I am writing this from the comfort of my new bed (bed #26 - I think), on Lesvos Island. I arrived here this afternoon, after having hugged my son, my sister and my nephew goodbye and taken a short ride in a propeller plane. Once arrived at the tiny airport, I picked up my car and was asked by the man who handed me the keys if I knew that "it was insane, over there?" So, I am here and I am safe and I know I will much to share in the upcoming days about this chapter.
Tonight, and before it starts to fade away a little bit, I want to talk a little bit more about Thessaloniki. And my god there is so much I could say about it, and about my time there. SO MUCH. I could talk about the food. I could talk about the history. I could talk about my family's history and the extra pieces we found out from my mom at 1:30am last night ... hours before I had to leave. I could talk about the smiles, the lights, the sea, the uncannily comfort my family has felt walking around the streets, the people we've met, the new friends we've made, too.
But what I want to share with you is this sweetness I have encountered many times while over there: Big Stray Dogs. At first, we could not figure out what was going on with all these big, well-fed looking dogs walking around, lounging, crossing the streets (often at crosswalks) getting petted all over there place. No collars, no leashes. It baffled us. Most of these dogs are huge. Think Saint Bernard size. Could they really be homeless, we wondered?
A few nights ago, as we exited a bakery at 1 in the morning, a big pup who had been sitting on the bakery's outside mat got up and followed us for a while. He was so sweet. Thinking he may get lost, we walked him back to the bakery and asked if he was theirs. We were told he wasn't. When he caught up to us again, we were smitten and there may have been a few words thrown around about bringing him home.
Eventually, he went left and we went right, and that's when I did a quick little internet search and found out that Greece takes care of its stray dogs with special programs such as vet care and food (unfortunately no neutering). We learned that these dogs are loved by the community and well taken care of, and that because people in the city have small apartments, they love co-owning these big fluff balls.
I love that. I love that so much.
On this furry note, I am going to snuggle into my comfy bed and get ready for what might be a big day, tomorrow.
I wish you the sweetest of New Year's!