Looking forward, looking back – a new year’s rhyme

In the Netherlands, it is very common to write rhymes during December. On the 5th of December, we celebrate Sinterklaas, or Saint Nicholas. To younger children, we tell that he comes to bring presents, similar to what people say about Santa Clause in many other countries. Once people grow older, they generally do not believe in Sinterklaas anymore. Then, we often do a gift exchange where we pull a name and give a gift to one person. But we do not just buy gifts: traditionally, we also have to craft a creative way of packaging the gift, and write a rhyme. The packaging can be related to somebody’s hobbies, life, or be more general. For example, it can be a computer, a house, or a snowman. Then we also write a rhyme, which can be about a person’s life or the presents they are receiving. 

In a similar style, I would like to share an old/new year’s rhyme about Greece, my past five months as an EVS volunteer and my future 5 months in the rest of the project.

Sunset in Lefkada

The end of 2018 has come very fast,
And for me, five months of EVS have passed.
It was a very sunny year,
In the warm Greek atmosphere.

Greece is an interesting country, that can be said,                                
And at times, when I lie in my bed,
I feel like there is chaos all around,
And I think, ‘what is this country that I found?’

They say that in Greece everything is possible,
And I can confirm this, no moment is dull,
Because so many things happen only here,
Or at least, so it seems to appear.

In my past five months I have seen many unexpected things,
It is amazing what life in Greece brings.
On top of a parking lot I found a colourful kiddie pool,
And I actually thought it was kind of cool.

Finding lost objects around the city

Some things don’t always seem to work so well,
Where the recycling goes, nobody can tell.
There are also many stray animals everywhere,
Who are very grateful when you have some food to share.

Feeding stray cats

But all in all, Greece has many amazing things to give,
And I am very grateful that this is the place where I live.
I can describe so many magical moments,
But I will just give you a few fragments.

In August, I went to Lefkada, in the west,
Where we found a beautiful beach as a place to rest.
The seas there were incredibly blue,
And my love for this country slowly grew.

A beach in Lefkada

In September I went to Chalkidiki and saw lots of sand,
And I got beautifully tanned.
I also realised how hospitable people are
When people took us into their car.

But Greece also has mountains and forests,
And when I was there, we were the only tourists.
Mount Chortiatis brought some quietness and peace,
To the otherwise hectic life in Greece.

View of Thessaloniki from Mount Chortiatis

On Oxi day I took a dive,
Into some traditional Greek cultural life.
Feeling like a princess in a beautiful dress,
I felt completely free of stress.

Wearing traditional clothing on Oxi Day (28 October)

EVS also taught me to be more flexible,
And the days here are never dull.
Sometimes the best gifts are the unexpected ones,
For me, a cardboard box from my roommate filled my heart with suns.

A cardboard box that I got as a present from my roommate

During November I went southwards,
And swimming during the sunset took away all my words.
So many sunsets, too many to count,
And on a good day, you can see even the Olympus Mount.

Mount Olympus visible during sunset in Thessaloniki

Many beautiful moments so far,
I even got the chance to go to a Jane Goodall seminar!
I hope that 2019 will bring many more,
And I am curious what the next five months will have in store.

Enjoy the last few days of this year,
And don’t leave Greece without a souvenir.

Post Author: Sacha Bogaers

Sacha Bogaers
I am 23 years old and moved from Sweden to Greece for ten months. My main interests are human rights, activism, and art. I also love writing about LGBTQ+-related topics and social justice.

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