Last night we spent the night in Athens at the flat of one of the Hellenic life guards we had worked with in Lesvos at Lighthouse Beach. It was so nice to wake up in a legitimate flat/apartment. The nursing home at Samos smelled like a nursing home, and one of the pipes had broke so it smelled a little ripe. I am thankful for the free accomodations, but it was nice to wake up in a proper bed.
Mari and I took the metro to the airport in Athens to meet Kristina. Kristina is our Lesvos mom, and she flew down for the two/three days to literally be here for us. Being on the islands is emotionally draining. I had messaged her a few days after she had returned to Norway that I needed a hug. She came back here for us. I know that my family in the States would have done the same, but travel from the US vs. travel from Norway is cheaper and faster.
We flew from Athens back to Lesvos together. Kristina paid for our flights, car rental, and hotel. I cannot thank her enough. At the airport we took a bus to our island-hopping plane. As we were driving on the tarmac we were nearing a twin-prop airplane that was a good 30+ years old.
Our jaws dropped, and then we had a moment of relief as we passed it. We then stopped at an even older twin-prop plane. Everyone stopped as they were boarding the plane to take pictures. I was very unsure if we were going to survive.
I’ve flown a good 50+ times, but never in a propeller plane, and nothing that looked like it could have been used in the 70’s. Every time the plane made a different noise I just gripped my seat tighter. Of course we made it, but it was definitely a different experience.
At Lesvos we stayed at the same hotel, Hotel Marilena.
When we got there the gang was already there to meet us. Todar, Joakim, Charly, all of the familiar faces, our Lesvos family. We all went to supper at the Captains Table where a few more of our friends showed up. It was so great to see everyone again, we had been separated on different missions throughout the islands or back in their home countries. It was such a great reunion. Even the restaurant owner was happy to see us. We were back where it all began.
That evening was another difficult night. Mari and I informed the group of our plan. Though all of us have friends and family back home who love us and we love them, we were a family here on Lesvos. All of us are terrified at the thought of returning back to our home countries. This is where we had found ourselves, these were the people trying to save the world, the ones that cried with us and held us. We had found home, for before we had never felt like we belonged. I’ve grown so much closer with my actual family since I have been on the islands. The difference was that the majority of the people from our respective home nations are not the same as us. We all were here trying to save the world, trying to make it a better place.
I know that many people in the US cannot come, and they support me and allow me to volunteer here. But those that have gone home, or have returned, no longer feel at home there anymore. Everyone just feels miserable when they to their homes. Most cry and feel so meaningless, they cannot pull themselves out of bed. That is what I am scared of. I am so jealous of my European friends who can stay here longer, while I can only be here 90 days then must be out of the EU for 90 days.
As a group we sat there weeping together. All of us just crying and holding each other until we had no tears left.