My bilingual-expat split personality

I’ve been back to Cyprus for two weeks now and I’m still ‘adjusting’. It’s never been that bad before, maybe because I always had an end date in mind or I had somewhere and something to return to, regardless how gravely I disliked it, or maybe so much happened in the last month alone, my brain is still struggling to fully comprehend what is going on.

But it can’t explain my annoying, pretty much constant (with very brief moments of happiness, laughter and relaxation) irritableness, and no, it’s not hormones.

I’m like an upset, angry hedgehog, keeping my quills raised, prickling everyone in my way, blindly and indiscriminately.

Why do I feel like this? Why does every single thing upset me? Have I been away for too long? How long can I stick it out for? Should I just find a job in another country and leave ASAP?

Endless questions with no answers. Suddenly, out of nowhere Gaia Vince turned a shining light in this question mark shaped pitch black room.

This idea that you gain a new personality with every language you speak, that you act differently when speaking different languages, is a profound one.” she writes in a brilliant article discussing the benefits of being bilingual. Ironically from the whole article I focused on one of the disadvantages of being fluent in two languages.

Am I really bilingual since I was born, raised and lived in Cyprus until I was 22 you might wonder. The answer is without a second thought yes. After 10 years of fully immersing in the British culture and way of life, I think and speak in English first.

Apparently bilinguals develop two different mindsets, they are a different person depending on the language they speak at the time (when you add the country they live in AND the language they speak at a given time in the mix that’s when it gets mind-baffling) and those mindsets are always in conflict as the brain is constantly trying to decide which language to use.

My two selves are always in conflict now that I’m back in Cyprus and not just the language parts. The noise, the attitudes, the people, the culture, everything I’d normally enjoy when I’m visiting Cyprus contradict my ‘British self’ who is dominating at the moment and can’t compromise and accept the fact now we are in Cyprus for (hopefully only) a few months it needs to let my other self out more or learn how to live here. My ‘Cypriot self’ is weak though and doesn’t even have an idea on what makes it Cypriot anymore, it hasn’t lived here for 10 years and since it last lived here it was a whole other person, an immature, 22 year old Cypriot who knew nothing about life or herself. That person doesn’t exist anymore but for most of my friends and family that’s the person they knew and sometimes treat me as if I’m that person, which doesn’t help with the eternal battle in my head.

So, I finally have the answer, but what’s the solution?

No idea. Though my ‘British self’ desperately desires to flee, I’m giving it time for now.

If you’ve been in a similar situation and/or wish to share some words of wisdom, please do. In the meantime, I’ll get back into my yoga and try to bring some calmness and tranquillity in this stormy, windy sea of my mind.



24 hours in Oxford

I’ve never been to Oxford before. Well, I’ve never ‘properly’ been.

I was only there once in 2014, at the beautiful Blackwell’s bookshop to meet the talented, humble,inspirational astronaut Chris Hadfield who I followed for months on Social Media, taking and posting pictures of our beautiful planet from the International Space Station (including a snap of my gorgeous home island), doing live experiments and videos giving insights to the rest of us on how things work in space. That’s a whole other story though.

Five years later, a lot has changed since and it happened that my now best friend who grew up in Oxford moved back home and I went to see her this weekend. It’s amazing to think that she might have been at the bookshop that day, as it’s her favourite, I might have even bumped into her.

Saturday, 1:10pm. After a wonderful, peaceful train ride with a cup of tea, a book and music I made it to Oxford.

The city was buzzing with people, I forgot how busy it can get on a Saturday. First stop: Lunch.

The place Shebs had in mind was full so we discovered a little cafe on top of a bike shop that we now love, the Handle bar Cafe and Kitchen. It was busy but luckily a sweet man who waited at the bar for a table offered us his so we didn’t have to wait.

The decoration was just beautiful with bikes hanging on the wall, a very rustic, cosy vibe and the food was in-cre-di-ble.

