Despite an almost 60-year age gap, 90-year-old Yiannis Mitrousidis and 34-year-old Sofia Dimitrakopoulou, have developed a special bond and a beautiful friendship.
Mr Mitrousidis left his hometown the little village of Flabouro in Florina 61 years ago, seeking a better future in Australia.
Sofia on the other hand was born in Australia, and spent the first nine years of her life in Adelaide before her parents decided to move to Greece. The young girl then continued her childhood and teenage years in Tripoli.
In 2016, she decided to return to her birthplace.
“Mr Yiannis was one of the first people I met when I arrived in Adelaide, and I feel blessed to call him a friend. He is one of the most knowledgeable, respectful, kind-hearted, and energetic gentlemen I have ever meet and the kind of person that inspires everyone around him to strive, aim high and be a better human,” Ms Dimitrakopoulou told Neos Kosmos.
The elderly gentleman, a retired educator, is passionate about his Greek heritage and has dedicated his whole life to promoting and preserving the Greek language, culture and Hellenism in South Australia.
Mr Mitrousidis has served as president of the Western Macedonia Association ‘Pavlos Melas’, president of the ‘Great Alexander Association’ and is also a member of the Panmacedonian Association in Australia.
He is also the editor and publisher of SA’s local newspaper ‘Macedonian Voice’.
Ms Dimitrakopoulou and Mr Yiannis speak on the phone at least three times a week and meet on a regular basis to catch up on their news and spend time with each other’s families.
“The love for our country and its people, Greek history, and our local Greek community are some of the things we like to discuss. My one and only 90-year-old friend is the epitome of a real gentleman who knows how to show love and respect for his fellow human beings. I admire him for his wisdom, his positive outlook in life and his ability to relate to everyone whether they are a child, a teenager, a young adult or an elderly person,” Ms Dimitrakopoulou said.
Mr Mitrousidis says that his friendship with Sofia is based on feelings of mutual respect and understanding.
“Sofia and I are from a different era, yet we have both come to realise that there is so much we can learn from each other. Exchanging ideas and experiences is the best way for the elderly to understand young people and vice versa. In my humble opinion this is the only way to move a society forward. Nobody can ever say they know everything. We have all come here to learn, share our wisdom, and guide our children and grandchildren so that they can lead the way.
“Trust me, they are more than capable,” concluded Mr Mitrousidis.