For a long time, since I moved away, I haven’t called in an old friend who happens to be working in the same city as me. It’s one of those contacts I have in my phone and I have felt such a relief that I had someone known to call when I want company. Actually, because I believe that is not easy to make friends in a place where everyone is unfamiliar with your presence.
Luckily, I decided to pick up the phone and give him a call. He instantly agreed that there should be a meeting, to catch up with our lives and share our stories.
I found myself sitting in one of the few modern cafes of the city and talking about many things. How the weekend was spent, how the routine had changed and how more stuff had been added to our shoulders, personal life and experiences so far.
One specific point seemed that mostly could match up: the οpinion about the city so far.
I came from a megalopolis and my friend had also moved from a medium populated place to work here. Kind of irony, since most of the people today are looking for jobs in larger cities. Florina is the exact opposite.
My basic argument was that I am feeling secluded in this piece of land. Even though the closest international airport is about 3 hours away, I still get this feeling. A place situated far away from the capital, almost hidden on the map.
Also, less activities and events take place in here. Compared with my home place, Florina seems like stuck back in time. Theater and movies, with one screening each day, have no variety at all.
Less and small shops could be found with mostly basic needs. No gigantic department stores, no malls. If somebody needs something specific, a trip to the closest bigger city of the region is needed.
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On top of these, participation of the youth is even more limited. Neither happenings nor special occasions could be found in here. The city seems mostly alive if I look around in cafes and bars, especially during spring, when the weather is warmer and national breaks are happen more often.
Also, the weather. I had visited Florina twice when I was younger and I knew that the climate in here wasn’t so friendly, especially during winter. Luckily, this year, I managed to survive a, not so rough in comparison with last year’s, winter. But, it was more extreme compared with my home city’s weather conditions. And summer doesn’t visit us so often, as autumn does.
I hated to agree with these aspects.
A place could come with pros and cons, but mostly, a place is its people.
However, a coin has two sides. This godforsaken but meanwhile beautiful place has many things to offer.
Since I was looking a job in my specialty, not so many archaeological services were offering a place. So I took the chance and moved in here, away from the big city lights.
Slowly, but steadily, I came to realize that among the many disadvantages that has for a person coming from a crowded, active and mostly alive city, there were also some advantages.
Everything could go in a steady, but not in a hasty, pace. That can be both bad and good.
Whenever I want to reach someplace away from my place, I could get there in a few minutes. This city, as I love to say, is like “a huge campus”. Call it shops, supermarkets, cafes or anything else; I can be there right away without any need to get on a bus, a metro or to take a taxi.
Moreover, it is the ideal place for anyone who wants to take a breath and enjoy the silence, read, write, relax and especially to study. I find it quite amusing when, during Saturday mornings, I want to enjoy the silence and read a book. Away from any nuisance.
In addition, nature is closer. Two weeks ago, I had the chance to go hiking. The starting point was only 10 minutes away from my place! There is also a ski resort for winter lovers, two of the largest lakes in the country for adventurous visitors, many villages with unique cuisine.
And I really like this feeling.
Nevertheless, I tend to support the idea that someone that have lived in a populated area should live sometime in a small city, away from any distractions. Not for long. Just to get the impression of how it is to be isolated from the noise. So to finally understand himself/herself better.