Shebs had the coconut pancake stack with berries and I had the smashing avocado on toast. If you know me, you know that’s one of my favourite brunch/lunch meals and I often order it, so I tried it in a lot of places. The one I had at Handle Bar was by far the best. It wasn’t just a typical avo on toast with a poached egg on top. There was feta, chilli, paprika, almonds, seeds and beetroot hummus, it was on another level.

After that we wandered into the city centre and Shebs took me to the most beautiful shop I’ve ever been. I need not say anything else. Just have a look.

We of course went to Blackwell’s bookshop and browsed for a while and since it was too dark to admire the architecture and it was getting closer to the time we had to be at the theatre, we went for dinner at a great Spanish restaurant, Al-Andalus tapas bar. Another awesome meal. Every single tapas we had was bursting with flavour. We had freshly baked bread served with Catalan style tomato sauce and olives on the side and we went for four different tapas: Pincho de Tortilla (spanish omelette), Brochetas De La Huerta (grilled vegetables), Bunuelos De Bacalao (cod fritters with garlic, parsley and ali oli) and Albondigas (meatballs) and a jug of light, refreshing Sangria. We were so full we couldn’t finish all of it.

After this wonderful dinner we met Sheb’s adorable mum and we had a laugh and sang along to Sister Act- the musical at the Oxford playhouse.

We were in no rush on Sunday morning, so we enjoyed a cup of coffee at home before heading out in town.

On Sunday we mostly did sightseeing, passing by the Bridge of Sighs, Hertford college and the Bodleian Library, one of the oldest libraries in Europe. I was in awe of the architecture and the wealth of history.

Before I headed home we went for a quick lunch at one of the most beautiful cafes I’ve ever been, the Vaults and garden cafe, which used to be an old church. We both had the Goat cheese rarebit, delicious.

Sunday, 1:15pm. A day later, I hugged Shebs goodbye and I got the train back to Southampton. What an amazing day it has been. There’s so much to see and do, 24 hours are not enough, there’ll be more next time I visit.

I usually dread Mondays but today I feel blessed. Blessed I had such a wonderful day with my best friend, chatting and laughing whilst wandering in such a stunning city. Oxford is definitely worth a visit.


Nothing stays the same and nothing changes… (part 2)

Thursday afternoon…

I’m ready. I put my Spotify on and After all comes up first… ‘tou tou tou tou tou tou...After all I really love you‘.  I smile. I loved this song since  the first moment I heard it, when a friend sent it to me a while ago. It never fails to cheer me up.

I packed all I need and waiting for the little one to pick me up. First stop, her Italian oral exam. Somehow half an hour later I find myself sitting with her and her course mate in the classroom. Stefano invited me in, I smiled and nodded. What a lovely man. Funky yellow trousers, cool glasses, a sweet, polite voice.

I’m surprised how much Italian I remember. I’m so proud of my little sis and her classmate. They did brilliantly.

I chat to a couple of her classmates afterwards, nervously waiting outside. I wish I could tell them that none of this really matters… Enjoy your life little ones and don’t worry about exams. But would have I listened if I was told that ten years ago when I was in their shoes?

Now… what should I have for dinner on Tuesday when I arrive back in Southampton late and exhausted? What about moving? What if I don’t find a place and have nowhere to stay, what if the agency messes up me and I have to stay another two months? (Cold sweat…) Stop it! Focus!

Now the exam is over it’s time to head to the theatre for a final rehearsal and the show.

There’s no signal in the theatre and I can’t use my phone. That’s for the best. It can be my worst distraction sometimes…

A few hours later…

Tickets sorted, all ready, it’s showtime!

It all went well minus a couple of hiccups. I feel bad I didn’t recognise the Vice Chancellor straight away. I’ve only seen a photo of him the day before and there was a mess up with the tickets… I didn’t instantly figure it out. But all well.

I’m so proud for my little sister and everyone involved in the musical. None of them is a professional singer or an actor but they put together a brilliant show. Now, let’s help pack, tidy up and go home…



I can’t unlock the car, why can’t I unlock the car?

