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Fit to be an Expat? - Enjoying Expat Life


Enjoying life

This is a tricky one as it will depend upon each individual as to what goes together to make up an enjoyable life.

Many expats find the move difficult, particularly if it is a couple who have both been working full time previously and they are now suddenly thrown together 24 on 24. Some families adapt to this well but there are plenty where one or other needs more space. Ensuring you each have your own interests and perhaps some different friends does help.

Of course, living on your chosen island, you will not see your friends or family so frequently. This can be compensated for by a lot more quality time when you do get to see them. In turn though, this can have a downside, if they come to visit for a couple of weeks. Often visitors expect you to wait on them hand and foot, entertain them plus supply all their food and drink. We speak from experience! 

Whether you can enjoy life as an expat will be down to what kind of person you are. If you cannot survive without having lots of neighbours or friends on hand day and night, then it could be hard, particularly if you don't speak the lingo. On the other hand, if you are prepared to take things more slowly and get to know your neighbours and others gradually, just a quick chat once a week sufficing, then you should find you manage just fine.

The Greeks

One of the initial questions was whether you knew or liked the Greek people. There are differences between your culture and here: these will become abundantly apparent wtih day to day living.

Understanding the differences between your own culture and here is important. You will not only be more realistic in what you expect when you land in Greece but will also appreciate the local life more.

It will take time to make friends even if you speak the language well. That is not to say they are not friendly because they are. It is just slower to get to know them really well. Once you do get to know them, you can expect plenty of help! Expect differences and try to enjoy them.

Where do you want to live

Often with rose-tinted glasses and sunbeams, property buyers make decisions based only on their short holiday experience. Topping up your tan and gazing over a wonderful sea view from a pretty little farmhouse right at the top of a hill with 200 steps is fun and romantic - but not the same as ordinary life.

Everything is fun whilst on holiday, even going to get fresh bread every day and wandering around the supermarket. However, doing this on a daily basis throughout the whole year can become more than tiresome, particularly if you have a property which is a couple of thousand meters up a dirt track. Rather than base any decision on holiday experiences, it really is important to visit the area of the island where you are considering living, particularly outside summer.

There can be a big downside to popular tourist spots. It is often true to say that those areas which are most visited by tourists during the season, are equally dead outside the main times.

On the other hand, consider carefully whether somewhere rural will really suit. These places, whilst attractive and very cheap, can be extremely remote and a real culture shock.

This is day-in, day-out living for expats we are talking about here, not beaches or wonderful sea views which your family will oooh and aaah over. Unless you are sure of living happily in a tourist resort or in 'splendid isolation', to get the best of all worlds, it may well be better to opt for a small pretty town where everything will be open all year and you will have access to all amenities and facilities. It will be comforting to know that you have doctors, an ambulance service, buses, shops, restaurants and bars on hand for your daily wants and to be able to meet local people.

Generally, there are many misconceptions about living as an exapt but with a bit of research, visiting the islands and being honest with yourself, you should find your experience of living full time here both low-cost and wonderful.