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An Interview With Dawn Pearce

This month's ‘Interview with an expat' is with Dawn Pearce, who runs her own business called ‘Bumps2Babies'. Dawn was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire and raised from the age of 9 in the Isle of Man where she lives today.

What made you decide to move to Greece?

My Parents ran a Taverna on Ipsos front on the Island of

Corfu in the 1980's so I have always thought of Corfu as a second home. My family (my 4 children then aged 17, 15, 4 and 2years) and I moved out to Corfu in 2002 to be with my parents and my sister and her family joined us just 6 months later - so the whole family ended up living in Corfu.

Have you always lived where you live now in Greece or have you changed location with in Greece?
We have always stayed on the Island of Corfu.

How did you spend your days and nights usually?

I spent my day's home-schooling my children. The afternoons were spent on the beaches and travelling around the Island. Evenings were wonderful family times when Family and friends would join us for a BBQ on the patio. We live in the small village of Afra and my house was on the main village road, which was lovely as when we had BBQ's the Villages would pass, stop and chat for a while. The Villages of Afra were wonderful, I really miss them! They made us feel really welcome - we often returned home from a day out to find oranges pinned to my front gate or fresh farm eggs on my door step! We had a grape vine and a local Albanian would come and pick the grapes for wine, he would always drop us off a sample. It was wonderful village life!

Did you work there? Is it easy for expats to find work?

I worked as a Reflexologist and Antenatal Educator - teaching labour and child birthing skills to pregnant ladies. There was lots of work scattered around the Island. I did home calls as well as worked from home which made working overheads much easier.

Do you understand much Greek? If so, how much?

I understand more Greek than I probably can speak. I read the written word in Greek which is quite a feat in itself probably not fully understand what it says though!

How long had it took you to grasp the language and is it a hard language to learn?

Once the penny drops it's an easy language to learn. I was surrounded by Greek Villages who didn't speak or understand English, so I had no choice really, I taught them English and they taught me Greek between us we spoke Grenglish! (laughs)

Is it mainly locals or tourists in your area?

Mainly locals although there is quite a lot of expats living in the village of Afra Corfu.

Is there anything that you missed from the UK when you are in Greece?

I missed loads from the UK - the cloths shops most of all, Tesco Supermarket I missed, not necessarily the food but the service.

How easy was it for you to settle in to Greek life? Very, very easy, relaxed laidback way of living just suited me down to the ground. I love the basics of life this is what Corfu gave me.

Was it easy making friends?

 I am a very outgoing person and hopefully come across friendly, so my family and I were accepted into the Greek community like old friends. I am still in touch with many of them now.

Is there anything you would have changed about your move to Greece? Nothing I loved every minute.

Do you find that there are many cultural differences in Greece compared to your home country?

There were many cultural differences, just the way the Greek treat their children, you were expected to take them out with you for meals out, and they would be welcomed into any restaurant, played and chatted to it was lovely. In the UK it's not widely accepted to take your young children to restaurants with you so this in itself was lovely. The Greeks are massive family people and just their own families but their friends became their families. Here in the UK I don't even know my neighbor! Says it all!!

You spend your time living between Corfu and the UK, how do you feel when you return to Greece?

 I would love to return to Corfu. My parents still live out there so I visit regularly between 5/6 times a year. It's nice to be able to switch off and relax away from the hustle and bustle of British life. But most of all I like catching up with old friends both Greeks and English friends.

We returned to live back on the Isle of Man because my youngest daughter had medical problems which needed investigating. It was nice living there as it has created lots of memories for both me and my children who thoroughly enjoyed their 6 years living on Corfu. So much so all my children now aged 10 to 25 years are planning to return to live there in the future, so no doubt I will be joining them.

What advice would you give to anyone planning on relocating to Greece permanently?

Look into what you are wanting in the location of your home. Many people fall in love with Greece as a holiday maker - life is not a holiday and to live in or near a holiday location can be quite demanding and tiring, remember those holiday places are only open a few months of the year the rest of the time they are extremely quiet. We ended up finding a traditional Greek village which had all year living just 20 mins from the main Corfu town. It was fun traveling to the Tourist destinations on our days out but returning to normal family life at the end of the day was definitely a bonus.