Just a Small Town Girl…?

I have always been one for big cities, having grown up in one way too small for my liking. Boston called my name last year, a welcome escape from the suburbia of Edina, Minnesota.

Leaving Thessaloniki behind for the bigger and more well know Athens, I did not experience the same longing to be in the big city. Instead I felt a pang of sadness and a sense of nostalgia for the city I had only come to know in three weeks time.

Thessaloniki was not amazing because of its grandeur. Its skinny streets with half-closed shops and street cats did not shimmer with the foreign luster I desired when I first came to Greece. Instead, warn shop signs and tobacco scented air became the sights and smells of home. I knew the man at the gyro place down the street and the lady who worked at the deli counter who never once poked fun at my weekly visit for turkey and cheese (to pack school lunches for Asia and I).

As many of my friends here have mentioned, the boardwalk along the Aegean sea captured my heart from the very first (sweaty) stroll down its length. Serving as the compass rose for our small city, I always came back to the sea. While abroad in a new place, the moment I feel at home is the moment I realize that I know where I am and can make my way home from wherever that may be. On the boardwalk, eating a chocolate cake with Asia and Isabelle, I could turn to the left and remember when I chased protests with David and Bradley, to the right is where we took midnight boat rides and straight ahead is the old city, perched on the hill extending up into the horizon.

I am writing this blog post from Athens, in a humid hotel room with Paxtyn by my side, doing the same. I do not long for Thessaloniki, Alexandrias 124 or even the boardwalk, but they will forever hold a place in my heart. The three weeks spent there sounds like an arbitrary amount of time, but when you are dropped into a city and made to find stories, you learn the city quickly and soon after that, falling in love is inevitable.

While it is sad to say, I will most likely not return to Thessaloniki. I have a dream to travel the world, and that does not allow any time for do-overs. It is time for Athens now, a full two weeks to learn, map, explore and write about a new city. Athens is bigger and busier for sure, but after exploring for just four hours today with Theo (our guide of sorts) and Asia, I can tell my heart will be bruised when I must leave, just the same as it was when I left our first city.

Here’s to you Thessaloniki. Thank you for hosting me and helping me acclimate into Greece.

And to you Athens, here I am.

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Humans of Greece: Street Fashion Pt. 1

“My whole house is full of flamingos. I want a concept in everything in my life. I love Alice and Wonderland. I have the cheshire cat on my back. I want to continue to make my tattoos look like a fairly tale. Backpack is from Ebay. I wanted something silly.” – Yiorgos Barbadenis, may he serve as a fashion icon forever.

“Oh my, can you take a picture of her taking our picture?” – Kelly, an Australian tourist in disbelief that someone would take her photo.

“Us?” “Guys, come with me” “You like our faces or our clothes?” – Three boys who walked away giggling before they gave me their names.

“Me alone? Im…happy? Honor.” -One of the three boys on the boardwalk.

“Only my shoes and not the whole outfit?” -Milos, 25, needed to Skype call a friend to translate how to say his age in English.

“I always wear short trousers and leggings. All different colors, the shorts and the neon leggings are the hipster thing to do. Im from Germany, but plan to live here for longer and keep wearing this.” -Dutt, 25, the coolest name ever.

“My hair is because of feminism. Black and purple is the color of feminism around the world I think. I’ve had it for 2 years now. No clue what the next color will be.” -Finn, 24, also amazing and planning to stay in Thessaloniki.