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#1 deb

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 10:19 PM

Hi,
I'm Deb and I'm planning on downsizing - selling my house/renting out my (soon to be found) flat in uk and moving to crete next year. No job but will have a TEFL cert and some funds to live on or perhaps buy miniscule place to live in...
...thing is, I'll be moving by myself! Is this unheard of??? Should I go for it?
I'd be grateful for advice (or warnings?!) from anyone who's moved to Crete as a single woman.

regards,
Deb

#2 Nita

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 07:28 AM

Hi Deb

Follow the dream, if this is what you want to do, and if it doesn’t work out you can return to the UK to your flat, sometimes a good idea to have a back-up plan, but don’t go back on the first day you have a serious case of the wobbles - yes, there will be a few of those days, especially when you first arrive, when you think ‘what have I done’ and drag the suitcase out!!

I too came here as a single woman, now almost three years ago and have had no problems. You don’t say if you have friends here etc., if not I would be a little more hesitant. I was very fortunate in having many good friends here, whom I had known for many years, who supported and helped me, and still do, when I first made the big move. But don’t forget it’s a two-way street.

Do you speak some Greek? If not I suggest you try to learn as much as possible before your move, without it life can be very difficult. I still struggle with Greek but the little I know has helped me greatly and I continue to have lessons. It’s easy to believe that everyone here has a knowledge of English, and certainly the locals involved with the tourist side of life do, but let me assure you when it comes to real life it’s a very different story.

As in any part of the world local people, maybe more so in the villages, will view a single woman living alone with a certain amount of suspicion, so be warned. The best way round this when I moved into my house, in the middle of the village surrounded by Greeks, was to prove them wrong as quickly as possible. If you pass a couple, for example, on the road smile, say good morning (kale mera) but look at the woman, not the man!

At the first opportunity I made some cakes etc., and presented them to my immediate neighbours, making sure I handed them to the woman of the house. Let me tell you this works and now I am accepted by all and, of course, am often presented with gifts, surplus fruit and veg, eggs and homemade food often brought by the men on instruction of their wives! I have given jam making ‘lessons’ when there was a glut of apricots and offered to do various sewing jobs (for free), use the skills you have and you will be rewarded tenfold.

Hope this helps a little, and sorry for running on, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

#3 deb

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:41 AM

Thanks for your swift response, Nita!
No, I don't know anyone in Crete and I'm aware that it may be really hard for me for a while, especially if I don't have a job (apparently teaching might be available if I'm lucky - but out of season???). At present I'm checking out whether I can work marking tests online for colleges - but I think I'd have to be a UK resident so that may be out...
But, work or no work, I'd love to give it a go!
I have greek classes beginning in September but I'm teaching myself a bit anyway (I've known the very basics for many years but that's not so useful when trying to get a plumber or buy a car!).
Spending lots of time reading anything I can about living in crete. Nothing's put me off yet!
Anyway:back to my current reality - and off to another day in the office...

#4 lshall05

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 10:49 AM

Hi Deb

A good thing for you to do (if you haven't already done this) might be to visit where you want to move to both in season and out of season. If you visit during the season, try to make friends with local bar/restaurant owners or staff (easier said than done if it's busy but if you go nearer the start/end of the season it's a bit easier). You might even meet people on the various forums that would help you settle in. If you want to live somewhere that is very touristy (Malia, Stalis, Ag Nik - only mentioning east of Crete as I don't know the west) then you have to see what it is like out of season as it can be very different. Living in a village out of the main towns will probably be different again (I say probably because I'm not planning to live out in the 'sticks'). We have visited Malia several times in season and have now been twice out of season. The contrast between in/out of season is amazing!

I know someone that lived in Crete for several years on their own but due to family circumstances had to return to the UK. They never had a problem and had many british friends and some greek friends.

I have now spent about 9 months learning Greek for 2 hours a week (and not much extra study during the week), it's been difficult, mainly because it's not the roman alphabet that is used so it takes a while to get to grips with the alphabet but I'm sure you'll get there. I'm starting the next level in September/October and will have to do more than the 2 hours each week. I will persevere as it's all part of what will make our dream come true.

A lot of people have told me that although people have the TEFL qualification a lot of places won't accept it simply because the Greek authorities don't accept any 'non-Greek certificates'. I'm currently studying TEFL so that it's another option. I'm also guessing that it will help with my Greek because English grammar comes naturally to English speakers but you never quite remember what present simple, etc means!!

Sorry I seem to have waffled a bit but I hope it helps.

Feel free to ask any other questions.

Lynn

#5 deb

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Posted 03 July 2007 - 09:08 PM

Hi Lynn,
Not sure where I want to live yet - I'll need to be near people for sanity's sake, but haven't been to the touristy areas...been to Heraklion briefly, Chania and nearby coast, maleme, white mountains/samaria gorge, loutro etcetera. Unlikely that I'd be living anywhere in the vicinity of any of the remote places, though! I'm flying to Heraklion late September for a week to have a look around - and to face the fear and HIRE A CAR!! (have never driven in greece).
Any ideas about places to stay/friendly places to live that aren't hugely overtouristed would be very welcome.
As for doing a tefl course - my grammar's a little rusty too - hope I survive the course!! Hope to hear from anyone else re: the validity of a tefl cert. (plus pgce -would this help??)
...a friend's daughter did a weekend tefl two weeks ago, moved to be with her boyfriend in Turkey, and has already landed a job teaching english in a kindergarten in Istanbul ! What luck.

regards,
Deb

#6 andy & christine

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Posted 15 December 2007 - 04:21 PM

you go for it, we are moving over to crete in may 2008 for a senior gap (5 year) we cant fault your thinking at all, hope everything goes to plan lol andy & chris
Follow your dreams to the end of the road, never let them fade away