I knew it! The long beep I’ve heard earlier when we were rushing out of the car was the lights. I told her. She thought it was the door…

Now it’s half past midnight and other than one more person, who didn’t have any equipment to help us start jump the car anyway there’s no one else left at the car park.

After about an hour, we are finally home. A friend came to the rescue and it all ended well. God I’m exhausted…

Friday noon…

I finally got some sleep. I still feel drained but there’s no rest for the wicked.

The little sis and I pop to the shops for some essentials. The guy at the newsagents starts a conversation… Surprised, I stare for a second and then I remember where I am and how people are different here. I smile and make a joke. I’ve adapted again, a couple of days before I’m about to leave…

Friday afternoon…

I’m meeting two of my oldest best friends. We’ve known each other since high school. We haven’t changed much, other than carrying our bruises and scars of the last 18 years, hopeful but more realistic and scared to dream as big…

And… a lovely surprise! A friend I haven’t seen for ten years, a friend I spent endless evenings just driving around town with, nights out and days at the beach as a naive and careless 20 year old. So happy to see him. He looks exactly the same. He talks exactly the same, strikingly honest as always but he as well more mature and pragmatic about life.

Saturday morning…

This is the only time during my short visit the five of us are all together and it’s hilariously chaotic as always. We go for a walk at the beach, still a bit too cold for a swim but perfect for a Saturday stroll and lunch. I can’t stop humming ‘tell me how to be in this world, tell me how to breathe in and feel no hurt’…

I cherish these rare moments, that’s what they are nowadays, rare and they will get rarer the older we get.

It’s funny how as a teen, even a young 20 year old, we dread family time with our parents and our siblings but the older we get, the more we realise the fragility of life and how thing may change at any minute, the more we appreciate the sacrifices they made and still make for us, their selfless love and the only thing they want in return is for us to be happy and spend time with them…


Saturday afternoon…

I finally get to see the only best friend I couldn’t see at Christmas. We sit at a cafe for hours chatting, with a coffee in hand, like we used to back at uni.

A few hours later we are having beers right next to the Faneromeni church with her fiance, his brother and my sister. It feels like a scene from Boyhood… but a few years later, now some 30 year olds who’ve known each other for years, sitting at a bar, just outside one of the oldest churches in Nicosia, having a beer, still troubled and  desperate seeking the meaning of life whilst reminiscing… What a beautiful, surreal way to end the day.

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Sunday noon…

No matter what you have planned for the day, there is always time for a cup of coffee and almost always the company grows at the last minute.

Sunday afternoon…

After some shopping and… a coffee with friends and sisters it’s time for my godson’s belated birthday. I’m so happy I’ve been to his first birthday last year and now his second. He’s grown so much and every time I see him our bond is getting stronger and stronger…

Pappou Costa and my aunties are here, my cousin’s little angels and her husband and relatives are here. I enjoy every moment, despite the mayhem and the noise, it actually somehow makes it better…

Monday noon…

I’m sitting at the Uni’s cafe with my mum. I’m on my laptop writing a post, the first part of this blog and she is knitting rosaries. It’s quiet, peaceful…It has just rained but the sun is out again. It never stays away for long on this island…


Monday afternoon…

I take the little sister on an educational trip down old Nicosia. I’m surprised how little she knows about the island’s history but I’m glad I’m teaching her what I’ve known for years… Up the Siakolas tower for a panoramic view of the city, one of the few spots you can see over ‘the other side’ without having to show your passport to cross the green line, the only divided capital in the world, down the old town, the Archbishop’s place that was half burned during the coup in 1974, the house of the dragoman  Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios who, although working with the Turks, secretly helped his fellow Greek Cypriots in the 1800’s, when the country where under the Ottoman empire…


Tuesday morning…

My throat feels sore… typical. I’m getting a cold just as I’m about to leave. I try not to think about it.

I say goodbye to the family and this little man…



and my sister drops me off at the airport. I think I prefer it to just get dropped off rather than saying goodbye to my sisters and my mum to the gate. Still emotional but makes it easier to leave.

