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Living and Life on Crete - Top Tips

Learning the language has been one of the top priorities for Rachel, who is now fairly fluent. This has greatly eased her life and integration with locals. "My top tip would be to get some words of Greek under your belt. You don't have to be fluent but any words you can muster will always assist. Even if it's only small things, like dealing with electric bills and such... it's like a triumph when you come out of the building and think "I've done it!". Having some language also means you can talk to neighbours, so you won't feel so isolated. It's been one of the best things I've done and it has allowed me to build a social life. I've now also discovered why my neighbours didn't like me calling on them between 2 and 4 in the afternoons. This is the typical time for a siesta as they mainly work the evenings and nights. Not to be recommended to wake someone up during these hours!".

"Ultimately", says Rachel, "life in Crete is absolutely wonderful. Putting aside the frustrations of language and bureaucracy, which are really quite small in the grand scheme of life, the rest is fabulous. Being a land of sun, sea and sand, it has the edge over many other places. After travelling so much, there is no place I would rather be than here".

Top five tips:

Live like a local - don't hide from the world, get out there an mingle
Language immersion - learn a new word or phrase every day
Eat like a local - hit the local eateries and check out authentic dishes
Steer clear of gloomy expats - moaning with compatriots about things you don't like will only alienate you and make you feel very negative
Find friends - a good (expat) friend will want to help you with the new culture and life