Anna Chrysopoulou is a young Athenian living in Glasgow for the past 3 years, who happens to be one of my closest friends. She joined us on a lazy Sunday afternoon at the Good unit, in Buchanan Galleries to talk about this unique city; her own lived experience as Southern European living in West Scotland and the second home she found in this country.
I met Anna a rainy evening in the library café of Edinburgh University. Since then, many things have changed: we became close friends and flatmates; we moved from Edinburgh to Glasgow; we fell – many, many times- and got back up again. As my leftist grandpa used to say: if you walk, you will fall, eventually and inevitably. And you may have bruises on your knees and it may hurt as hell but you have to get back on your feet and keep going. But you can rest assured that you will get by with a little help from your friends and you may, actually, have fun while doing it.
I agree with Aristotle: humans are by nature social animals. Friends are important to us all, regardless of whether we live in the country we’re born in or we’ve changed our path along the way. But, Anna is telling her story. My story. And the story of many people that left their home to find a new one, somewhere else – because when you just arrive in another country and you’re a stranger among strangers, friends are everything. Sometimes, when you’re far away from home and tragic things happen, they are the only thing that you can and want to hold onto; they have the magic power to make any situation bearable.
Anna describes what makes Glasgow so special to her and to the people that even though they aren’t born here, they feel a part of this witty city. And she tells us, of course, what she misses from Athens –because let’s be honest, Athens is a great city to live in. What Anna has achieved is something that I wish to all of us: to be able to cherish the little pleasures in life, with the people we’re with, because – I know it’s a cliché but it’s a cliché precisely because it’s true – life is made up of small moments and a happy life is nothing more than accumulation of these small, beautiful moments. If we’re aware of this very fact, we’re already one step closer to finding happiness.
Is it possible to feel at home in two different places? The answer is that yes, it is very possible. It’s also possible to feel a stranger in both places, even just a little bit– you’ve changed but the places you love may not have changed with you.
But what’s home at the first place?
According to Anna home is a place where we feel safe. That feeling of safety allows us to develop our skills; to achieve our deepest aspirations; to deal with love, deception and heartache.
Home is where the heart is and heart can be in two places. At the end of the day, it’s a place where you spend beautiful moments with beautiful people; a place where you come to truly appreciate and cherish.
Big thanks to Anna for coming in on a Sunday and having this wonderful chat.
Thanks to all of you for listening and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. You can find all you need to know about the Good project on www.good.scot. The Good Unit is based on the 2nd floor, in Buchanan Galleries so please pop in and share your story with us.