Time to go back, but I feel I needed a few more days… to tackle my overthinking… Remember, one day at a time…


Remember… nothing stays the same and nothing changes…

Remember… you got this…



Nothing stays the same and nothing changes… (part 1)

Tuesday morning

I just woke up. Where am I? I’ve been having dreams about a friend, the same friend for two or three nights and they never end well, I can’t understand why… what is my brain trying to tell me? I wake up confused.

Two days ago I was on our amazing One Sound show, singing with my colleagues in front of 700 people and the next day knackered having a Sunday coffee with a friend and then watching Beast at Harbour Lights, a film I’m still thinking about.

But now I’m in the summer PJs my mum got me (pink floral Good Vibes written on the top, very fitting), it feels warm, no it feels hot, I must have sweat a lot last night. I remember. I remember my long day of taxi, train, flight. I remember the airport guard looking for a specific guy on my flight but he never showed up, I remember watching Schindler’s List on the plane (why I thought it’d be a good time to do that I don’t know,de-press-ing), my sisters and my mum at the airport…

I’m at home… my other home, my first home…

It always feels weird the first day or two I’m back. No matter how often I may visit, I always get this ‘out of place’ feeling every time. As if I travelled for days and I’m  now on another planet, an utterly and completely different life that’s somehow very familiar.

I guess it is. I’m a different person here, but also the same. Does that make sense? I’m not sure it does but I have a feeling that expats will get it.

Every time I come home I remember the person I used to be before I left, how I changed over the years, how I grew up, how living in the UK has changed me, but somehow deep down I’m still the same little girl. Am I a different person here or just a different version of myself?

I guess I subconsciously adapt to the environment, different people, different culture, different weather. Different but familiar… A familiar environment, everything is familiar but not as familiar as it used to be. People here are more open, more affectionate. I forget how they stare, how they start a conversation with a stranger with such ease. And after a day or two I’m more open and ‘more’ of everything myself. The wonders of human nature. How easily we learn and adapt to a different way of living… especially when we lived it before in ‘another life’.

Why am I thinking all of this now? Maybe it’s because I didn’t have any time to think for the last week or two, maybe a walk at the beach and a coffee by the sea with friends will help…

I keep mumbling Bastille’s Pompeii… But if you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all? And if you close your eyes does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?


Wednesday morning

Marios, the hairdresser remembers me and my friends in primary school. He remembers me playing my guitar… How? Why can’t I remember him? I wonder what my childhood friends are now doing… I later in the week discover that one of them is now a well known chef in Cyprus, Charalambos! I recognised him as soon as I saw him on TV. Last I remember of him was 10 year old us playing outside my grandma’s house. I have a picture of us on the school nativity play, he was Joseph and I was Holy Mary…


Later in the day…

I just got a message and a rainy snap from a friend back home. I sent him a snap of me in my summer attire. I finally escaped the longest winter, my longest winter in the UK. I smile… I’ve been chatting to two of my friends back… home all week. I don’t mind, I actually prefer it. I somehow don’t want to forget my ‘other’ life. It’s part of me.

I meet my little sister’s friends, her co-stars in the musical they’ve been working hard on for the last six months. I’ve heard so much about them and I can now put together faces and names. Although we just met they welcome me with such love and affection I find it moving and can’t stop smiling. They’ve heard a lot about me from my little sis and couldn’t wait for me to visit, and I’ve heard a lot about them, it feels as if we’ve already known each other for while. One of them wants to speak in English, he likes my ‘British’ accent. I giggle to myself. As much as I can try, I can never completely escape my ‘British’ self.

Later in the same day…

The three of us, again, like back in the day, in our uni years, having a drink and a cigarette, chatting, serious, deep conversations and bursting into hysterical laughs every now and then. No one would have ever guessed the turns, the ups and downs, the crazy, surreal almost things, people, events life threw at us. How we changed but we are somehow still the same.

