Iliana (from Plovdiv)

One summer I did not have any plans and I decided to work abroad. And that’s what I did because my sister’s mother in law was already there and I knew she could help me find a job. I stayed there for three months. It was the year of 2005, I arrived at Epidavros- it’s a resort town. My ten years old niece Alexandra was also there.

At that time I did not have a boyfriend, no attachments in Bulgaria so it was an easy decision for me. For all that time I have worked as a bartender and a waitress in a hotel’s lobby bar. Mainly living with my sister’s mother in law Sania and going to work by a bicycle. I was staying over in the hotel only when it was super busy. I haven’t studied any Greek, I learned it by talking to people but I think the work really helps for that and you are constantly communicating with others and the locals helped out a lot as well. So for about two weeks I have learned a lot of words and was doing fine.

Of course it was strange at the beginning. For example it was very hard for me to get used that their yes sounds like the Bulgarian no – “ne”. I had many funny stories with that sort of miscommunication. For example when someone offered me more macaroni and I said “ne, ne!” and then had to eat the whole bowl just out of courtesy. That’s what I am going to remember about Greeks. For them it’s a big contempt to say no when they offer you something. Touchy people they are.

As a whole I was feeling fine. It wasn’t the first time for me to work alone. I used to work in England before that, so this time for me was more like spending my college summer vacation. For three months I did not miss my family so much since we talked over the phone almost every night. They were doing okay in Bulgaria, living in their own house while I was having fun working in Greece. I had a positive attitude, only the language and the bartending skills were a bit difficult for me but only in the beginning. I could not imagine Greece in a specific way but I was kind of curious about it. I even left Bulgaria with the thought to leave some time when I was done with my job to visit a couple of places. I have visited the small villages around the resort and it was lovely. My nephew and I even went to Athens. I was happy about all the little things that were happening to me, plus I am not a person who makes long-term plans, and as I said earlier for me it was just a chance to spend the summer in a different way and to earn some money, I didn’t thought about it twice. I just had someone to go to, so I packed my luggage and went! And maybe the fact that I left all alone was even better for me because I managed to live fully everything.

I was mostly impressed by the neighborhood where I was living. It was clean, there were no holes on the roads, the streets were pretty – there were palm trees everywhere, and the orange trees right next to the road – you can just pull over and pick some! That’s awesome!

I will remember the people, especially those Sania was working for – great people! Sometimes they invited us over to their house for dinner or we went out together. We became friends, they even came to my wedding in Bulgaria. And the people I was working with – most of them were foreigners and we used to get along very well. In our free time we went out to bars and cafes and we had a lot of fun. There was this girl from Brazil – Maria. She and I became good friends as well as Sotiris from Greece. He even liked me and asked me out but I was not looking for a relationship at that time. (Laughing)

It was a wonderful summer! At the moment my husband and I are taking care of our four years old daughter and we are expecting a second baby. I had thoughts of going back to Greece.

I want all of us to go on a vacation to Greece. It is a wonderful place to spend some time at – it doesn’t matter if it is for work or just on a trip. My memories from there are mainly good and positive and they make me smile!