British Expat Living in Greece - Follow-up Interview with Bex
|21 Mar at 9 AM
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A contributor to the Rough Guide Travel Guidebook series, all her life experiences have helped to shape who she is today. Rebecca (Bex)'s expat blog is called Leaving Cairo (see listing here)
Here's the interview with Rebecca (Bex)...
Where are you originally from?
In which country and city are you living now?
How long have you lived in Greece and how long are you planning to stay?
In Greece: this is my 6th year - I have no idea how long I'll stay! I've made a great many friends and the Greek way of life - slightly chaotic but very caring - suits me.
I initially intended to spend one year teaching English before moving to a far flung, 'tropical' destination. I teach English as a Foreign Language primarily, but then after I found myself staying in Greece, I started a blog and my writing took off too.
Did you bring family with you?
No, I'm single and my father loves coming to visit me.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I actually prefer living in a foreign country, and the Mediterranean way of life suits me, so I didn't find it too difficult. It probably makes it easier because I only have myself to think about.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I made friends with other teachers from school - Greek and English. We are around the same age. They - in turn - introduced me to their family and it went from there.
I have a wide circle of friends: expats who're married to Greeks and Greeks too. I feel blessed.
I love living in the centre of Athens - I deliberately chose to live in a non-expat neighbourhood. I live about 20 mins from the Acropolis by public transport. There's always people to visit and go for a coffee with; outdoor cinemas in the summertime; more coffee; gallery openings; did I mention going for coffee?
What do you enjoy most about living in Greece?
Ha! The lifestyle. How people don't drink to get drunk...they know how to enjoy life without having the need to drink excessively.
I love taking 3 hours over a good meal: "You can never rush a good meal" is the motto - and this seems to be a philosophy of life too. I've learned to slow down since being in Greece and this has paid off for me, both personally and professionally.
How does the cost of living in Greece compare to home?
I think rents are cheaper, ironically. For example, my small flat I rent in the centre - by comparison to the area (near the centre) in London would be three times as much!
Ironically, the things I love can also be the - not hated, that's a strong word - but the most frustrating.
I love the slow pace of life, as mentioned, but this can sometimes be equally frustrating.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Greece, what would it be?
Leave your preconceptions behind. Learn to adapt: this is the way of life here and the more you shout and demand things to be done, the more you'll get looked at as that "rude, crazy foreigner."
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Honestly, I don't think I have had one. I suppose the thought that one day, I might have to return 'home.'
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
That will be really hard for me I think. The weather is a big factor for me here in Greece, and the UK weather plus the fast pace of life is a big turn off.
It's not to be scoffed: weather plays a HUGE impact on our life and psyche.
- Research the area
- Learn a little of the language
- Take some teabags in your suitcase!
- Don't assume that everyone is going to be able to speak English
- Try to have an eclectic mix of friends, not just expats.
My blog was started in 2010 once I’d been in Greece for two years & after having spent the summer of that year teaching in Cairo, Egypt. I fully intended to stay there, but found my love of Greece eventually drew me back to her. Hence the name of my blog "Leaving Cairo."
I write about the cultural differences observed (of which there are many!), the beautiful places visited here (islands and mainland) and the people who’ve let me into their homes and hearts.
From trips across Canada by rail to Churchill, the polar bear capital of the world, across the U.S. in a Green Tortoise bus and even from Europe to Hong Kong on a container ship, I also write stories about my varied worldwide adventures.
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
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Comments » There is 1 comment
it is good to know that somebody who has travel a lot in a big part of the world chose greece as a place to stay, this makes me proud to be greek.