Thursday morning

I can’t get out of bed. I’m exhausted. Ran out of energy. Completely. But I know today will be a long day. It’s the day of the show. That’s why I came home now and not summertime. I need to focus on that.

And stop thinking about what I’ll do when I’m back, decisions I need to make, what to focus on, what I can do to help the family here in case they need to move out in the near future. The condition of the flat is getting worse… the government is doing nothing. Maybe I can move in with a flatmate again so I can save and help my parents if needed? Although I hate it. Although I will worry whether they paid the bills, although I love and miss living on my own so much it hurts.

‘Do what is best for you. You are in your thirties, you work hard, you deserve to enjoy life, have your own place again. I’m sure everything will work out fine for us’ my mum said. I was about to cry but I didn’t. I knew that will set them off. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing pair for parents. They always put our happiness first. No matter what.

I feel guilt. I feel torn. What should I do? How do you make a decision like this? How do you make any important decision?

One of the reasons I need to go home every now and then (other than the sunshine) is to remember who I am, how much I’m loved, escape my troubles back home in the UK, reset and go back with a fresh mindset. But this time I find myself thinking of all the things I need to sort out most of the time. I can’t let it consume me…

A lyric from Vincent keeps playing in my mind…

Now I understand what you tried to say to me… how you suffered for your sanity…

Get ready, quickly, you only have an hour… Focus on the musical, focus on today, focus on the now. Please…


Is there really skills shortage?

I’ve just been reading a post on Insider Media on the expected growth of South East Businesses over the next year which is great news for Southampton.

But the same survey run by Hays has also showed that 81% of the 2,442 South East employers and employees who took part are being challenged by skills shortages.

But is it really skills shortage?

Let’s take myself for example.

I have numerous qualifications: BA (Hons) Psychology, MSc Research Methods in Psychology, Occupational Testing Personality and Ability, BPS Qualification in Occupational Psychology (equivalent to MSc) and PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner, although I haven’t utilised much of my knowledge and skills gained from them in my career so far.

Through my work experience, mainly as a Research and Data Analysis Officer and Senior Compliance Officer at Solent I gained a long list of useful, transferable skills.

I’ve interviewed students for temporary work, I worked with them giving out flyers and goodies, I’ve taken part in marketing campaigns promoting student surveys and all the good work happening across the University from coming up with ideas for marketing material and incentives, designing leaflets to updating the relevant webpages.

I ran cognitive interviews and focus groups with students and academics, exploring issues around student satisfaction, I managed the annual graduate phone survey (from the very start, recruiting and managing a group of student phone researchers to analysing and presenting the results) for years and produced endless reports on graduate recruitment, student satisfaction, staff satisfaction and many more for staff, from academics to Senior Managers.

I organised events at the Uni mainly for staff, from sending invites, organising catering, putting together material to give out to presenting to them and asking for feedback afterwards.

I learn incredibly fast, let it be new processes, procedures, systems. Don’t get me started on software, from SPSS to Contensis to Quercus.

I have a more than the average person knowledge on various different areas, Social Media, marketing, mental health, event management and advertising because I just love learning about them.

I’m aware about most of the events happening in Southampton, often before others find out because I love finding out about and trying new things and getting involved with the community. That’s how I met Bene and tried hot yoga, I discovered Women Who Do, I spent an awesome day volunteering for Southampton Pride and took part in Summer in the Square in the last couple of months.

One of my great loves is food. I love trying new things and I love good food. And of course I love talking about it. One of my favourite conversations recently was with the Director of Finance about herbs and spices!

Often others come to me for restaurant and coffee places recommendations in town or even where to get the best food at the University.

I love music and yoga as anyone who follows me on Social Media knows and I feel so happy every time people tell me they loved a song I shared or they tried yoga because they read my posts!

Most importantly, my most precious, invaluable skills cannot be obtained through work because they come from the person I am, from my personality.

I’m a social person. I can have a conversation with anyone about anything. I love talking to people. One of my favourite posts is the one about my afternoon at a Turkish barbers in town, chatting to the owner about Cypriot and Turkish cuisine and culture.

