‘New to Greece’ and now what to do?

By Katerina Tsitsipi

At last, you have unpacked, put the furniture into place, the kids started school, and….”WHAT AM I
DOING HERE?”, you probably think.

Well, you can do EVERYTHING here, provided that you ask the right people, meet people from your country and others, and set your mind into the task of making it and settling down, while trying to adapt in the new country.
After many years of working with expats, we have gathered some advice and experience from the side of the newcomer and the local people. 

First of all, join Newcomers! For obvious reasons! 

Don’t hesitate to ask anyone in the street for help, info, or advice. Greeks are generally quite friendly and helpful towards foreigners. If you are beginning to learn Greek, even if you know only 3 words, don’t be shy, USE THEM! Nobody will make fun of you or laugh at you. One thing I tell my students is that learning Greek opens a window in your life! Hard to believe? You think it’s an IMPOSSIBLE language to learn? 

That’s what we think, too. It’s hard. That’s why whenever we see a foreigner trying to learn it, we respect him/her, no matter what. 

About shopping: one of the best things we have in Athens, in my opinion, is the “laiki” (pronounced lie-ee-kee), the street market. If you consider that we eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables every day (frozen meals are not popular at all), you can understand why the laikis are always so crowded. The salesman will give you a bag to pick your own produce so that you can choose by yourself the quantity you like. They will let you taste their produce, and they might even offer you some as a present.

Tip: if you get to know the people there, you will be able to do your shopping very fast since they will choose for you. I always “threaten” jokingly that if they don’t give me super good quality, I’ll shout next time I come!

Greece is the ideal country for socializing.

Both yours and your children’s social life will be extremely rich – your diary will be full! There are zillions of things to do in Athens for adults, children, families etc. provided that you are open to all that. Don’t be afraid of staying out till late. A very popular Saturday evening activity is cinema first, eating out afterwards (you might have noticed by now that everything here is followed by food). Don’t stay within the limits of your area, go to the centre of town, venture south, go everywhere! Try to adapt your schedule to ours occasionally – within limits, sometimes we are TOO MUCH! 

On the weekends, discover our parks, playgrounds, mountains, museums, concert halls and the weekly events. Sygrou Park in Marousi, Parnitha Mountain, Poulaki Park in Filothei, are just a few places you can visit for a nice walk.

If you allow it to be, Greece can be a dream country, There are negative aspects to living here, but if you get to know the culture, the people and the language, you just may fall in love with Greece… many people do!

via: Newcomers Newsletter October 2013

you can visit: http://www.newcomersinathens.com/

and http://newcomersinathens.blogspot.gr/


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