Volunteers' blog

Alex: a greek volunteers blog #2

A greek volunteers blog #2

Hello Everyone! For those who don’t know me my name is Alex (Alexandhros) and i’m a volunteer from Greece (also i’m of Albanian descent as well). Specifically I'm volunterring in the Narva-Jõesuu, Sinimae and Olgina youth centers as well as the Narva-Jõesuu School as a youth worker. I’ve been volunteering now for over 4 and a half months. During this period of living and being part of this country and it’s culture, i’ve created my own point of view and come up with my own conclusions and answers on how it is to live in Estonia and especially in Narva the city which I currently live in.

So in retrospect the purpose of this blog is to give you an insight on what my thoughts are regarding Estonia and my experience living in it as well as giving you an insight on my life as a volunteer and in general me as a person. This blog will be updated weekly so if you are interested make sure to stick out with us to get updated weekly!!
This is the second 2nd part of my blog. If you want you can check out the previous one as well !!!

Today’s topic is going to be about food! Something that you should know about me is that i realy, really, really love food... Especially good food. So i wanted to spend some time talking about how the food culture is in Greece in comparison to Estonia. But first let me tell you a little bit about my relationship that i have with food and how it all started.

I think i can pretty much talk about everyone when i say that most of my early experiences that i had when it comes to eating food came from my mothers cooking.
When it comes to my mom’s cooking i can pretty much say that she’s a pretty good cook. But this also stands for most of my mother’s family’s side. So being always surrounded by people who like to cook and know how to evaluate and respect good food, i pretty much became the same. That’s why one of my favourite things to do is also cook myself.

So setting that aside, another thing that i also really like to do is to go out and explore different types of restaurants and experience different and new types of cuisines from around the world. For me i always consider bizzare and charming the unlimited things that someone can create with the basically endless array of ingredients that someone has regarding food. And for me this is what cuisines from around the world do. They give you a small taste of that. Having that in mind you can basically understand that this is also something that i’m definitely doing whenever i’m travelling to another country. Because for me a country’s cuisine is also a very important part of it’s identity as well.

There is something very interesting that characterizes Estonian cuisine and that is that it doesn’t have a certain identity. That is because a lot of it’s traditional dishes are actually very heavily influenced from other countries ( Denmark, Germany, Russia etc... ). Of course that is the result of Estonia being a country that has been invaded and conquered by a lot of countries for a lot of years and as time passed these countries also influenced its cuisine. Especially in the Ida-viruma county, because of the 90% of the population is russian speaking, most of them are eating also russian food and a lot of the shops there sell russian food as well. I, personally from what I've eaten until now i really like estonian cuisine and i can’t wait to explore more of it...

If i had to say though what cuisine i would prefer more between Greek and Estonian, I would have to say Greek. Greek food has pretty much it’s own identity. There are a lot of dishes though that are influenced or taken from other countries (mostly Turkey) or dishes that in general the balkan countries share with each-other. Aside from the fact that i may prefer Greek food more because of the dishes themselves, which someone can say that it’s a biased opinion because all of us have different palets and preferences, which is absolutely right, the thing that makes me like it more as well is that in Greece it’s very easy to find or even make very good “quality” of food. What I mean with that is that in Greece someonce can find very easily fresh ingredients that make your food taste better, even if it’s from a person who is a farmer and you know and can sell you their product in person or more commonly from the farmers market. Now i know that in Estonia farmer’s markets, exist but they are a little bit different than in Greece. In Greece the farmer’s market takes place once a week in comparison to mostly everyday which is in Estonia (at least in Narva).The thing is though that they take place all around Greece. Every single city, town, village even neighouhood has it’s own farmer’s market. Another thing is that they are also bigger and with a lot more variety when it comes to the products and the people who are selling them. Last but not least the product’s, even though in both countries are of pretty good quality, in Greece they are also much cheaper and especially in comparison with the supermarkets, which makes going to the farmer’s market a weekly thing especially because of that.

Other small differences that Greece has in comparison to Etonia are that in Greece bakeries, butcheries and fish markets are a staple. At least every neighbourhood has one bakery and every city has at least one butchery and one fish market. In Estonia let’s say that you don’t have these many choices...
Finally i wanted to add that what defines every countries cuisine and food culture is mostly the relationship that the people who live in that country have with it. In my country and i think in most of the mediteranean countries or the balkans, (because we are very similar in that aspect) what defines this relationship is the deep connection that we have with it. We define it as much as it defines as itself. We live everyday with it. It’s there for us in our happy times or even the sad ones and it’s always the best thing to share with someone you love and care about. Because this is what food is at the end of the day. Something that helps get people together...

So that was it for today’s blog. I appreciate all of you who managed to stick in until the end and also taking time from your everyday life just to read about my shenanigans :P. If you have any questions, or you found something interesting in this blog that maybe you would like me to explain more in depth, or in general have any suggestion for next weeks blog you can just leave a comment or just sent me a message so we can make that happen!!

See you on the next one!!!
Alex Solidarity for Sustainable Life