Today we talked with Elvira, who left a prestigious job in the Moscow Bank for a family in Cyprus. And really - can the eternal career race better simple and wise life on the sunny island?
- Elvira, you moved to Cyprus, leaving a promising job and a career in Moscow. Tell us how it happened.
- Remember how in the movie "Sex and the City" Carrie Bradshaw meets the man of her dreams? So I have this happened - met the man of her dreams. But he had to happen, that he was a foreigner (Greek Cypriot), lived in another country and move to Moscow in general not part of his plans. I was over 30, I worked as one of the top-managers of a major bank, loved his job and traveled to change anything in my life, too, was not planned.
The decision to move came by itself when I found out that we would have a child. It was a planned pregnancy, we wanted to be together, have a family and children. I never put my career at the center of my career, I just tried to do my job well, as professionally as possible, so I did not even think - to leave me or stay, it was easy for me to make this decision, and I was ready for it. However, I sobbed for a long time, when I left, I was terribly sorry to leave my team, because this is 10 years of work. And yet, I could not give up everything like that, I had a big responsibility for the team, I wanted to create comfortable working conditions for them, so I worked for 7 months of my pregnancy, I had a lot to do. My husband arrived every month. In general, I left Russia with a light heart and a heavy stomach. And yet - my husband said a very important words for me, which did not call into question the correctness of the decision. He said: "I will do everything for you, that you will fall in love with Cyprus, take it, that you will be happy and never regretted your decision." I, really, never regretted anything.
- What were your first impressions of Nicosia, where you settled? The town does not show you the provincial after Moscow?
- In Nicosia we were not right. At first, up to the birth we lived in Ayyanape live here husband's parents, relatives, here focused core business of her husband. Ayyanapa - a tiny tourist town with a population of 5 thousand people, where seven months of the year life is in full swing, and the remaining five months - the silence, and want to shout, "O people, where you ??" A week before the birth we moved to the capital of Cyprus - Lefkosia (Nicosia). 2 years we lived there as long as we do not know that soon we will have another baby.
About provincialism. I was in the only pros that I was most pleased with - is the lack of traffic jams. Oh yeah, I'm going to my hairdresser for 80 km, and it takes me 48 minutes, and my children are now studying at a school in 60 km from the house, and the road there takes exactly 30 minutes.
But we must accept the fact that Cyprus - an island with a population of a million people - not so small, 240 km from east to west and 100 km wide, but nevertheless it is an island, and this choice and abundance, to which we, the residents of cities, are accustomed to, not a priori. Therefore, the hysteria about Japanese diapers, I was not satisfied, even though they are there. In general, if you need something - the Internet forever. I'm used to all be ordered on the Internet from Europe and the UK, and this finding only advantages. If something does not like, everything can be quickly exchanged (delivery takes 2-3 days).
Elvira and her daughter at the festival of roses
The first time, I constantly compared, but then I realized that compared silly, you just accept the fact that there are so, and there - in other words, and all at once falls into place. What I really miss, and which I greatly miss - a spiritual life (theaters, museums, exhibitions, my favorite house music, etc.). But it's all vospolnimo. If we're going to London, or Athens or Moscow, or anywhere else, the first thing I tried to catch up and make our program as rich, buy advance tickets for all the planned activities.
Then I realized that, in principle, do not need any frills that can be satisfied with what we have. Life here is simple, there is no inherent pathos big cities, people live for themselves, for their own pleasure and comfort. And after a week, two-week stay in Moscow, I would like to return, although Moscow like much, but the pace of life is no longer satisfied.
- You quickly managed to make friends or even friends with the locals? They say that the Cypriots are very positive attitude to the Russian.
- To begin with, that the first time I came to Cyprus 15 years ago - my cousin had a house in Limassol, and every year we come here to relax. Therefore, with the indigenous people of Cyprus I have known for a long time. Cyprus - even my first love, the first time I came to the island of Aphrodite, I realized that it was the place where I want to live, I was physically and mentally comfortable. He stood out among all the places where I was before.
And unfamiliar Greek, and their music, so emotional, pure, sincere, they are simple and at the same time, a colorful kitchen, measured life when you live it, instead it flies past you - all this and more was such a family and close.
