Dino in Crete: " I don't think you can get any closer to paradise on earth"

Expat interviews
  • Dino in Crete
Published on 2014-03-13 at 00:00 by Expat.com team
Dino grew up between South Africa and Greece, as his parents were from both countries. He has been travelling up and down between the two countries before finally settling down in Crete. He shares with us his life in the region...

Why did you decide to move to Crete?

I'm a South African/Greek. I've been travelling up and down, South Africa and Greece, all of my life. I won't be going back to South Africa soon because of poor job prospects. It's not any better in Greece, but at least I have some hobbies and interests here that keep me a bit busy. Also, I have family in Crete.

How was the moving process?

It was painless because I usually travel up and down from South Africa to Greece and have been doing so for a lifetime now.

How did you find a job in Crete?

I have not been able to find permanent employment in Crete, very difficult. I've done temporary jobs as a Translator, Hotel Reception and Private Tutor. You have to know people here in order to get a good job.

Did you face some difficulties to adapt to your host country (language, culture, do's and don'ts)?

Greece has always been a culture shock for me as a Greek who has grown up and lived in South Africa. I speak the Greek language, the Greek culture is my culture and I know what to do and not to do, but I still find difficulty due to the British system and Anglo-Saxon mentality of South Africa that I always carry within me.

What surprised you the most in Crete?

The freedom, rebellion and stubbornness; the importance of culture, tradition and religion. But it has a very modern and dynamic outlook too. Crete is a tourism gateway of the world, but also the centre of great historical and spiritual knowledge and inspiration. It's rugged and mystical beauty is a challenge for anyone I guess and truly humbling.

Is it easy to meet new people in Crete? Any advice to share with the other members?

It depends, it's not an open society, but it also doesn't chase you away. It's up to you, really. Your chances are much better if you have a job, hobbies and interests help a lot too. Get involved with clubs, you won't have much problem mixing with people. Don't expect to enter people's homes too easily, though. That might take much more time, than elsewhere. They have to get to know you better. They only really trust those they've grown up with in their communities. Crete is very clannish.

Could you please share with us something you like about Crete and something you don't like?

Crete in summer is paradise and in winter you hibernate.

What does your typical day as an expat in Crete look like?

Greece is a very beautiful country and it comes to life in summer, especially. I don't think you can get any closer to paradise on earth, this is the real deal. South Africa is also magic, most probably the true Garden of Eden.
I did Cretan Traditional Dance last year so as to get to know my roots better, unfortunately I had to stop due to injury. Now I'm busy with Argentine Tango, I don't know why, by accident I guess (my ankle injury can handle it, at least; most probably that's why, I didn't want to stop dancing). I practice the Cretan Lyra too, so it's quite a strange combination: Cretan Lyra and Argentine Tango.

Greece has been going through a crisis: how is the situation nowadays?

Still very bad, but the Greeks are fighters and they never give up. Life goes on and the Greeks make the best of the moment and celebrate it like no one else can.

What do you miss the most from South Africa?

The wildlife. The Africans: Zulus, Xhozas and Sotho speaking people. The Afrikaaners (Dutch speaking) and the English speakers too. South Africa is a very beautiful country with great diversity in cultures, traditions and religions. South Africa is a true Garden of Eden. I miss the people and the nature, as you can see.

What is your favourite Greek food?

Souvlako Pita: it's like kebab and sosatie in South Africa.

Which advice would you give to people wishing to live in Crete?

Do it, it's most probably the best decision you're ever going to make.

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