Athens still appealing to Aussies

first_imgTia, who works in Piraeus in the shipping industry, believes Greece is finally on the right path, and attributes that to a generation of young, creative Greeks keen on making a difference.“I see the youth of Greece changing, and in the age of information they have access to ideas and creative methods that they never knew of before, I see businesses springing up in the centre of Athens, in Piraeus where I work. And there are a lot of start-ups here as well, Greece has managed to produce some of the world’s most brilliant software engineers, this is big for Greece.”It’s not just young Greek Australians choosing Athens because of its vibrant lifestyle, others also feel the Greek way of life is better suited to children. Rebecca Hannigan, originally from Sydney, first moved to Athens in 1998.She now co-runs a small bookstore/cafe in central Athens, and although she concedes that the crisis has made life a little more difficult in Athens, the Greek capital remains her first choice for raising her children. “The reason that I prefer living in Greece is that I feel that there is a complacency at times in Australia, and living in a country that has everything that works like clockwork, the easiness of that, I actually find it difficult, and I prefer to live somewhere that has adventure, I feel like I’m alive here and I like that for the children as well, I think the social aspects of Greece are healthier.” Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Bill GeorgoussisRenowned fashion photographer Bill Georgousis has a young family of his own and he believes Athens is changing for the better. Originally from Melbourne, Bill graduated from RMIT University before embarking on a global career that saw him work for the world’s leading fashion and lifestyle publications in London, Milan, New York and Paris.He now calls Athens home and says the city’s youth are helping transform this concrete metropolis into a new creative hub that will have a long-term positive impact on the city.“The art industry has grown so much in Athens, it’s fantastic. It’s a great place to be a young artist – I’m not just talking about painters, but generally anyone creative because that scene has grown, it’s rubbed off on everything else it’s creating around it, it’s a bit like a small Berlin. I mean, we keep hearing that but it is really true.” Bill says that while it’s still incredibly hard in Athens, the mood is changing.“It’s probably us getting used to the situation and accepting it and thinking OK what can we do from the start, and start again and live with the situation, and try to improve on it rather than wait for other people to improve it, and that’s the big difference. Young people are now getting older and they’ve grown up with this situation, they’re building their lives around it rather than thinking it’s just going to get better again by itself. We’re making a difference I think.”Empowering the youth of Greece is something Irene Stampas Xantheas also believes is crucial to the nation’s future.Having moved here from Melbourne in the early ’90s, Irene now owns and operates a language school in the southern Athens suburb of Agios Dimitrios. She says while the crisis has affected everyone in Greece, like many other Australians who call Athens home, she just can’t see herself returning to Australia. “I love Australia, my parents are there, my brother is there, my friends are there and I go every two or three years, but life here is more beautiful for me.”center_img It is estimated that approximately 15,000 Greeks with existing ties to Australia have arrived in Melbourne over the last three to four years.Surprisingly, despite the gloom surrounding Greece’s prospects, and the constant news of mass migration out of the country, it has not all been one-way traffic.There are still many Australians moving to Greece, some even made the switch during the peak of this current financial crisis, while others who have been in Athens for years refuse to give up on Greece.Watch the video shot by Lost Athina exclusively for Neos Kosmos below:Edward Fisher, from Perth, has been living in Greece for twelve years. He moved there in 2003 to open a business, Athens Backpackers, which at the time was the only fully-fledged hostel in Athens. He says he remains optimistic about Greece’s short and long term prospects. “As an optimist and a business owner here, I believe that these small factors that affect Greece are affecting the world, and in the fullness of time Greece will sort itself out and re-level, like everything does.”Kostas Mylonas, from Sydney, is also positive about the future.Kostas, who had been going back and forth between Australia and Greece for 15 years, finally made the permanent switch to Athens just two years ago. Kostas Mylonas“I moved back to Athens in the middle of the financial crisis because this is where I’m from, this is where I am. Athens is a different city to Sydney. Sydney has a little bit more money, it’s a bit more organised, yeah that’s great, but then everything that comes with living here in Athens, that you only understand when doing so, trumps all of that.”Kostas now runs the Athens office of Excite Holidays and sees first-hand how Greece is slowly changing for the better.“I’m very optimistic about Greece’s future because if anything, we’ve endured much worse than what we’re enduring now and Greece is Greece, Greece is not going anywhere, we will be here forever.”Another Greek Australian who made the move recently, despite the crisis, is Tia Thomas, who relocated to Athens from Melbourne in 2013.Living in Athens alone, while the rest of her family continues to live in Melbourne, Tia says she has often thought about whether she made the right decision, particularly during the troubled summer last year when capital controls were introduced in Greece. “When they introduced capital controls there was a sense of unity and that’s something I haven’t experienced before in Australia. Leading on from that, that’s one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable. I never feel alone in Greece.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *