People of Aegina #6 – Dina from Aegina
Can you imagine how it feels to be born and raised in Aegina? Dina Chatzina, a permanent resident of our island since she was born, shares all the reasons why she loves Aegina and wouldn’t change it for anything, unfolding childhood memories and priceless moments of pure happiness. Enjoy her interview!
Friends of Weloveaegina, hello! My name is Dina Chatzina and I was born and raised in Aegina. I am a permanent resident of our beautiful island and I don’t change it for anything. For twenty years I used to teach French (I also had my own foreign language school). At the same time, I have worked as a volunteer at the Historical and Folklore Museum of our island, where I guided the visitors during the weekends. For the last ten years I have been working as a sociologist in the Home Help program of the Municipality of Aegina. As a Manager of Cultural Management, I am currently working with my colleagues on the Paleochora Project for which we have the support of Weloveaegina. Thank you very much Weloveaegina!
I love Aegina because it offered me the greatest childhood…
Although I love traveling and I want to make short or longer getaways when I have the opportunity, I always come back here. I love Aegina for the best childhood years it offered me, but also because it is an island that combines history, culture and an amazing natural landscape!
Aegina means priceless moments
Those who have spent their childhood in Aegina will surely agree that these were the best years of their lives. My memories are happy moments that have been etched forever in my soul and mind.
I remember my childhood summers, when we used to take the bus and go for a swim in Avra, all the effort we made to swim until the so-called “dry”. I remember all the friends who mingled every summer when the schools closed, the endless games in the afternoons until late at night, the bike rides, the open-air cinemas, the ice creams and swims we used to count and compete with our friends, the intoxicating aroma of the night flowers, the fireflies that used to shine in our courtyards in the dark, the night hide and seek that we played for hours, the walks in Agia Marina (at the times when nightlife was so vibrant and full of foreign tourists).
I have fond memories of our favorite primary school in Agioi Asomati, where we used to attend lessons along with another class in the same room. I also remember the wood stove trying to warm the icy rooms, the games in the courtyard, our good teachers we remember with love until today.
What I love the most in Aegina
was and is Pagoni, the village of my grandparents (from my mother’s side). I used to visit them almost every day and I spent a great part of my life there, as I was lucky enough to live near them until the age of 27. Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather and grandmother from my father’s side at a very young age, so I haven’t kept any memories.
The grandma, the grandpa and Aegina’s paradise
Pagoni was my favorite village. My grandfather, George Pantazis, was a greengrocer and used to wander with his two-wheel carriage in the alleys of the city of Aegina to sell his fresh groceries, vegetables and fruits. The nickname he gave me was “kolokythaki” (meaning zucchini). Together we fed all the animals he had, our horse Jimmy, the sheep, the hens, the turkeys that chased me to bite me, the pigeons, the pheasants, the goats, Mini the donkey. You do understand the paradise I was lucky enough to live in. My grandfather and my beloved grandmother, Despina, also called Pipina, lived a simple life, yet so honest and happy.
My love for animals was born in this traditional house
My grandparents’ house had a typical traditional layout, with their courtyard and my grandmother’s pots, the bag with the geremezi cheese hanging in the yard, the wood oven, the wooden door with the big thick key in the lock, the table with the traditional floral plastic tablecloth in the yard where we used to eat juicy watermelon in the summer, the small mirror on the wall that my grandfather used to shave… I owe my love for animals to my grandparents. My grandmother loved cats, and there were always one or more dogs in their house all the years I can remember, such as Irma, Maya, Robbie.
The mountain walks we had on Sundays with all my cousins who also used to visit our grandparents were endless. I also remember kite-flying, the harvest of our pistachios every August, the services in the chapel of St. George.
That’s why my favorite side of Aegina is the whole area from Pagoni to the village of Portes and beyond Kylindras.
I love all the villages of this route, even the uninhabited settlements you can find there. The smell of spiny brooms, the dry stones, the nature all year round is something I wouldn’t change. Pick up whichever stone you like and you will find some hidden secret, some story from the past that the wind narrates, making the branches of the trees wink at us and whisper words such as “generations and generations of people have passed from here. Stop and listen to what they have to say, to what they have to teach you.”
Μy friends, I invite you to find more information on the Weloveaegina website, especially in the Villages section. Take a tour on our island with Weloveaegina and you will not miss it! As the soul and creator of the site, Elina Argyri, says, “discover the real Aegina”.
I will end with some more photos from my favorite corners in Aegina, full of sea, stone, color and Aegean light….