Therefore, I have several times a year come here often on weekends, but it was enough to recover. Cypriots - a very hospitable people, are always welcome and will welcome you as the most welcome guest. The whole range of our communication - is the indigenous people: the husband's relatives, friends, with whom he grew up, studied and worked.
With regard to relatives and acceptance and non-acceptance. Yes, I think that her husband's parents were not particularly enthusiastic that their son wants to marry a foreigner, nevertheless they accepted me, and I have never felt a prejudiced attitude to myself all this time, we have become akin, and I sincerely love them , as their own parents. They worry about us, help, rejoice, and we pay them the same. After all, every mother wants to see her child happy, and when they see the happy eyes of their son and grandchildren - what could be better. Every Sunday we try to visit our parents, and they always wait and prepare.
- What are the local specialties you more pleasing, as to what, on the contrary, it is difficult to get used to?
- Personally, I found it hard to get used to their slowness. But, when you come out of the city, where life is in full swing and every day, week painted by the minute, which is never free time, you begin to appreciate this time. And then - all power, measured, no one is in a hurry. You think, well, how is it possible! Cypriots believe that life should be fun and not in a hurry, and let the rest of the world can wait. You just have to relax and take it as a fact, it is possible, and this has its own charm.
And Cypriots - terrible gossips, this is probably a national trait. Apparently, this is explained by the limited space and insular society. On the other, they know much more than currently. Sometimes you learn so much about yourself - you wonder.
But in general this is a very friendly nation, they are hospitable and love to receive tourists, but at the same time, the share konservativatizma their behavior is present.
Cypriots - this nation that honors its traditions, they are very religious. For example, in the gardens of many Greek children start dinner with a prayer.
And the church - is the place where children go with great pleasure. We tried all the holiday services visit with children. And if you go to the regular service to the church, you will see that most of the parishioners are men. In general, the Church of Cyprus - one of the richest in Europe, and they instill spirituality since childhood.
If we turn to traditions, the two main holidays that are very important for each Cypriot family are Christmas and Easter. The Cypriot church lives in the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas is celebrated until the New Year, but the date of the celebration of Easter always coincides with ours. Christmas is usually celebrated with family and relatives, the whole clan gathers, the Christmas ham is prepared, the turkey stuffed with rice with liver and almonds, from the sweet - of course, melomakaron (shortbread cookie with orange peel, syrup soaked and sprinkled with walnut), kurabes (shortbread cookie, abundantly sprinkled with powdered sugar).
The second most important holiday is Easter, which completes Lent. As in Russia, they paint eggs, prepare Easter candles, decorate houses and bake a cheese cake - a flower. And by midnight, together with children and parents are going to church. They bring out the sacred fire, and the whole square in front of the church is lit up with numerous lights, everyone congratulates each other with the words "Christ of Anes" (Christ is Risen). The holiday lasts three days - at home, at a family table, which has a traditional Easter soup magician (liver, eggs, rice and lemon juice), but the main dish is suvla (lamb on a spit).
New Year - a more relaxing holiday, usually Cypriots go to the street, where the festivities with firecrackers, crackers and fireworks. On New Year prepared birthday cake - vasilopittu to hide inside the coin. Someone who finds a coin in the coming year will be fortunate. The cake is called in honor of St. Basil (analogue of our Santa Claus), which comes on the eve of every house to bless everyone, and leaves children gifts.
Another important feature of this nation - is nepotism. In Cyprus, there is a cult of the family and a healthy lifestyle, there is no nursing homes - because the elderly have relatives, even distant, and there is no children's homes - because there is no abandoned children.
There is almost no crime - it certainly is, but its performance is negligible. Police loyal to all visitors, and if you are stopped for speeding, they will write to you with a smile shtaf, ask where and how you relax, and you do not need than to help.
