The logo of the English Language School we had in Greece for ten years – we are so proud of it and love it and always will!
The idea for this blog post comes from a great friend and educator from Toronto, Canada – Tyson Seburn. Tyson is amazing, because either with his blog posts or tweets, he says something that makes me think and inspires me so much! Thanks Tyson.
Tyson asked once in one of my replies to one of his posts that he would like to know more about my story at some point. I also spoke about it for a bit with Ken Wilson and James Taylor here in Zug. Here it is.
As some of you may know from previous posts or Twitter, I was born in Toronto, Canada to Greek parents. Dad had a restaurant and mom stayed at home with us. When I was eight, they decided to move the whole family to Greece. It was not the easiest time of my life as school was very different to what we had experienced in Canada and some kids bullied my sister and me for our bad accents in Greek. Not so good for us back then. But things improved later on.
After I finished school, I went to university and during my last year my eldest sister decided to expand her private lessons into a small school. We were so excited about it and a bit stressed too, as we started off with 23 students of Gina’s. Slowly but steadily, our small school took off and we rented more space, our youngest sister Christine joined as well and we ended up having thirteen more teachers, thirteen fantastic human beings and educators and 203 students of all ages, as each group had one to three people, which made our school unique at least in the Northwestern part of Greece were we lived. Our school got a number of awards for what we offered in education and we were so proud of it. We still are.
We breathed, slept, ate and lived the school. The Loras English Academy was something we had created, something we loved so much and even went to on Sundays in our pyjamas (another plus was that it was 3 minutes on foot from our houses). Our beautiful school was running so well and we were enjoying it so much for ten years up until one day. My brother-in-law who is a financial analyst was offered a permanent position in Switzerland with the company he had been working as an external partner up until then, so Gina, Thomas and their two kids had to move. The school had to close as well as it would be difficult to keep running, as Gina was the managerial part of the team and our accountant said it would be the wisest thing to do.
I cannot begin to describe the tumult of feelings, the sleepless nights and how much we cried over this decision, which we admit was the toughest of our lives and I truly hope it is the last time we have to make such a difficult decision.
My next thought was, what do I do now? The school is not running anymore, what do I do? A huge and important part of my life was gone. First thought: go back to Canada. The truth is, I love Greece as my parents’ homeland, but apart from my work, nothing else kept me there. I decided against Canada as it would be really hard to see my family – we are all so attached. Second thought: Switzerland. Great educational system, my sister would also be there, but could possibly go wrong in an organised country like that? Apart from some difficulties and minor glitches you always have when you move to another country, I can say that I am now happy I came here. Work is going great, life is good, Switzerland is an amazing place, what more could I want? Yes, I remember, ever since I was a little girl, I was always looking for a better place. Yes I was hurt, a lot, that we moved from Canada. Yes, I was hurt, we were hurt, a lot, that we had to close down the school. But I guess that I have found a tiny part of that paradise I was looking for. I may not find a bigger part of it, but I will always be happy to have found even this part of it.
When she was just a girl
she expected the world
but it flew away from her reach
so she ran away in her sleep
and dreamed of paradise
every time she closed her eyes