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“Visiting Greece can change your life,” says expat who spent 25 years on a Greek island

In the spring of 1988,  the lead singer of a US band along with five jazz musicians landed in Athens airport, following a short-term contract on board of a cruise ship. When the shipping company went bust due to financial problems, the 35-year-old singer did not followed her colleagues back to the US.  She took the challenge and stayed in Greece, changed her course of life  and picked up “the new adventure.”

“When I stepped off that plane in Athens into the sweet lemon smell of a Greek spring, I looked up at those beautiful green mountains, felt the sea breeze on my face, and said to myself, ‘I am home.’ Karen told us daily The Newsstar.

“The noise, the disorganization, the traffic congestion, the crazy drivers, the pollution, and the chaos that others complained about was not what I saw,” she added.

“I found everything about this new experience stimulating and exciting but it wasn’t easy. Adjusting to a new culture with entirely different ideas and attitudes takes time.”

After spending some time in Greece, Karen moved to the islands.

“The colors of the Greek islands, the turquoise blues of the sea and sky, the white-washed sugar cube buildings had captivated me and I was fearless in my decision to stay,” she recalls.

And so she did. She strayed and worked on the island of Mykonos for almost 25 years.

Sharing her love for Greece, Karen gave some tips for newcomers, whether on a short visit or permanent settlement in the south European country.

The most challenging issues are: the different culture,  the loud and what it often sounds as if it was “confrontational communication”, the lack of organization in the public services.

  • “Abundance in Greece is often measured by quality of life rather than quantity of money or material possessions. The first thing a Greek said to me was: life is short, make it beautiful. Food is a celebration and a reason for being with family and friends. A night around the table can quickly escalate into group singing and energetic dancing. A simple meal at the local taverna or a walk by the sea at sunset bring enjoyment and satisfaction to a people who live passionately and authentically every day.”

Apart form the beautiful landscapes, the iconic scenery and the amazing “sunsets over the horizons” one more potential makes Greece unique: the humans.

“The Greeks are open-hearted and philosophical, opinionated and emotional, kind and proud,” Karen told thenewsstar.

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KTG would appreciate if some reader wants to share his or her experience visiting or permanently living in Greece. A text of maxi 500 words would be fine. Send your stories at: Email ref title: “Greece life expats”

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  1. There is no “challenge” for those that want to get a little bit away from the typical high tech, sterile, super efficient, “business” culture in the US (and those countries that copy it). Edward Abbey described business as “busyness”, not much more than that. It is Greece’s “relaxed atmosphere” (however you want to define it) that IS the attraction. Learning enough of the language to get along and to be able to absorb some of the culture and understand a little about what is going on wasn’t a challenge; it was enjoyable!! No challenge to eating one of the world’s healthiest diets, either! If you are too culturally lazy then go to Las Vegas where you can see all the (fake!) sights while eating junk food, speaking English, and sleeping in a sterile hotel.

  2. Away from Greece feel like a Robot, I go to Greece to Revive as a human been.Why I do not stay there ? Money.

  3. I love it when I visit my family in Greece. I like the waywardness. It reminds me a bit of the 1970s here in Australia, not the backwardness but the pace and lack of political correctness. A time when doors were left open on hot nights and when family did things together- a family member visited us in Perth and told me she wants to move here one day because we had great houses and manicured streets with large shopping centres and I laughed and replied that I wanted her lifestyle where it’s pace was slower, it’s local fresh markets and small communities. We live in houses and don’t really walk anywhere we drive. We don’t stop and talk to anyone in our neighbourhood because we are at our large malls. It’s so sad really.

  4. I love Greece, & when I first got there I said the same thing I am home that was in 1997 been going there for 20 yrs I lived there for 2 yrs would have stayed longer but the dollar fell like rock…I lived through the 2004 Olympics , was able to to go back last year to celebrate 20 yrs with friends and family miss it sooo much miss the people the pace of life the sea all that fresh fish, the smell of spring , oranges & lemons in bloom the fresh horta all the wild flowers even the crazy drivers (I am one) also when I did my DNA found out I am a little Greek 2%

  5. Greece has drawn me since visits to the islands when I was a kid.

    In May 2009 I came to Athens for the first time, invited by a Facebook friend. I came back to Athens in June, August and November the same year. I moved here permanently on 5 January the following year (2010). I haven’t left Greece since then.

    I don’t live by the sea on an idyllic island. I’m mostly indoors, working, in an apartment in a fairly central (but far from “elite”) suburb of Athens. But I love my life. Just being surrounded by Greeks fills me with joy.

  6. i arrived in greece in early ’82 from nyc & never went back ….
    5 years in the islands …31 years in the mountains ….
    i’m a hermit …come & find me & i’ll tell you everythaaaaang ….lol

  7. thank you friend …..hahaha

  8. well the IS the oldest marige since 1974 for 1 GREEK ex kamaki AND A ENGLISH GIRL!!????? with 2 kids at 35 and have lived in LEFKADA SINCE 1982 and lots off of stories to tel !!!!!!WOW and still going !!!?? dear me ax vaH thanks ALL AN KTG!!