I also want to stop at Greek weddings. Many, probably, heard about them. Each parent, as far as possible, defers money for a wedding to children. Since, on average, the Cypriots have two or more children, one must try hard to save up for a great Greek wedding. On average, the wedding is invited from 1000 to 3000 people. Of course, neither the bridegroom nor the bride knows most of the guests - they are not only relatives and friends, they are neighbors, neighbors of neighbors, etc. And their weddings are boring, in my opinion, well, they can not so razguljatsya from the heart, as we (may the Cypriots forgive me). Gifts in 90% of cases are given in cash, so the amount eventually nags a decent one, this money is enough to form the first family capital and buy, for example, an apartment. I think this is very good for a young family. At our wedding, only the Russian people were walking and having fun, and the Cypriots at first looked, stamped and slapped, but at the end they also surrendered. Our wedding by local standards was modest, only 300 guests, of which 25 were from Russia.
Wedding - the birth family
On certain days of the week or the week, in every town and village holds its carnivals, celebrations and festivals. A bright festival is Apokrea. It passes it is usually in February for the 50 days before Easter, in all the towns held carnivals, but the most spectacular carnival held in Limassol, where everything, from infants and children to adults, walk in carnival costumes, everywhere can hear the music, and the whole town is immersed in an atmosphere of joy and fun.
At the end of September Ayyanape where we still live in an international festival - two days in the central square are the actors, singers, dance groups from Russia, Greece, Cyprus, and at the end of the festival - the performance of the Greek or Russian pop stars. But in the last year at this same time, several thousand people took to the streets to dance Sirtaki and "Kalinka", was attended by representatives of the Guinness Book of Records, but the record we do not beat, but it was fun and all very orderly. This year, I hope we will be able to break this record.
One festival follows another, it comes to replace the festival dedicated to the Middle Ages. And then there is a children's festival, the festival of wine, lavender festival, the festival of roses ... and beyond - a state of perpetual holiday.
Rose Festival in Agros
- Do you think that finding a job that corresponds to your level and experience, it will be difficult?
- I do not have and did not have a goal to find a job corresponding to the level and experience. I worked very hard before creating a family and children, and it was not part of my plans to work in the same mode. Yes, I was offered in local banks, but I was not interested. When the employer offers you good money and position, he expects a result from you. All in our time - I'm talking about private financial institutions - work for business and for results, and to show results - you need a lot and a lot of work, to the detriment of everything. You need to make a conscious choice - either money and career, or family and children. I chose the latter and have never regretted it so far.
I nearly five years engaged in family and children, and to me it is a thrill. But time passes, children grow up, the youngest will soon be three years, and now my reserves quietly redirected to develop their own business. Now I have some interesting commercial projects that are close to me and interesting, and in the short term, my strength will be thrown on their implementation.
- It is very interesting to learn about the upbringing and education of children in Cyprus. Your kids go to kindergarten. The Cypriot kindergarten is different from Russian?
- How is the Russian Garden of Cyprus, I will not tell because there was no such experience in Russia, but will tell you here. So, my son went to the Scarecrow garden (nursery), when he was one and a half years, the reason for that served as my pregnancy and the lack of babysitter. It was a small private English garden. Mode of operation - from morning till 8 13.30. Children can lead to 6 months to three years of age. Group - ten children and three caregiver.
In general, the English system is very nice to me, except that they do not cook, i.e. children are dining with what their parents put in a lunch box (there is a kitchen where they can warm something up), and the English without fanaticism are purity. Often, taking my child, I said to myself: God, what you look like, little pig. On it were the remains of paint or gouache, some paillettes (apparently, made appliques), the remains of food, because the children ate themselves, it does not matter what - hands, a spoon - it's important that they themselves. But at the same time the child was terribly pleased and waited for the next day, when he went to the kindergarten. And for the parent this is the most important thing.
In three years, we have translated it into Greek municipal garden (public kindergarten). There was a designed system. Group 15 people, two teachers from morning until 7 13.00. By the way, parents can choose from several options: with or without meal, with or without sleep. If the child is sleeping, until 17.00. 70% of parents choose the first option - no lunch to 13.00, sleep remain less than ten percent of all children. Perhaps in the major cities a slightly different layout, I say, as we have.
Twice a year (Christmas and June) a theatrical performance is held, in which all children participate. Everyone has his own role, and every parent comes to look at his child, and it is on the so-called "matinees" that you can meet everyone - from the mayor to the priest. Everything is very colorful, rich, with rich costumes and decorations. All groups before the beginning of the year, and the year begins somewhere 12 September, shuffle, and you do not know who will be your teacher and whether your group will have children from the previous year. This is done deliberately, so that the child can adapt to the new conditions, the same rules apply in schools.
