So…Yay!! First blog post, first blog post!! ✐✐✐
Good morning from Brussels! Yes, I live here now. I haven’t always lived here, that is a very, very, very recent change in my life, like a lot of other stuff as well…
I was born in Lyon, France. Both my parents were studying there at the time and they have spent a significant amount of their lifetime (8 whole years!) in that city. I was born, and just a couple of months later, life brought them back to Greece (actually, my father returned to Greece as he is Greek, but for my mother, that decision was another huge step during her life, as she is Cypriot; she grew up in Cyprus, lived through the Turkish invasion and eventually, she left Cyprus and went to France to study). I could talk about both of these important persons for hours, they have amazing stories which are worth sharing and that’s exactly what I plan on doing, but not just yet 😊
So, basically, Athens is my hometown. I grew up there, went to school, made friends, studied and started working. I spend a lot of summers in Cyprus, where I have a huuuge family (for real now, it’s huge!) and to be completely honest, I feel half Greek half Cypriot. I don’t know, maybe it’s the connection with my family members down there, or maybe it’s that I’ve seen Cyprus through my mother’s eyes and her breathtaking stories, or maybe it’s just because Cypriot blood is also running through my veins… 🇨🇾 🇬🇷
Anyway, growing up in Greece was a-m-a-z-i-n-g !!! Greece is a beautiful country and my parents did a great job taking us all around its islands, villages or small towns (and I really thank them for that!). In brief, I am telling you (and I really mean it!), I feel extremely lucky to have had a childhood like the one I had and I wish that Every-Single-Child on planet Earth could be as happy as I was growing up 👨👩👧
But then…you know…adulthood comes and you study and you have to start working… and there comes THAT first day that YOU have to go and pay a bill, or YOU go to a public service and ask fo a document, or YOU get to deal with banks etc etc… 💸 💸 Do you remember THAT first time YOU did stuff like that? Well…I do 😉 Don’t get me wrong, that’s the way it’s definitely supposed to be and in my opinion, the sooner, the better, but…really, what’s with the 5-hour queuing in public services (we have that a lot in Greece!). Or why do I have to take a whole day off of work just to make a simple bank transaction? Or can someone explain to me what’s happening when it’s raining and everything collapses? C’mon now, seriously, what is that?? I admit that when I was a 20-year-old, I was an angry Greek citizen!! 😠
At that time of my life, it was the ERASMUS experience that came, finding me trying to deal with that anger of mine! Erasmus experience was such a slap in the face because I realized I lived in my own bubble where I thought, for example, that being stuck in traffic was the end of the world. Guess what! IT IS NOT!! As I have mentioned before, I had the chance to travel a lot, but there is a big difference between travelling and actually living in a certain place, isn’t there? Going to France for my Erasmus experience was the very first time I had to live far, far away from my country, my family and give up my way of living. Again, I am really glad that I’ve had that experience as well as having the opportunity to witness firsthand how people of different cultures live, act and think and can you imagine what the most interesting part of all that was? I had to ADAPT to this different way of life because I was supposed to spend a few months there. I soon realized that, OK, I might be paying my accounts by literally just pressing one single button of my PC keyboard, but, on the other hand…hey, where is the 🌞 sun 🌞 ??? I mean, really, the sun can be lost for days or even months at some countries ⛈. I know, it’s the most common example when you compare Greece to some other countries, but it’s true!!
Well, apart from the sun problem obviously, the thing is that I met people from all over the world, listened to their stories, witnessed their actions and heard about the problems they’d had back home! 👲 👳 👧 You might wonder: hey girl, you were 20 years old, was it the first time you heard about financial difficulties or war or hunger or illnesses or… or…?? No, it wasn’t, but I am asking you back: is it the same to become aware of these problems from the safety of your living room when you are just a kid or a brainless teenager than actually hearing them directly from people facing them? The answer is no, it is not the same. That’s why I always say that the ERASMUS experience completely changed the way I saw life in general. That’s why when I got back home I started motivating friends and other students (as well as their parents obviously!) to do it (I still do that by the way!). That’s why the expression 👞 putting oneself in someone else’s shoes 👞 became pretty clear to me and grosso modo, that’s why I am shouting out the fact that the Erasmus experience helped me define my life and its problems differently!!
So… moving from Athens to Brussels was not an act of escaping the 5-hour waiting in queue or the many other problems Greece has (we are all well aware of the so called economic crisis, unemployment rates, low or even zero salaries and blah blah…). No. What motivated me is the fact that I was given the chance to explore if and how I could ameliorate different aspects of my life, by existing and acting in a different context than the one I used to be in until then. It might as well have been Cyprus or France or Spain. It just happened to be Brussels. In other words, I saw an opportunity and I grabbed it! I saw that I had the chance to add a 🎈 bubble 🎈, to the others I already possessed! The more bubbles you have, the better…Was I sure that everything was going to be better? No, but risk-taking is part of our lives. Yes, life in Brussels is different than in Athens. People here face different kinds of problems, but I am glad I made that decision! I am seeing new things every day, living brand new experiences (professionally and personally), constantly testing myself and I am meeting new people. As Brussels is the center of Europe, it’s THE place to find people of any nationality. Basically, it’s like going to school again! Like I said, I am facing problems here as well, only different from the ones back in Greece, plus the fact that being here, I miss my family a lot. But not a day goes by, that I don’t feel richer in knowledge and experiences or that I am not making a better prioritization of what is important in life and what is not 👀
☛ ☛ ☛ Bottom line?? ☚ ☚ ☚
My decision of making THAT huge change in my life sums up the first thing I would like to share with you. Welcome change, actually look out for it 🎲, embrace it and make the most out of it. Don’t be afraid of it. If you don’t like something the way you do it, whether it would be your job, a relationship, no matter what, never stop trying to change it. Don’t remain static! 🐦 If you are stuck, then the whole society stays stuck, as you are a part of it! I believe that we all get lost inside our own bubble and that’s just such a shame! Search for new bubbles to add to your collection… Travel a lot, not only to different countries, but inside your own country as well 👣. Learn as many languages as you can. Meet new people every single day. Have you ever talked to a person coming from Cuba? From Syria? From India? From Lebanon? You will be amazed by the things they can share with you, you will be amazed by the way you will feel AFTER that interaction. Search for new experiences in your life and take advantage of any opportunity that will show up in front of you! I certainly took advantage of THAT specific opportunity that appeared. It was not the first time I did something like that and it will definitely not be the last one. For me, it was a case of switching countries, for you, it might be something completely different… Carpe diem, right?
Trust me, do that and maybe, JUST MAYBE, you will see how some problems of yours immediately lose their importance. They might still be pretty serious, I am not saying they are not, but maybe, JUST MAYBE, you will feel differently regarding your strength or your will to deal with them. All of the above, plus much more, maybe, JUST MAYBE, is enough to put your life into a whole other perspective! JUST MAYBE…
OK, enough with the philosophy now, right? 😝 It’s my first blog post after all, I am allowed a few more words, aren’t I? The following blog posts will be more about Brussels, which is a wonderful city, and I will give it the mentioning it deserves later on. In addition to that, other blog posts will have a lot of visual (photos and/or videos), as I have been almost at every corner of this city, always in the company of my personal photographer slash reporter slash cameraman slash artist 💕
Until the next post…
Don’t walk, dance… 💃💃💃
(hmm, yes, that’s my motto in life, you must have one as well, right? If you don’t, you should! I will explain later the DEEPER meaning of that phrase – yes, there is a deeper meaning in fact! – but one thing is for sure, I will keep writing it at the end of each post! Deal? Hey, sorry, I really like my motto, so… 😃 )