Once upon a time our Parian foreign community was like a group of castaways on a desert island ... living in a kind of forgotten time zone .. a place between two worlds... seeking a way of life far from the urban culture and the pressures and stresses of â€śmodernâ€ť life in which we had been raised. In time, the members of the community put down roots, acquired language skills, shared their knowledge and talents, artists and musicians brought us their gifts, and a process of organization and integration began. This phenomenon attracted the attention of journalist Katerina Antonopoulou of Mega Channel, and, if you happened to be watching the morning TV programme on Thursday 22nd June, you would have seen beautiful scenes from the island we have chosen as our home, interspersed with interviews with some of our local foreign residents. We spoke, of course, of the â€śmysteryâ€ť of Paros, of that â€śfeeling of coming homeâ€ť we have heard so often and from so many, of the impression â€śthat we do not choose Paros, but that Paros chooses usâ€ť, of the sense of destiny or fate that brought us here and, now, of the fact that we seem to find it impossible to leave! And of our love for this special place in the Aegean Archipelago.
But attention to our community is not limited to Greek television stations - our home countries are interested in our lives too ... earlier this year, the German foreign women of Paros were represented in discussions with the â€śDeutsches Kontakt und Informationszentrumâ€ť, established by Mrs Vera Dimopoulos-Vosikis in Athens in 1974 to provide information and support to German women resident in Greece. Silvia Lubitz-Skaramangkas was invited to Athens to meet Mrs Christina Rau, wife of the President of the German Republic who was visiting Greece to learn about the way of life - both the positive factors, as well as the difficulties encountered - by German women living in this country.
Together with Mrs Rau, the wife of the German Ambassador to Greece and the wife of the German Consul of Thessaloniki, members of the German Contact Group discussed a number of issues and concerns, including how to maintain a balance between Greek and German cultures in binational families and the need for high-level support back in Germany for a project to establish a home for senior citizens for German nationals in Greece.