Christmas performance in kindergarten
I also want to say a few words about the teachers. To work in a kindergarten or school is considered very prestigious, as it is civil servants, they have high salaries, good benefits package, and a lot of competition among teachers. Therefore, children are not simply love, their excessive love and spoil. They are ready to zatselovyvat children, it seems that only your child and so are distinguished among all, but no, it is simply a cult of children. I ask once Alex: "Well, how do you teacher like?" He replies: "My mother, she's the best, it's so good ... I'm sorry, but it is kinder than you ....".
- Your family is planning to move to another city for a good school in which children received. How not to be mistaken with a choice of school for his child?
- I believe that Cyprus is very well developed school system, both gosudastvrennogo and private. About 7% of GDP is spent on education. Cyprus has one of the highest rates in the EU the number of people with higher education. But higher education itself in no hurry to get Cypriots in Cyprus. About 80% receive education outside Cyprus - it is the US and Great Britain to Greece.
The education system is structured as follows:
As for us, this year the eldest son, he will be 5 years old, entered the pre-junior school American Academy in Larnaca (British education system). The school is private, considered one of the strongest schools in Cyprus, founded in 1908 year, i.е. she is more than 100 years old. This school was over by the husband almost 30 years ago. Upon admission to school, all children are interviewed, tested. The youngest daughter, she is three years old, will go there in the nursery. She was also tested. Annual education in junior school will cost the parent at 3500 euro. If there are two or more children, discounts and bonuses are given. Agree, very democratic prices. While we drive children, this is 60 km from the house and takes into account parking 35-40 minutes, for older children there are school buses.
Classes at the school in 7.30 begin and end in 13.30. After dinner usually start various additional classes. In classes not more than 10-12 people. There are groups for expats and locals, it all depends on how well you know or do not know Greek. Greek - every day in the schedule, and the basic language course, English. Teachers - either themselves British or Anglo-Cypriots. Our plan - to move to Larnaca.
Which is better, a private school or a state, it is difficult to say. There are very good private schools and good government. In their different education systems, different methods and approaches, studying in private schools for a year more. My husband's nephews are studying in public schools in Nicosia. My husband thinks that, for example, the level of mathematics teaching in the public schools is significantly higher than in private. As elsewhere, the public schools are linked to the area of residence. In good areas -Good school. It all depends on the purpose and object of the parent and child.
- How do you support the Russian language in the family?
- And how can it be otherwise? I have Russian roots, and I'm proud of it. I talk with their children only in Russian, read Russian books. Children do not accept, if I move to another language. Once or twice a year we go to Russia, they love to go to granny, for them it is a holiday. While I see no problem, then we'll see.
- Please share with us your experience of studying Greek. Where, how and how long you had been taught.
- Oh, my sick subject. I do not speak Greek at the level I want to know. I understand a lot, I can somehow explain myself, but nothing more. This is just my omission, which should catch up. The Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus organizes free-of-charge courses throughout the territory of Cyprus within the framework of the European Social Fund's co-financing project "Program for Teaching the Greek Language to Migrants and Other Non-Cypriot Citizens of Cyprus". I offer different levels of courses - and for beginners from scratch, and with advanced level. There are free public courses at open school. There are free courses from the Institute of Labor of Cyprus. There are a lot of paid courses, for example, at the RCC (Russian Cultural Center) in Nicosia. Personally, I visited free in open school, then I worked privately with a teacher.
- What places in Cyprus you seem to be the most comfortable for living, and what criteria should be guided by choosing the city?
- In this matter, I'm not an adviser, everyone, as they say, has his own. Many Russian families, moving to Cyprus, settle in Limassol, 25% of the inhabitants of this city - Russian-speaking. After the war in 1974, many Greeks from Famagusta found refuge here. To date, the city's population is about 240 thousand people. The city is very well located, is the second largest city after Lefkosia, famous for its extensive cultural traditions. Here you can live comfortably without knowing Greek and English. I call this city "the second Sochi". You walk along the embankment, and Russian speech sounds more often than any other. There are Russian schools, and gardens, and Russian children's centers, clubs, clubs.
