Friday, January 16, 2015

From Greece through Spain to Costa Rica.

Making life an adventure.

Dimitris keeps moving. He followed his inner need to go away and this brought him on the other side of the map, to live a fulfilling, simple life in an endless summer. 

Name: Dimitris Kiriakoulis
From:  Patras, Greece
To:      Valencia, Spain and currently Costa Rica
For:     adventure and experience

1. Your life before your decision to leave.
I left Greece in 2008, when I finished my studies. I studies Civil Engineer in Patras, where I was born. At that time, I was feeling generally stuck; I didn't know if I really wanted to work as an engineer but I did not have any exciting alternative option. I did not want to stay more in Patras (too small to keep me) but I did not have any idea of where else I could go.
So, I ended up to the idea of having a master's abroad, in Spain specifically, since I had started learning Spanish.
That time, my main interests were my studies, the Spanish lessons, drinks and trips. I was going out a lot but at the same places with same faces. I think this motivated me a lot to go abroad.

2. Your motivation to go abroad and advice of your close circle.
First of all, it was my thirst to meet new places, cultures and languages. I am very keen on foreign languages, like my mother is. Considering my genes, my mother is Danish and a lover of traveling and adventure that ended up in Greece. My family supported my decision. Most of my friends are not that ambitious and did not have much to advise me. I was always quite independent, a "survivor" that would find his way by himself.

3. How did you choose the country and the city.

I chose Spain for master studies, due to the language. Considering the fees, the requirements and the life cost, I chose Valencia. I did not think about it quite in depth, I just wanted to leave. Then, I lived in different cities before I ended up in Madrid, fall in love and leave again; this time at the other side of the Atlantic.
The reason I chose Costa Rica... The tickets were cheaper than other nearby destinations. Secondly, it seemed to be a small country, easy to explore and adapt to. After we came, everyone suggested that the best place to work is Tamarindo. And that's where we went.

4. What scared you in all this change?
The first time I changed country to go to Spain, things were more difficult. I was feeling worried because things were uncertain. My basic fears where first the money and second failure.
After the first job I found, fears and doubts faded away. Things were getting better and I was more self-confident. Traveling to America was an easier decision since I was more experienced but also because I had a partner with me, encouraging each other.

5. Your first impressions.
Valencia is a classic Spanish/European city. It's a nice city, well maintained but nothing extraordinary. In regards to my impressions of the equator (Costa Rica/ Panama), they were really strong and intense. A different continent, with different people, habits, climate... Everything was different. We left Madrid a morning with 10 degrees, to land after 2 days in San Jose with 35 degrees! It is funny that since then, 2 years now, I have seen no winter! I haven't worn a jacket! Same in Panama; a real paradise! Different colors, images, waters, people. Generally, I could say that the last two years in America have given me stronger images than the rest of my journeys together.

6. The people.
After 5 years in Spain, I realized that Spanish people are culturally very similar to Greek. This made me feel very comfortable. On the other hand, people in Costa Rica are totally different from usl and that is the most interesting thing.
I also realized the intense difference between Europeans and Americans. All those years of social friction and fermentation have given to Europeans this heavy cultural heritage, that enables them to have a different understanding and worldview.
Other than this, it is impressive how different the people are in daily aspects of life; behavior, speech, food, habits and many more.

7. What have you been doing for a living?
A lot of things since I left Greece.
In Spain: teaching Greek, teaching English, building constructions, driver, sales call center, translator in an international company, usher in the Cirque de Soleil. Teaching English was the most fulfilling job I had so far.
In Costa Rica: Cook in a pizzeria, delivery, assistant photographer, and barman in the same hotel where I currently work as receptionist.
In Panama: cook and private driver.

8. What do you love t most and something that you do not like.
What I love the most: the sea, the endless summer, tropical fruits, simple and warm people, multi-ethnicity, easy rhythms, that I can go to work barefoot, my colleagues and the name of the Village ("Tamarindo" is a tropical fruit, delicious as a juice or sauce).
Something that I miss is the olive oil, the olives and the olive trees, the fresh cheese, the oregano etc... Here, the basic food is rice, beans, mapa, corn and fruit.

9. What does Greece mean for you at this point of your life.
Now, Greece for me means holidays, family, friends and acquaintances. Every time I get back to Greece I reconnect with my beloved people. It is also an opportunity to refresh the language. I believe that the Greek language is the most important asset and privilege of being born Greek.

10. What do you think about going back?
Of course I would like to go back in Greece at some point. I think that under good circumstances, Greece is one of the best places to live. After I get tired of traveling, I would like to go back and live in a small Ionian island, like Ithaca, and start a little there. I don't know what this will be, but I believe that all this collection of experiences, ideas and work can result into something good in the future.
Of course I realize how impossible this is under the current circumstances in Greece, but I want to be positive and believe that it will not be always like this. I hope in a few years things will get better and returning will be a better option.

11. What does "home" mean to you.
Home is where I have friends and people I love. Wherever I feel familiar and warm, any time I get back. Home has been everywhere I have lived and had experiences but also the places that I have not been yet but they wait for me for me to discover them and love them.
Of course I feel Greece more familiar than Costa Rica, but my feelings for Greece do not come from the history books, my Greek DNA and other nationalistic views. They come from my childhood memories, from moments that marked my life, the language we share and can always use with great ease.

In my view, if you want to feel part of a country, you should be able to speak fluently the local language. You should try to get the accent and get used to the expressions, the slang, the vulgar words, the proverbs... to learn to think and if possible to dream in this language. Then everything is easier.

12. Where do you see yourself in the future.
I wish I knew! (And that's an honest reply!)

[ Photos provided by Dimitris ]

1 comment:

  1. Good adventure... keep-up the good work... May I share an article about the tranquil Li River in Guilin , China in
    Watch also in youtube