was another Erasmus student, from Finland, who gave an a warm welcome into the new apartment.

 

 

And that was where all my enthusiasm accumulated all the way from Porto to Frankfurt, to Thessaloniki, to Trikala, went down the drain.

 

 

I haven't uploaded the photos to Sapo Campus yet, and I'm seriously considering again and again if I should do it. Before you tell me "there is worse", I'll tell you I was aware of the current situation in Greece, and I was ready to live with the basics of basics, survivalist style. Like my father told me over the phone, "Throw yourself into the adventure!"

 

But I wasn't ready for depression. I began to cry over the phone with my family.

 

My bedroom consists of a bed made of rusted iron frames and a less than 10cm thick mattress. The closet is alright, but there was no desk table or chair at first, and I have no idea where they came from, I just know they're small. The closet is alright, and I have access to a balcony, from where I can view older buildings, and a newer, pretty one, on the other side of the street, as if mocking with my current conditions.

The walls may start decaying soon enough, there are signs of humidity, and whoever painted them was most likely painting and catching flies at the same time. Most electricity sockets are almost detached from the wall and look unsafe. The bathroom is ok, save for some functionality problems, the water heating system makes the wannabe designer side of me scream in rage, and the kitchen needs a microwave, a kettle, and a team of urgent decoration makeover. The living room consists of a sofa and a garden chair. And that's it.

 

We meet the landlords, and they were nice enough, and I probably shouldn't say this about them, but I find it hard to swallow that someone who lives in a well decorated and fitting home, won't care if the people living in their apartments has a bed that looks like it was taken from a prison.

 

Maybe I should not be complaining. We have a heating system, we have four walls and a ceiling. We have where to sleep.

But I spent my first night in Trikala sleeping with odd-smelling sheets full of stains, and nobody else seemed to care. I kept telling myself "Maybe with scent candles, colorful curtains, posters, and a new mattress, this can be a nice place to sleep", but I couldn't get past this first impression and initial shock. And I'm venting in this blog as a warning sign for all future Erasmus students: living in another country, even in a financially unstable one, can be a rewarding experience, but you deserve minimum decent conditions.

 

I'll write more later, when I get used to this, and my mind becomes clearer.




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