Lefkosia (Nicosia) is the capital, a more conservative city, its main population is local people, all major state institutions, ministries, departments are concentrated here. But personally I was not comfortable living there. The fact is that the city is located on the plain, at the foot of the mountains, and there its microclimate. In the summer it is terribly hot, the temperature reaches 42-48 degrees, and in the winter frequent rains. In general, for me personally such a climate does not fit. In addition, there is no sea, and we are already accustomed to spend most of the time on the street or on the sea. Although there are much more opportunities in all aspects of life.
Larnaca - a provincial, everything is quite simple, of the downsides - no architectural concept of the city, all for some chaotic. But her most successful geographical location, it is situated on the coast in the distance equivalent to all cities. Here is the main airport in Cyprus.
But my favorite city - Paphos is very green, constructive and more conservative. Its like the Germans and the British, and more recently the Chinese have begun to actively buy property in the area. There would be an opportunity, I would live here. In Paphos we live relatives of the husband and grandmother, she is already 98 years, so we periodically to inquire.
Rock of Aphrodite. According to legend, this is where Aphrodite came ashore
- Living in Cyprus is associated with a perpetual holiday, vacation. And even more so - after your description of all great festivals, holidays, warm attitude to children. And yet - to the need to prepare some difficulties, moving here for permanent residence? Give pozhaluystva, a few tips for those who want to immigrate to Cyprus.
- When I came here as a tourist, I also thought that people live in a constant state of celebration - songs, dances, music, bars, discos, bouzouki ...
With regard to the difficulties. Of course, moving to Cyprus for many Russians is a very attractive prospect for many parameters (climate, political, no bustle, traffic jams, measured life, level of education and safety, etc.). Cyprus authorities are making good preferences to create a favorable climate for investment. And according to my personal observations, the flow of immigrants from Russia and Ukraine increases exponentially, even with the growth of the life of the euro in Cyprus is not getting cheaper.
In my opinion, the first difficult moment, which may face the Russians, is to ensure that its legal position. In order to legally reside in Cyprus, you must obtain a residence permit, the so-called Pink Slip. It may be several species, all envy on what status you are in the country. At the same time you must not leave the territory of Cyprus for a period of more than 90 days in a row.
Further, if you have lived here for more than five years, you can issue a permanent residence permit. It is issued to 5 years and must be renewed. Well, get a passport - theoretically, of course, possible, but in practice such cases, I do not know, except through the investment (purchase of real estate, business, etc.) in the amount of EUR six zeros.
Another difficult challenge may be the Cyprus winter. Surely many believe that Cyprus - the island is a permanent heat, sun and sea. But it is not so. Yes, winter is mild enough Cyprus, in December the thermometer stands at around + 15 degree, but from mid-January to March come the cold wind and rain, and at night the temperature can drop to + 5. The street becomes damp and chilly. Moreover, Cyprus is no central heating in the winter and most people heated with electric oil heater or air conditioning, but this is not enough.
Moreover, the price of electricity on the island - one of the highest in Europe, and this too must be ready. For example, when we lived in an apartment in Nicosia, in the winter, our electricity costs were 1000-1500 2 euros per month (billed every month 2). However, we have been enabled to clock heated floors throughout the apartment, it was warm, comfortable, but expensive.
Hot water is heated by solar panels, but when the summer sun is enough, the winter there. Therefore, you need to connect the pre-heated water. In general, all this is not cheap. Many put stationary boiler boilers running on gas, it is much cheaper electricity.
The third problem may be the problem of employment. Citizens of EU member states can work in Cyprus. Citizens of other countries, including Russia, must obtain a work permit. Such a permit is issued for a specific position with a particular employer for a specific period. Without a residence permit with the right to work, you can not even get a job as a waiter. No employer will take such a risk, because there are a lot of immigrants from Romania, Bulgaria, the Baltic countries, who have no problems with this. And I must say that the migration services in Cyprus are closely following this.
But if you just want some time to live here and relax, then Cyprus will tell you are always Welcome!
The article contains a photo from the personal archive of Elvira
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