The British who decided to live in Kalamata

About her experiences in Greece, the beauty of Messinia, the festivals, and the crazy Greek drivers, talked Marilyn Fidler – a 65 years old British who has decided to take up residence with her husband in Vounaria, Messinia.

The 65 years old retired woman, who’s been living in Greece recently, talked with kalamatain.grwebsite and explained the reasons that made her loving our country, while at the same time “warned” the Greeks.

“It’s too bad that the Greeks have not understood in which beautiful country they live and how much lucky they must feel,” says Marilyn and refers that she had been coming in Greece for many years with her husband, Andrew, for vacation until she made the decision to stay permanently here.

In this delightful interview Marilyn talks about the adaptation period in Messinia, the neighbor that loves, but also about… the goats which baptized and then were slaughtered for the Greek Easter.

He points out that she and her husband previously lived relatively comfortably as small producers of oil, however, they now are feeling the consequences of the crisis and says that she’s also scared about the naivety of Greek politicians.

She notes how “the Greeks have not understood how lucky …” declares a lover of Greek tradition and Greek dances, but she wonders how the country will accomplish something.

For a simple question – how to do something – you get five completely different answers” she says with disarming style.

Read the full interview of Marilyn at

What’s your name; where did you grow up? Generally tell us some basic things about you.

I am Marilyn. I am 65 years old and I have officially retired. I was born and raised in the northwest of England, in a city in Rochdale, 25 km. from Manchester. I have made many studies and I have worked for many years for Granada TV in Manchester, while my main hobby is the theater: I belonged to a group of amateur of theater and music for over 40 years, not only as a participant but also as a director and choreographer!

When did you decide to move? Why Greece? Why in Messinia?

For many years my husband Andrew and I went for holiday in Greece: Poros, Zakynthos, Paxos, Spetses and various parts of the Peloponnese. One year we wanted a quieter place and we were proposed the “Chranoi”. We came for vacation and fell in love with the place. The following year we returned there and we were looking for “cottage”, in which we’d have came just for vacation. We notice that a small piece of land in Vounaria was for sale: this piece of land had a view that cut your breath. Vounaria is really a beautiful and picturesque Greek village. And all this long before we discover the “Peroulia” beach. That’s it.

Almost immediately we bought the land and decided to build our own holiday home. After a few months we discovered that the adjacent plot to ours – in which we had already built our house – was for sale. Then we decided to sell all our property in England, to buy also that one and come to live here permanently. And so it happened.

What positive things did you meet in your new place?

The cordiality of people, amazing weather and – of course – the view is undoubtedly the most beautiful that can be seen. For us it was exactly what we had imagined as the traditional Greek way of life and of course the location was ideal.

The adjustment period was difficult? How was the interaction with the locals? What greeted you?

It was very strange at first. The Greek language is very difficult. We’ve started learning it when we came here the first time. And now we slowly improve our Greek. I can understand more than I can say. I was excited, but also I had the feeling to belong nowhere. We did not know any Greek, and we built not one, but two houses! Everyone was friendly and helpful with us, with them we interacted with lots of gestures and pantomime!

And we slowly adapted to the fact that the word “tomorrow” that does not necessarily mean tomorrow, but “soon” and even to the fact that no one is making programs for more than one week. This sometimes disappointed us.

Special mention I have to do for a wonderful person I loved from the first moment I saw, in our nearest neighbor; she kept chickens and goats near our site. We did not know any Greek, and after several discussions we were wondering me and my husband what we were talking about for all this time and in what it seemed we finally agreed. We are also proud of the fact that we have given names to two of the puppies who did the goats! Unfortunately the slaughtered and ate them for Easter, which at the beginning came as a shock for me… When I asked made a dramatic gesture cut along the neck and just said “Paska”!

What do you miss the most?

My children, grandchildren and some of my dear friends. Also I love the theater, and I’ve been missing the good theater, although I’ve been to Epidaurus and Kalamata Dance Festival.

What would you like to change?

We have been nine years here, and already many things changed for us. We live a very good life as a small olive and oil producers but now we would like to have an easier lifestyle. When we came to settle in Messinia I can say that we were very well financially but in recent years the costs are too many. Taxation and the expenses made us reluctant to spend. We want to visit our country, but the costs now make us apprehensive. We have serious economic problems as some other Greeks, but certainly we are not comfortable as we once were. Indeed, we are thinking now to sell one of our houses.

What you like and what you can not afford the lifestyle of the locals?

We have many Greek friends, most of them are actually very hardworking and generous. My husband and I have been learning Greek dances in N. Koroni for three years. We like to deal with traditional Greek events and it’s always impressive. Let’s say that we enjoyed a lot what you here call “panigihiria”.

However, Greek drivers are crazy! And my motto is “never believe that you know what to do after a Greek guide”. In time we learned to think more “Greek” going with the flow of life without forcing situations. This is the only thought that can encourage us when we are dealing with the paperwork. However sometimes I wonder how in the end some things are accomplished in this country, because a simple question “how to do something” you get five completely different answers.

Still, I worry for Greek politicians and the naïveté in which they think. The Golden Dawn scares me incredibly: I have met people who support them because they believe they are nationalists and that work in the interest of the Greeks, unable to see that they are racists, and they want to pick and decide which immigrants are good and who is not. Since my love for Greece started reading the Greek history and I realized that unfortunately as the state has not evolved much in the last 100 years. But this could only start with education.

If you need to use the word “I can’t stand” then it would be for those who are far from beautifying public walls writing threatening, football and political hatred slogans, which are never removed. I love street art but it has nothing to do with what happens here extensively. The responsibles must and can be found guilty and be required to remove them, and then their services are to be put for something beautiful and creative that concern the common good. Finally, I can not stand the garbage that Greeks drop everywhere and uncontrolled. Especially when I see trash thrown from car windows.

Will you return to England someday?

We came here to stay and there is no question of returning to England.


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