From Portugal To Greece - An Interview With Sara Toscano
- by XpatAthens
- Saturday, 10 March 2018
Sara Toscano met her Greek husband in the Netherlands in 2013 during the Erasmus Program and after living abroad for a few years, she and her husband finally decided to settle in Athens in 2015. This is her story!
In 2015, our daughter was born and I decided to create together with the group Anumati, “Θα βγω Απ'το Αυγό” (Out of the Egg), a theatre performance for babies from 4 to 18 months, which is playing for the 3rd consecutive year in the Avaton Theatre in Athens. As a dancer I love performing arts and I believe that babies love it too if we give them the chance to see it.
One year during our summer holidays in Portugal, my husband, who is also a performer, and I took our daughter to see a concert for babies. The experience was so pleasant that we decided to bring the concept to Greece and develop it further. This is how “Musical Seasons” began.
As soon as we arrived in Athens we spoke with Dionysis Giampanas, the composer of the project, and we decided to combine classical music with percussion and dance. I had worked extensively with young children before and I was thrilled to have both babies and their families as an audience. These initiatives suited my new life, being a dancer and a mum, and also made it possible for me to work despite the language barriers, since my Greek is still at an intermediate level. Through these performances, I also come in contact with many young parents and these interactions make me realise how Greeks are so similar to the Portuguese, which makes me feel closer to home.
The show “Musical Seasons” runs every Sunday until April 1st.
Click here for ticket information.
Q&A With XpatAthensQ: How long have you been living in Greece?
Greece has been a part of my life for many years. Although I have only settled in the country in 2016, I've been coming to Greece very often since 2005.
Q: Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Portugal. I grew up in Lisbon, which is my home town.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about how your life brought you to Greece?
In 2003 I did the Erasmus exchange program in the Netherlands, where I met my Greek husband. We lived for a few years in Amsterdam and in Portugal until we finally decided to settle in Greece.
Q: Can you tell us 1 or more things that you like about living in Greece?
There are many things I love about living in Greece, like the weather and the delicious Mediterranean food, but most of all I like the Greek people, who I find both hospitable and generous. I like the fact that Greeks are expressive, proud and slightly philosophical in their every day life. I also love the fact that they always have a wish for every circumstance like “happy week”, “happy month” or even “enjoy it with health,” which they say to someone who bought a new pair of shoes or has a new haircut.
Q: Do you live in Athens?
Yes, I live in the city-centre of Athens.
Q: What was one of your biggest challenges when moving to Greece?
The Greek language was – and still is – a big challenge to me. Greeks have a rich vocabulary and their grammar is complex. They can have several words to say one simple thing or have one simple word that carries many meanings. When I first moved to Greece the expression “it's all Greek to me” was a constant reality!
Q: What is one of the biggest cultural differences you have experienced between Greece and life back home?
Generally speaking, Greeks are extremely lively people. They sing and dance, laugh-out-loud, complain about their dislikes and are expressive with their words and gestures. In Portugal, we tend to be more quiet and sober so I was delighted and inspired by the energy and expressiveness of the Greeks. As a dancer I was specially surprised to see how much Greeks from all generations still dance and keep their music traditions alive.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
I believe that the biggest challenge when you move abroad and live in a different country is to be willing to get to know the culture of your host country, beyond the clichés. For me it was extremely helpful and interesting to read about ancient and modern Greek history because it helped me understand the Greeks better, to empathize with their social codes and respect them more. It helped me integrate!