How did I start my everlasting discovery of Greece? By chance.
In 2003, I came to Athens for one year as a scholarship holder (thank you, IKY!) and as a doctorate candidate in order to work in the libraries and to gather material for my thesis that I was writing in Ukraine. The monthly amount was 500 euros, and most people told me that was a very good money. At the beginning, I had no studio, no hotel room reservation, of course. Such things were unthinkable that time for me, who was going to visit Europe for the first time and who only had 50 euros which my mother gave me in case I need money if my scholarship is not paid quickly by the IKY.
I only had come contacts, and, thanks to them, one Athenian family offered me shelter for a couple of weeks until the moment I find something to rent. But in one or in two weeks, Sophia, her husband Sakis, and the rest of her family proposed me not to leave their house but to stay as long as I need. The whole year. For free. And they would feed me. I asked but could I pay at least for water or electricity. – No, that’s too little money. And we need millions, – answered Sophia, then working at the National Bank of Greece.
Here’s my benefactors’ portraits made 5 years later, in 2009. We went together to the village Loukas on Peloponnese, place where Sakis grew up.
This unexpected confidence, friendliness and generosity of the Greek people that I did not know at all and who did not know me became the source and the possibility of my escapades from Athens, of my discoveries of the Greek islands, like Crete, for example, and all those lands that I saw not only during my stay in 2003-2004, but also afterwards, because when one throws the ball, it never stops.