Finally, I can jot down some first impressions I have from living and working in Crete. I have been busy settling in and getting started with my new job. A month has already passed since I moved here and this has created a certain image of the local life. In general, I am very satisfied and completely in love with the island. Nevertheless, when you live in a foreign country there are always some things that are different and take some time to get used to.
Sun and the surroundings
I am most happy to be working and living in a country where the sun shines constantly. I can see the sea and the mountains from both, my office and from my house. It gives me such joy to be in an environment like this, especially when it is still snowing in my home country. If I please I can go for a swim in the sea every day. The city where I live, Rethymnon, is absolutely lovely. Particularly the old town. I love all the tiny streets and the atmosphere. And did I already mention the sea and the mountains? Ahh… Some days I am struggling to comprehend that this is reality and I am really living here. Dream come true. And I do not need much more.
The living cost.
In my opinion, the prices here for food are not so inexpensive as I have thought at first. In the supermarket, the prices are pretty much the same as they are in my home country, Estonia, as well as in Amsterdam where I lived for five years. Of course, it varies a little between items and the local products are always cheaper. I assume it is because it’s an island and it is more costly to import products here. Well, that’s my logic at least. Renting a place, on the other hand, is very cheap and from the money, you earn you will save a lot. The only point is that you will only earn good during the tourist season if you work in any sector related to tourism. People here work hard half a year so they have enough saved to live through the rest of the year. After you have worked and lived here already for two years, you will also start to get a small support from the government for the winter periods. So basically you can only work for half a year and have a long vacation during the other half of the year.
Stereotypically people are known to be more hard working in northern countries than in southern countries. Crete is not trying to prove it wrong. Things here are often moving veeery slowly. I am still waiting to have the internet in my house, for instance, because well… siga, siga (slowly, slowly) as they say. The company that fixes the ATM’s here has set up new machines for months ago but they are still out of order. Only recently they had started fixing them up and only one by one. No need to fix them all in one day right? That would be way too much stress…
Greek people need only about twenty hours to get their drivings license. On the streets, you will start to notice that in reality, they need much more. It’s one big comedy show. I have laughed out loud so loud because of their driving. I am just a fresh driver with little experience myself. In my home country, you would never get a license with skills like they have here. They often stop or park in the middle of the road, because they have some quick personal business to do. Who cares about the other cars, right? Once a lady could not handle passing a parked car. She just tried to turn and pass it but then backed up again and drove back and forth for a long time. She caused a major traffic jam behind her and we were just sitting there and enjoying the show.
People here also honk a lot, but not because of others bad driving but to say hello. It is very confusing at times because I am used to honking only when it actually has something to do with driving. Many people know each other and you will hear honking all day. They also stop and honk just to say hi, no matter if there are other cars behind.
The language – Γλώσσα
Greek is just crazy. I can’t really connect it with any other languages I know. Google told me also that Greek is in a language group on its own. It will be very hard for me to learn it. So far I just know how to say good morning, good evening, ask how are you doing and things like that. Nee means yes when in my opinion it would suit so much more as a no. Greek letters are different as well. For instance, when I would move to Italy and would not know any words in Italian, I could still read and learn the words in a supermarket. Now when I go to the supermarket I just cross my fingers that what I am buying is what I think it is and not something else. Unless it’s clearly a banana in front of me. And trying to match the price tags with the items is a little bit like a puzzle game. Just try to connect the symbols together and you will find out at the register how well you did in the game.
What exactly am I doing here?
So why did I moved to Crete in the first place and what am I really doing here? I often felt like I was born in the wrong country or I am just restless and my travel experiences have made me very hungry to see the world and created a need to live in beautiful foreign places. After graduation, I started to think about getting new experiences in the tourism industry and explore a country I have not lived in yet. Searching online for different opportunities made me stumble on a job offer in Crete which just sounded perfect. I am now working for a travel agency for this season selling excursions. It’s quite a lot of work but a great experience and most of all I can brush up my language skills and learn new ones. And well, I aimed for a country with the sun, the sea, and some mountains. I know it’s getting repetitive, but that’s all I need for some happiness. Sometimes I think that I could be scrubbing toilets for the rest of my life, but as long as I have those three elements, life is beautiful.
Enjoy life, it’s just one 🙂