Throughout the years I’ve developed great relationships with students, course leaders, managers, Directors, cleaners, shop assistants, colleagues I don’t work with from other departments and made friends with people I met through volunteering and going to events I find interesting.

I’m incredibly creative. I come up with random ideas about almost anything, food, decoration, events, fundraising (like our Snowdonia Climb)posts (my blog is a great example!).

And I love helping out, that why I volunteer when I can, from the Graduation,  and Open Day to the Half Marathon and Southampton Pride. And through helping out I’m making friends from all walks of life along the way. I’m currently helping a fellow Cypriot with her move to Southampton, checking out flats for her. And I love it.

I can go on and on.

I work as a Senior Compliance Officer, which is a standard, boring, 9 to 5 job, most of the time in front of a PC staring at spreadsheets. I love the people but not what I do.

It is incredibly difficult to change careers and move to a job I can actually put in use most of my skills and knowledge.

Why? Because I don’t have ‘relevant extensive experience’ in marketing/events management/advertising/PR/Mental Health, I lack the ‘skills’ necessary, I’m one of those on the ‘skills shortage’ side.

I will have to start from scratch, on an entry level position which of course I don’t mind but I can’t afford it financially. My plan is to save over the next year and take the plunge. Unless I’m given the chance by one of the employers I apply for work, highly unlikely.

So, my advice to employers:

Look beyond someone’s work experience and work related skills. Unless is a very technical job, most skills can be easily and quickly taught if you recruit the right person, the person who might not necessarily have all relevant work skills but the one who will be the best fit in your team and is keen to learn.

My biggest, most desired goal for 2018 is to finally move to a job I can enjoy and will give me the opportunity to utilise my skills and make a difference, whatever and wherever that might be.

I’ve been reading about Emotional Intelligence lately and years worth of research suggests that empathy, optimism, hope and enjoyment in what you do is a significantly better prediction of success than IQ (I can’t recommend Daniel Goleman’s book and work highly enough).

I’m confident on my abilities, I believe in myself and I’m optimistic about the future.  No matter how many rejections I may face (I didn’t get an interview for the job I recently applied to in case you were wondering) I know for a fact that whoever believes in me and gives me a chance even if I’m not the ‘right person’ on paper, they will not regret it.

In the meantime, I’ll keep learning and use my dead-end job survival techniques to keep me going.





Love, not hate. And take mental health seriously! When will this stop???

I made some time to write this post, because I felt the need to express my thoughts in more than 140 characters or a long Facebook post…

In the last week, two events deeply upset me and saddened me.

Three days ago a man decided to load 2 guns and kill 50 innocent people and injure many more who were having fun at a nightclub in Orlando… I’ve read a lot about this man. He was mentally unstable, used to beat his ex-wife, he was interviewed by the police in the past… but nothing was able to stop him from murdering innocent people…

Why? To prove what? What did he achieve? We live in 2016… how long will it take to finally extinguish homophobia/islamophobia/phobia of anything??? What does it matter what race/sexual orientation/religion/(add anything else you can think of) you are?

Nobody is better than anyone. We all come from the same place, share similar DNA, we are all in a sense cousins. But we are different too, and that’s what makes us special and unique! But it doesn’t make us better or worse than each other. And this madness needs to stop.

Yesterday, MP Jo Cox was stubbed and shot to death… I don’t know much about her but from the little I read, she was an amazing person. Although it doesn’t matter even if she wasn’t. Nobody deserves to be stubbed and shot to death, not even the worst of the worst of people, let alone a talented, powerful woman, mother and wife doing the job she loved. At the time I am writing this it’s still not clear why her attacker did this… but it seemed he was mentally unstable and disagreed with her political views…

Her husband posted one of the most heartbreaking and inspiring messages I’ve ever read, it’s worth reading… (

My deep and sincere condolences to Brendan Cox, their family and everyone who lost a family member, a friend, a lover, a soulmate, a mate, a wife, a husband, a colleague in Orlando…

I can understand how hatred can blur someone’s sanity. To a degree… I don’t hate anyone, but I overreacted to situations and was upset with people as we all do. But I NEVER ever wished for anyone to get hurt, let alone die.

