When I started putting this program together a few years ago, my fears were that there would not be enough interest by the community or students. I pondered whether it was worth my time to pursue this mighty task of bringing students to a place so far from home and if the residents of Paros wished us to be here. After three study abroad programs, Thomas and I have found that indeed, the interest by both parties has been great.
On Thursday night, we gathered at the Archilochus community center with many of our friends that we have made here on Paros. Some have supported us from the beginning; others are new friends to us. It was overwhelming to see the support that these people here have given us. So many people have helped us from the goodness of their hearts, and have helped us succeed.
We showed our three documentaries that the students have worked on this year. All very nicely done; it is so impressive to me that we can do this amount of work in three weeks. We were also able to show some of the personal interviews that the students made this year; interviews with local artists, farmers, architects- the people that give this island its heart.
And to that, I can relate. My time here always feels short, but also feels like lifetimes. A recurring theme to last night’s program is that some people are just drawn to this place; it immediately feels like home; it is comfortable here; you feel like you belong here. I cherish every trip to Paros; I cherish that I can bring others here as well- they feel the same as I do by the time they leave. Many of the students tell me they want to figure out how to return here in the future.
Because it feels good to return home. Until next year, Paros!