Anastasia Zamyatina from Yekaterinburg moved from Russia to Greece 15 years ago. In the country of the Hellenes, she got married and had 2 children. Ironically, her husband is Russian. But the couple does not want to return to their homeland, even though Anastasia is dreaming of the Urals.
We publish the story of Yekaterinburg from the first person.
I studied in Yekaterinburg with a degree in “Travel Service”, and at the same time I worked in tourism, in a small agency. It was possible to travel abroad thanks to advertising tours. On one of these trips, I met a young Greek. After some time, he came to Russia and took me abroad, where I married him.
Early years in Greece
For a Greek, coming to Russia is a feat, because they rarely go where, especially to the Urals. It’s scary for them! He came to Yekaterinburg, saw the city, but never thought to stay. True, fate turned out so that after 4 years we parted, I was left alone in Greece. But by that time, I had already learned the language well enough, found a job in the same tourism sector: I worked either in agencies or at the reception in a hotel.
The girl went to Greece, first on promotional tours for work, and then married a Greek
The first 4 years in Greece, I lived in a suburb of Athens near the sea. Of course, there were doubts and reflections, shouldn’t we return to Russia? But I was very comfortable with my work, it allowed me to go home for a short time. Plus there was enough money to rent an apartment. Gradually, doubts that I had chosen the best country for life disappeared.
After the divorce, I moved to Athens, where I rented an apartment and worked for a popular travel agency, 90% of whose clients are Russians. It so happened that at this time I met a Russian man, after which I married him. Ironically, my whole family is Russian, but we live in Greece.
Return to Russia
Now we already have two children, we have been together for ten years. During this time, we managed to open our own small online store for the import of things from Russia. Contrary to the popular expression, there is not everything in Greece, there are no good clothes for pregnant women, there are no sports complexes, there are no educational games for children. More precisely, it exists here, but it is very expensive and not as developed as in Russia. In general, Greece lags behind Russia in this regard for several years.
However, life with a foreigner did not work out, but Anastasia still found family happiness in Greece / Photo: provided by Anastasia Zamyatina
When the eldest son grew up and he had to go to school, my husband and I decided to go to Russia for the winter. From time to time there was a thought to return to their homeland. In the Urals, we spent two winters in 2018 and 2019. But during this time we clearly understood that we miss Greece more than Russia, so we still stayed in the country of the Hellenes. Now there is no doubt. Nevertheless, we do everything for our children so that they have a choice to stay in Greece or leave for Russia – for this they have Russian citizenship. At the same time, they know Greek well and not very well Russian.
For me, the knowledge of Greek was given quite simply, because in Russian there are a lot of borrowings. Moreover, when I started learning Greek, I began to understand my native language even better. At the same time, in the family we communicate in the language that we remember faster. Sometimes a word in Greek pops up in memory faster than a Russian one. This happens to many who move and stay here to live. But I still find it difficult to speak purely Russian, my brain stumbles, it takes some time to rebuild.
The girl even managed to meet with the famous chef Nusret Goekce / Photo: provided by Anastasia Zamyatina
I lived in the suburbs of Athens for four years, and then managed to live for another two years in the center of the capital. Then I decided to move to the island of Mykonos. This is the most expensive and most popular Greek island, which is famous all over the world. This is the local Ibiza, where I now conduct excursions.
Country on lockdown
To understand how expensive it is, imagine that on average in Greece an apartment can be rented for 300 euros per month. In Mykonos, however, housing costs from a thousand euros. It’s the same story with food. But compared to Russia and the rest of Greece, living is more expensive. For example, a dozen eggs cost about 1.5 euros (about 130 rubles), and bread can be taken for 1 euro (about 90 rubles), this is the minimum price. But here there is very cheap and high quality olive oil. But in comparison with Russia, Greece has a high quality of life: there is a good climate, fresh vegetables and herbs all year round. Although if you compare this country with the rest of Europe, Greece will seem poor.
Now all Greeks are waiting for the opening of the borders, since the country has been on lockdown since November 7. It is scheduled to end on May 14th. Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools have not worked in our country, when the situation with the incidence allowed, they opened, then the children again went to distant. To go to the store or to the post office, or simply help your grandmother with the housework, you had to call a state number and receive an SMS. If there is no such message or you have more than 4 people in your car and you are not related to each other, a fine of 300 euros.
Anastasia is sure that if you are used to living by the sea, it is no longer possible to refuse this / Photo: provided by Anastasia Zamyatina
Only a couple of weeks ago, the shops were fully opened, before that you can get there by appointment. For example, to go to H&M, I had to call and say: “Sign me up for 12:00.” And I have exactly 30 minutes to get around it and choose the one I need.
Naturally, everyone is wearing masks, everyone is now trying to get vaccinated. There is no Russian “Sputnik V”, but there is Pfizer and AstraZeneca. At the same time, statistics say that people began to take antidepressants more often, because many lost their jobs, were locked in four walls.
Due to the unstable situation with the incidence of coronavirus, Russians are afraid to make hotel reservations in Greece. There are still records for July, August, September, and June is empty in hotels. Everyone is waiting for May 14, when the borders will be opened.
Dreams about Russia
I miss Yekaterinburg, sometimes I even dream about Russia. But a month and a half is enough for me to live there. In Greece, I like the climate and the food. When my husband and I lived for two winters in the Urals, I really missed fresh vegetables, there were these plastic tomatoes around.
Children in Greece, according to Anastasia, are surrounded by love and happiness / Photo: provided by Anastasia Zamyatina
And of course, the sea is a separate topic. If you are used to the sea, it is already difficult to refuse it. Children also play a role. Here they have a different attitude, they just bathe in love, happiness and some kind of bliss. In Russia, it seems to me, they are very overloaded. There, every child goes to English, French, to the skating rink, to the developmental circles. I think this is an overload. In Greece, everyone is more relaxed, children play a lot.
You can come to Russia for a while, meet interesting active people, get saturated with this energy, and then return to Greece. The Greeks, by the way, really want to work with Russia, but they are afraid of the Russian mafia. There are also such myths that the Russians can deceive them, and even kill them. Perhaps this is due to the fact that in Russia people practically never look at each other. Here they like to look at each other, smile, talk just like that.
Even in Greece, a huge number of men are striking, there are much more of them than women. By the way, in comparison with Greek women, in Russia there are very beautiful well-groomed girls. I myself come to my homeland, I think how long it takes to get ready in the morning in order to come out as such a beauty. Here the girls both woke up and left: it is customary to paint and wear heels only for holidays and big parties. And in Russia, girls are at the parade every day.