Nothing good comes out of hate. NOTHING! I feel sad every time I hear about a shooting or innocent people getting killed for whatever reason. And don’t forget all the innocent souls who die in countries such as Syria every single day…

There is another IMPORTANT issue that needs addressing… When will mental health be finally given the importance it deserves??? There must be a way to help people who struggle with mental issues before they reach the point of killing another human being!!!!

I hope that humanity and love will prevail. I’ll never stop believing in forgiveness and love. Because that’s what makes us humans. That’s what discriminates us from other animals. We have a brain for thinking and a heart (well brain again, but let’s not get into science) for feeling! And I hope that WE (society/government/world) will one day be able to give mental and emotional support to everyone who needs it!

I sincerely hope one day all this will stop. So my message/advice of the day: forgive, love and don’t judge, don’t hate anyone or anything you don’t agree with or don’t understand!!! Holding grudges or hating anything or anyone will only poison your mind…

And take mental health seriously!

I’ll finish this post with a powerful sentence from Jo Cox’s husband’s message…

“Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous…”

A special hug to everyone today…

Love you all xx


My two homes…

If you are an expat (especially from Cyprus or Greece) ,you might relate to some of my thoughts and feelings about living abroad in your 30s.

For the first time for years, I’ve visited home feeling myself and eager to catch up with friends and people I haven’t seen for years (including the coolest lecturer I ever had and probably the best psychologist at least in Cyprus, if you live in Cyprus and need any advice or support, message me for details!), meet my little prince, my gorgeous godson and explore my homeland, something I haven’t done for years. And it felt amazing. I had the most amazing time (still one day left!) but I missed my second home too.

Millomeri waterfalls, at Platres, just stunning.


If you live abroad, you probably know the feeling. Being back home feels amazing and sometimes I wonder whether I should move back at some point in my life. But then change my mind after a while and you probably understand why.

Being single in your 30s and living abroad is not easy for a small, close society to comprehend. Most of my friends are married and/or have kids and if you are not married you must have heard hundreds of times “You are getting older, you are almost 30, your cousin/sister/random people you don’t even remember/etc are married with kids, when are you getting married?”, “When are you moving back?”.

I’d like to have children at some point, but even if I get too old and that doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing in life is to be happy and enjoy life!

It’s difficult for others to accept that living abroad and having goals other than getting married and having a family is possible. And I understand that. This is the how they grew up and for them that is the ultimate goal.  But it can become frustrating being given ‘advice’ by everyone, even people who I don’t really know on what to do with my life.

After a week back home, I caught up with my best friends (sorry about the rest, I promise I will make it up next time!), met amazing people including probably the only 30 year old (ridiculously multitalented singer) who has a different mindset to most (guess what? he lived abroad for years!), spent quality time with family and even squeezed some time to go on day adventures. But it wasn’t enough. I could use another week or two. Then again, it never really feels enough. I will always miss my family and my friends.

On the other hand, I don’t think I can move back here permanently. I now have a second home which I miss dearly when I’m here. I miss my friends, my colleagues, my own space, my own life.

I now have no ties in Southampton or even the UK. I can move anywhere in the world, literally anywhere! And of course never say never. I have no idea how my life will evolve and where I might be this time next year.

But Southampton feels like home, even with all the changes in the last couple of months. And I can’t wait to go back and try new things, catch up with my friends, have my first mini holiday with Shebz (I missed you!!!) to initiate the celebrations of me becoming 30, make changes which I decided for once, and just have fun!

The lesson I’ve learned? Don’t get upset or take into serious consideration what other think is right for you. You know best, so trust yourself!

And the best advice I’ve received, from my 80 year old grandpa after I told him I broke up with my partner of 7 years (he easily forgets so he politely asked about him) “Are you happy? That’s all it matters!”

Love you all! x