First Impressions of Thessaloniki

My first impression upon arriving in Thessaloniki verged on disappointment. The temperature had barely reached ten degrees and the sky was overcast, cloudy and grey. This was not the Greece that I had imagined or experienced six months ago. I made my way to my hostel with a short detour due to getting lost, and simply began to freak out. I had just moved to a new country, the second time in a year, I had nowhere to live, I knew not one person, and the Greek alphabet is completely different to the Roman alphabet. This was going to be a great semester!

I arrived the night before the Erasmus student orientation and still had no bearings of the city, but assumed that the journalism building would be simple and easy to find the next morning. I was completely and utterly wrong. I had miss read the instructions which said that building was at the other end of Egnatia street away from the main university campus, and spent the next hour and a half trying to find it and asking other students heading towards the university where it was, most of whom pushed me out the way. When I finally managed to find it the orientation was over and the staff were glad to have located me, the only GEJI student this semester, also referred to as ‘the Australian’. There would be no flying under the radar this semester for Morgan.

Classes didn’t start for another week so I had a lot of time to look and find an apartment. I sat and searched all day on the internet, as all of the listings on the streets are in Greek, and didn’t find anything. By chance I asked the man who worked at the hostel if he knew of anyone looking to rent a room or apartment. He called his friend a real estate agent and within an hour I had viewed and taken an apartment. Fabulous. I spent the next week moving into the apartment, cleaning and adjusting to life in Greece.

On Monday, the last day of carnival, it snowed. It snowed in Thessaloniki, Greece, and the Australian was too excited for words. Snow is such a novel thing to me, even though the snow was barely forming into snow flakes. It did seem a little strange for there to be snow in Greece, but the most wonderful thing occurred the day after. I woke up to blue skies and sun, the first since I had arrived and I began to feel happier and more comfortable in where I was living. The streets surrounding my apartment no longer looked as dirty and un welcoming as they did a week before. They now looked familiar and the smell of citrus wafting through the streets from the orange tree-lined roads made everything seem better. So here is to hoping that things begin to improve in Greece and I begin to feel happier where I am.

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