The League of Expat Writers is very proud to host Chris, an expat living in Greece. Proud because this is the first LEW post featuring another expat in Greece – so you’ll get to hear about all of Greece’s positive attributes from someone other than me.
And (drum roll)…Chris is our first male contributor to the League of Expat Writers! Welcome Chris, and read his Grecian tale.
Bio: Chris Murphy is an English Teacher and language school owner who has lived permanently in Greece since 2006.
Despite the current situation in the country, he still finds it a perfect place to teach because of the importance both students and parents place on the value of education. His school website can be found here.
Like pretty much anyone else who lives in Greece, I could talk for hours about what drives me mad about the place
the driving, the parking, the somewhat cavalier attitude towards the environment and the subsequent despoiling of the natural environment. All this before even making mention of the country’s politicians.
I could talk for days however, about what I love
– the easy informality of the people, the Greek sense of the absurd, the weather, the stunning scenery, the food – oh my God the food!! And for a history lover like me, the sense that wherever one sets foot, one is walking in the footsteps of the great names of antiquity.
I first came to Greece immediately after graduating from university.
My best friend there was Greek, and I spent a wonderful week in Athens with Nikos and his family, with a weekend trip to Delphi. I stuffed myself with granny’s food, overindulged on ouzo like a true Brit abroad and told myself I’d be back as soon as I could. Three months later I was – pockets bulging with the proceeds of a hard summer’s work. For five weeks I travelled in southern Greece and the islands, drinking in the history (and more than my share of the wine), making embarrassingly bad attempts to speak the language and generally loving every minute. The England I returned to was half underwater, the ensuing winter brutal. I started making plans for a more permanent stay.
A little over two years later I was stepping off a bus in a small town…
a very long way from where most tourists end up, ready to start work as an English teacher in Komotini, Thrace. I arrived late and was obviously lost when a pretty, petite girl asked me if were English. Her name was Katerina, and she would be a colleague of mine at the school. Ten years later she is my wife and the mother of my two daughters. Another reason I love Greece– it’s always full of surprises!!
I now live here permanently – my wife and I opened a language school in September.
Thrace is a wonderful place – all the better for being overlooked by mass tourism. I live twenty minutes from the beach, twenty minutes from the mountains, although I probably don’t make the use of them I should do. There is a large Muslim minority here, which gives the place a multicultural feel. Everybody has a family history which they can’t imagine an outsider being interested in, but which I find endlessly fascinating.
There is a cafe, perched in the foothills of the Rhodopi mountains, from which you can see all the way to the sea. It is the ancient invasion route from East to West and vice versa. Xerxes and Alexander, Caesar and Pompey passed through here. Beyond that the beautiful islands of Samothrace and Thassos. On a clear day, perhaps after a shower of rain, one can even see Mt. Athos. It’s probably my favourite place in the world.
It’s not necessarily easy being here these days. Many of the cherished illusions of my early visits have been shattered. Yet I’m going nowhere. And though at times there is no fiercer critic of Greece than me, I still defend her passionately when the need arises. She has been good to me – I owe her this much at least.
So there you have it – another Greece convert (it’s not just Bex!). Chris can be followed on Twitter