Maria Ioannou – The day I talked to a statue


A story by Maria Ioannou; Country of origin: Cyprus; Destination country: Spain;

Organization: Plato Educational Services LTD

When I attended the 2nd partner meeting of the project “INTEGREEN: Integrating the green alternative into vocational education and training for the service sector” in Madrid last Spring, I realized that the true excitement of a mobility experience is not just the work and interaction that is being done in the formal framework of each project. It is also the informal, silent dialogue one has with the city they visit, walking between the sun and the shade in a park, between the sidewalk and the pavement of a busy street, between themselves and the face of a passer by.

So there I was, face to face with the awe-aspiring statue of Cervantes, in front of the city’s breathtaking library, admiring Cervantes, envying Cervantes, simply adoring Cervantes. And as time passed, a mosaic of different people walked right in front of me, transparent clouds temporarily covered and uncovered the sun, thus magnetizing me to the beauty of that place. And as I rested on those old, wisdom-packed library stairs, I realised it was time to go, time to meet my new friends from Spain, Bulgaria, Holland and the UK – my partners in a European Mobility project but most importantly, my friends.

Before leaving the library, and I know this may sound a bit strange, I asked Cervantes to join me and meet them all. I talked to him about each and everyone of them, the things they liked, their feelings, their dreams. Things you talk about during a meeting break or over a glass of good wine. Things you discuss when you instantly connect to people and their cultures. Then, I mentioned Cyprus and my city, Limassol. I told him where I live, you can see the boats reflected in the sea at night and the sun covering slopes and beaches almost all year round.

I didn’t wave goodbye as I was leaving.

I guess I knew, sooner or later, I would meet Cervantes again.

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