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Maria, Greece/Northern Ireland

My name is Maria, I’m 27 years old, and I’m from Greece. Specifically from Crete, from the west part, from Chania. Before I left my home country I was studying. I left Greece because I wanted to do European Voluntary Service, and I was accepted in Belfast, so I decided to move here. I left alone, without my family or friends. Actually, my family was wondering why I wanted to leave beautiful Greece to come to Belfast [laughs]. I am here now two years. The first year I was doing the Euro Voluntary Service, and then I left back home and I returned because I wanted to find a job. I have been looking for a job for a very long time.

I chose Northern Ireland because I already had friends here and I feel that it’s a safe, good place for me. I have more opportunities than in my home country at the moment. I also like traveling a lot, and I have to admit that I find a lot of people very friendly here in Northern Ireland. At the moment I work here in FabLab Belfast, it’s located in Northern Belfast.

The object that I brought with me is – it’s an herbal tea, or plant, from Crete, from the mountains. It’s very important for me because it reminds me of my family, my grandmother, my father. Because we collect them and then we have it as a tea or when we are sick. It’s a very important object for me. It’s called Malotira. And if I say this word to a person from Athens, for example, they will understand what it is. This is a very specific word from Crete.