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Our Life in Rhodes

The Robinson family moved to the island of Rhodes in 2007. Peter, aged 45 and his wife Sarah, 36 are parents of two children Leah, 12 and Simon 4. Sarah recalls, ‘We moved from the city of Brighton because our debts were mounting and we were worried that the property bubble would burst and we would miss our opportunity to emigrate. We were thinking about moving for a while but several things stop us; Leah being in school and settled so we decided to wait until she finished middle school, Simon being so young and finally because me and Peter were working and running around after the kids all the time and had hardly any time to think about it, but the one thing we knew we had to do was find a property near the sea as we are a family who loves the water!’

Peter worked as a head teacher in a local senior school and Sarah worked as a part time librarian, which fitted well around her children. ‘We knew we wanted to move to the Rhodes because nearly every year we come here on holiday and have always loved the people and the atmosphere and the feel of the island,’ Peter recounts. Today, the family spends more of time together than was possible in the UK Sarah explains, ‘Leah is in her last year of primary school, we kept her back a year so that she could pick up the language and go into secondary school having no worries about understanding the teachers and her classes. We also arranged for additional private lessons for her. Simon is just starting kindergarten, here in Rhodes and I must say the kindergartens are fantastic. There are so many different options - some who speak just English or just Greek or Multilingual schools. We decided to put him into a regular Greek kindergarten so he would learn quicker and it has worked well because both of the children speak fluently and have settled so well in Rhodes; Greek people have actually made the mistake by thinking they are Greek!’

Peter and Sarah spend their time running a free English newspaper for all the local expats in their area, Peter recalls how it all started, ‘we didn’t want to just sit and twiddle our thumbs when we came here and we both love to read and write so we set up an English paper because there were none around and we wanted to give something to the English community.’ When the family isn’t working or at school they pursue the family hobby, Sarah enthuses, ‘we all have an intense interest in the sea, even little Simon he loves splashing around and he is just starting to get the hang of swimming. We go swimming, diving and snorkeling most weekends, it is great for the kids to learn about the sea life, plus we moved from Brighton so it feels a little like home from home except that the weather is far better.’

At first there were several things the family missed about the UK and at one point they were even considering moving back, Peter recalls, ‘Leah was finding it really hard to settle in and make friends, but then she joined school a year lower than she should have been and she found the work easy and she learnt the language very quickly and everything improved from there. She made friends and actually has a boyfriend at the moment! In fact when it’s time to go and visit family in England, we can tell both kids don’t really want to go. As for materials there is hardly anything we miss, maybe except Galaxy chocolate but for what we have here now compared to England it is a small price to pay.’

The cost of living here in Rhodes is completely different to the UK, Peter explains, ‘we have a Citroen Picasso that meets the family needs well and it costs no more than 50 Euros a week on fuel, we use to spend at least double on that in the UK.’ Property in Rhodes is cheaper too. Prices vary depending on where you are what style you are looking for, but generally apartments cost around 100,500 Euros but a really stylish villa with a pool can costs around 1,404,800 Euros. ‘We decided just to go with a family home; it is a three bedroom property just on the outskirts of Rhodes town. There is one bathroom which is on the ground floor and the bedrooms are fairly large but the kitchen is small and in the future, when we save a bit more money, we want to enlarge this area. The garden is bigger than the one we had in England but it is manageable. It is perfect for what we need.’

In the future Sarah says, ‘I can see ourselves all growing old here, the kids are extremely happy, we are extremely happy, the newspaper is growing every month we couldn’t ask for anything more. We love the weather, the people and I honestly believe we will never return to the UK.’ Leah is happy at school and has ambitions to be a private English teacher to Greek children. Simon is looking forward to his time at school and wants to be a professional footballer!’