Top 10 Reasons To Love Living In Greece in 2019
- by XpatAthens
- Monday, 11 February 2019
Every year on the anniversary of moving to Greece, an American expat and a good friend of XpatAthens puts together a list of reasons why she loves living in Greece. Seven years ago, she left her job and life in San Francisco and decided to make the move to Athens, Greece. She has never looked back! Here are her top 10 reasons of what she loves about living in Greece:
- The buskers along Dionysiou Aeropagetou. The pedestrian zone near where I live is filled with street performers so it becomes like a progressive concert most days as I walk my dog Andromeda. I never know who will be there or what to expect-we have bubble blowers, musicians, an African bongo group, silk performers and dance troupes, just to name a few. There is even a woman who will put your hair in a stylish braid or updo for 5 euros. It’s on my list to try in 2019…
- Beach Volleyball. Last spring I decided to learn beach volleyball. I wanted to be trained by professionals so I asked my friend Sakis Psarras where to go, and he directed me to the Attica Beachvolley Club. I love my lessons–we practice outside in the fresh air, barefoot in the sand. My teammates and coaches are so encouraging (bravo Lynn!) that in the beginning I got confused and thought I had real talent. But then one day, when I hit the ball right and the entire team clapped, I realized, no. It’s the opposite. I’m really bad, and they are trying to keep my spirits up…It’s ok, I wasn’t planning to go pro. But one day, I would like to play in a beginners tournament.
- The Athens Riviera. This year I discovered the Athens Riviera and the beaches south of Athens in Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni. I didn’t realize seaside near Athens could be so good. Lots of them are blue flag beaches and on par with many islands…The water is clean, the beach clubs are fun, and best of all, we have SUP Yoga at Astir Beach with one of the best sunsets in town.
- Things get cheaper. The longer I live in Greece, the cheaper things seem to become. All around Athens, I now get discounts–discounts because I’m a yoga teacher, discounts because I live in the neighborhood, discounts because I’ve been coming a long time, discounts for reasons I can’t even identify, but I hear it often -μια άλλη τιμή για σένα! (another price for you!). This was not the case in San Francisco. It must be a Greek thing…
- Athens is becoming a health food mecca! When I moved to Athens in 2012, if I asked for “quinoa” and “nutritional yeast” I got blank stares. Now I get quinoa in the regular supermarket, and I choose between two brands of nutritional yeast in my favorite bio store. I can eat at Vegan Beat, Vegan Nation, Avocado and Nice and Easy—all an easy walk from my apartment. This was also the year I discovered Yi, the super healthy vegetarian raw food restaurant in Glyfada. If I could create a restaurant, it would be Yi. Everything is sugar-free and gluten-free, and the restaurant allows dogs. For me, it is a small paradise.
- My new doctor. My new doctor, Nikoleta Koini, is one of the few US-trained functional medicine doctors in Greece. Functional medicine is science based, 100% individualized, holistic preventative medicine. It matches my medical philosophy almost perfectly so I was thrilled to find a highly trained functional medicine doctor in Athens. Now I have supplements that are precisely matched to my situation. It might take some research, but you can get great medical care in Greece.
- Filotimo is part of the culture. The word “filotimo” exists only in Greek, and it means doing the right thing without expecting anything in return. I’ve seen it acted out time and time again.
There was the time my taxi driver Dimos came to pick me and my friends up in his personal car on a taxi strike day. He took us to the port but refused to accept money (ever) for the journey, because he wanted to respect the rules of the strike but also wanted us to have our holiday.
There was the time when I got sick in a mountain village on a weekend trip. All pharmacies were closed, but the souvenir store owner gave me his full package of Panadol. He was worried about me and wasn’t sure when I’d be able to get to an open pharmacy. He didn’t accept my offer to pay him, and in fact, he seemed confused when I tried to give him money.
There was the time I was out with my friends late at night on a Greek island holiday. The taxis had all stopped, and we were eight kilometers from our hotel stranded without a clear way to get home. One of my friends approached a group of men sitting at a café and within minutes, one of them was driving us to our hotel. This time I knew better than to offer money, and my friends confirmed, yes, he would have been horrified if we tried to pay him.
I could go on and on, but you’ll see for yourself. Even people here for short visits usually experience filotimo in one way or another.
- Greece ignites your creativity. I think it was Lord Byron who said “If I am a poet, the air in Greece has made me one.” I would say the same—if I am a writer, living in Greece has made me one. I’ve written two books since coming to Greece and before living here, I was an accountant who never planned to write anything. It is hard to describe, but there is something in the air or energy that sparks your creativity. And it feels so nice.
- The olive culture. It seems everyone in Greece is within three degrees of separation from an olive grove—their parents have one, their uncle has one, their best friend has one. The thread of olives runs all throughout the country as part of the social fabric. I’ve even been scolded for buying olive oil—it is usually gifted around. I should also mention the variety. I used to think that Greek olives meant Kalamata olives. Not so. There are dozens of varieties, in all shapes, sizes and colors. I have included a picture for you here. Olive oil is even used in baptisms—which leads me to my final favorite thing.
- I am a Greek Nona! I have saved the best for last. This year I became the Nona (godmother) to my friend Maria’s daughter. The godmother’s role is to be a spiritual advisor, and apparently she bestows some of her traits to her godchild. I’m not sure about how that works, but if I get to choose any traits, I’ll give Alexia the gifts of resilience and joy. If she has those two, I think she’ll have a good chance for a happy life. And as part of this process, I’m getting baptized Greek Orthodox myself this Easter. The transformation is almost complete. Θα είμαι Ελληνίδα.
Lynn is an American Kundalini yoga and Enneagram instructor teaching a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram.
Most of her adult life has been as a Certified Public Accountant (US CPA) working in the Silicon Valley/San Francisco technology start up and venture capital industries. In 2012, she decided to move to Athens, Greece for purely intuitive reasons. She's not Greek by heritage, she did not have a job here, she didn’t speak any Greek (at the time), and there wasn't a Greek man in the picture either! She simply had a really clear feeling that she should go to Greece. And so she did.
“I remember getting on the plane to leave San Francisco. My dog and two cats were in cargo below and I had packed a suitcase full of clothes. Almost everything else I had sold or given away. There wasn’t anyone to meet me in Athens because I didn’t know anyone. But it was one of the calmest moments of my life. I was totally sure I was making the right choice. And I haven’t regretted it at all. I love Greece.”
To learn more about Lynn and all the great things she does in Athens please visit her webiste: Lynn Roulo