My father is from the north of Greece, from Macedonia. He comes from the little town of Kozani. He came to the Peloponnese because in winter there was no work for him in his home village. At the time there were many Greeks migrating from the north to the southern part of Greece to do all sorts of jobs for instance around olive and citrus trees. My father was one of those migrants. He came to this area and met my mother in a lemon factory. They grabbed the same lemon and that was it. She was 14 at the time. They got married and at 16 she had me. So I’m only 16 years older than my mother and I’m very happy about that.
There was a postman here in this area, a very nice gentleman. He met me once and asked me where I was from. When I said from Macedonia (the northern territory of Greece) he said: “oh I understand now”. I asked him what he meant and he said that the Macedonians are more clear with their ambitions than the people of the Peloponnese. They stay focused and walk “straight” through life. He made me feel very proud.
I grew up in Galatas, that is where I went to school. Well, this is where we all went to school as it was the only one in the area. That’s where Eleni, my wife, went to school too. She was different than other kids, well at least to me. While most of the teenagers were listening to Pop music like Madonna or Duran Duran, she was listening to The Doors, Pink Floyd, you know, more meaningful music.
I was never a sports guy. That’s why also my children don’t really play sports. I was always good with computers. I owned one of the first computers, Spectrum it was called. My uncle brought it from the USA and I said I had to study it. It was a time when the socialist government introduced technical high schools for the first time. It was the only place where we were able to study computer science, there were no universities teaching it then. So I attended a technical high school and studied computers. That was in Athens, not here. I was 16 years old and studying alone in Athens, but I did not miss my parents that much. We developed a special relationship then and we spoke regularly, but I was also doing what I loved.
After my technical high school I really wanted to study in the UK. I did all the necessary paperwork and I got accepted. Then suddenly we got news that my uncle had died in the States. My aunt came from the US and said that I should rather go to America, not the UK so I could keep her company. I then proceeded to do all the paperwork in order to go to America, everything from scratch. In the meantime, I received a paper saying I must do my military service in Greece. So in the end I had to stay and never went abroad. I went to serve in Cyprus for 1.5 years. After my service I went back to Cyprus, not as a soldier, but a citizen. I stayed there for 2 years. I was responsible for face control at the night clubs. Not an easy task. Then my mother did a bit of a trick to bring me back to Poros. She said my uncle wants me to work with him at Colgate Greece. I came back with high expectations and he told me that I had to start from the bottom – the warehouse. They wanted me to work for a salary I was earning in Cyprus in a week, so I said “no way”. I then worked for a bit with Dimitri Vlachos, my best friend, and subsequently for the brothers of Eleni, Spiros and Nikos and that’s when we met each other again. We were both 22 at the time. Actually I’m older than her by 3 months. Before Eleni I never had a relationship with a younger woman!
Eleni was studying at the time in Athens so I only worked in her brothers’ shop for 6 months and then I went with her to Athens. I found a job in a German company – Bosch. At 24 we decided to get married. Eleni had just finished studying. I got jealous and I subscribed to the open university and I’m still studying. I enjoy it a lot.