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Life, work and education of children in Cyprus

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 naturally 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 a career at the forefront, just trying to perform well their work, possibly professionally, so I did not think - I leave or stay, it was easy to make this decision, and I was ready for it. However, for a long time wept when he left, I was terribly sorry to leave his team, it's 10 years. And yet, I could not leave everything like that, I had a big responsibility to the team, I wanted to provide them with a comfortable working environment, so 7 months of my pregnancy I was working, we had to catch a lot. My husband flew every month. In general, I was away from Russia with a light heart and a heavy stomach. And yet - my husband said to me very important words that do not put into question the correctness of the decision. He said: "I will do to you all that you fell in love with Cyprus, take it out to you to be happy, and never regretted his decision." I really never nothing to regret.

- 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.

Live by the Cypriot - to live with pleasure

- 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 the family and acceptance and rejection. Yes, I think my husband's parents were not much enthusiasm, that their son wanted to marry a foreigner, yet they accepted me, and I have never in all that time did not feel prejudice against ourselves, we are to stick, and I truly love them as their natural parents. They worry about us, help, happy, and we pay them the same. After all, every mother wants to see her child happy, and when they see the happy eyes of her son and grandchildren - what could be better. Every Sunday, we try to visit their parents, and they are always waiting and ready.

- 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 the transition to the traditions, the two main holiday is very important for every Cypriot family - this is Christmas and Easter. Cyprus church lives, etc. to the Gregorian calendar, so Christmas is celebrated until the New Year, but the date of the celebration of Easter is always the same as ours. Christmas is usually celebrated with family and relatives, going to the whole clan, prepare Christmas ham, turkey stuffed with rice with liver and almonds, sweet - certainly melomakarono (shortbread cookies with orange peel, soaked in syrup and topped with walnuts) kurabes (shortbread, topped generously with powdered sugar).

The second most important holiday - Easter, which completes Lent. As in Russia, painted eggs cooked Easter candle, decorate the house and bake cheesecake - flaune. And at midnight, with the children and their parents gathered in the church. Endure the sacred fire, and the entire area in front of the church is illuminated by numerous lights all congratulate each other with the words "Christos Anesti" (Christ is Risen). The holiday lasts three days - at home, at the family table, where there is traditional Easter soup magiritsa (liver, eggs, rice and lemon juice), but the main dish becomes Suvli (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 the Greek weddings. Many probably heard about them. Every parent, to the extent of its possibilities, to save money for the wedding of the children. Because the average of two Cypriots or more children, you have to work hard to save up for a big Greek wedding. The average wedding invite from the 1000 3000 to people. Of course, neither the groom nor the bride does not know most of the guests - it's not just family and friends, it is the neighbors, the neighbors of neighbors, etc. And the wedding they are boring, in my opinion, well, because they can not roam from the soul, as we (forgive me Cypriots). Gifts in 90% of cases presented with money, so the amount of ultimately nabigaet decent, this money is enough to form the first family capital and buy, for example, an apartment. I think it's pretty good for a young family. On our wedding and had fun walking only the Russian people, and at first looked Cypriots, clapping and stamping his, but in the end they surrendered. Our wedding by local standards was modest, only 300 guests, including 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

Choose between career and family

- Do you think that finding a job that corresponds to your level and experience, it will be difficult?

- I do not have a purpose to find a job corresponding to the level and experience. I worked very hard to create a family and children, and work in the same mode was not and is not part of my plans. Yes, I have done deals with local banks, but I was not interested. When an employer offers you a lot of money and position, he is waiting for the result from you. All of our time - I'm talking about private financial institutions - are working on the business and the result, and to show the result - you need lots and lots of work to the detriment of the whole. We must make a conscious choice - either money and career, a family and children. I chose the latter and still have never regretted it.

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.

The Cypriot education in British manners

- 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 I very pretty, except that they are not prepared, that Children dine that parents put in the lunch-box (there is a kitchen where you can make a warm up), and the British without fanaticism are clean. Often, taking their child, I said to myself: God, who you look like a little pig. On it were the remains of paint or gouache, some sequins (probably made applications), the remains of food, because the children ate themselves, no matter what - your hands, a spoon - it is important that ourselves. But this child was terribly pleased, and waited for the next day, when he goes to kindergarten. And for parents 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) performed a theatrical performance, in which all children. Everyone - his own role, and every parent comes to look at their child, and that is the so-called "matinees" can be found all - from the mayor to the priest. It's very colorful and rich, 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 you will be in your group of children from the previous year. This is done intentionally, so the child can adapt to 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:

  • kindergarten (the year before the school is required to visit) 3 - 5,5 / 6 years
  • Elementary School 5.5 / 6 - 12 years
  • lower secondary school 12-15 years
  • Higher Secondary School 15-18 years
  • School of 18-23 years

As for us, but this year the eldest son, he will 5 years, enrolled in the pre-junior school American Academy in Larnaca (British education system). Private school, is considered one of the strongest schools in Cyprus, founded in 1908 year, ie her more 100 years. This school was finishing my husband almost 30 years ago. On admission to the school, all children are interviewed, testing. The younger daughter, her three years to go to the same nursery. She, too, was tested. Annual education in junior school will cost in the parent 3500 euros. If you have two or more children receive discounts and bonuses. Agree, very reasonable prices. While we otvozim children is 60 km from the house and takes into account a parking 35-40 minutes for older children have 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 theme. I do not speak the Greek language on the level at which I would like him to know. I understand a lot, I like to explain something, but not much else. This is only my omission that should catch. The Ministry of Education and Culture organizes annually throughout Cyprus free courses within sofinsirovaniya European Social Fund Project "program of teaching the Greek language to migrants and other foreign-language residents of Cyprus." We offer different levels of courses - for beginners, and advanced level. There are free public courses at the open school. There are free courses from the Institute of Labour of Cyprus. There are many fee-based courses, such as RCC (Russian Cultural Center) in Nicosia. Personally, I attended free in the open school, then worked in private with the teacher.

Which city choose to live?

- 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 regard, I am not an adviser, to everyone, as they say, the. Many Russian families moved to Cyprus, settle in Limassol, 25% of residents of the city - rucskogovoryaschie. After the war, many Greeks 1974 to Famagusta found refuge here. Today the city's population is about 240 thousand. Human. The city is very well located, it is the second largest city after Lefkosia, known for its extensive cultural traditions. Here you can live comfortably without knowing Greek and English. I call this city "a second Sochi". You walk along the waterfront, and Russian is spoken more often than any other. Here there is a Russian school, and gardens, and Russian children's centers, clubs and societies.

Lefkosia (Nicosia) - the capital, a more conservative city, its main population - locals here are concentrated all major public institutions, ministries, departments. But personally, I was not comfortable to live there. The fact that the city is located on a plain at the foot of the mountains, and there is a microclimate. Terribly hot summer, the temperature reaches 42-48 degrees and frequent rains in winter. In general, for me personally, such a climate is not suitable. In addition, there is no sea, and we have already got used to spend most of their time on the street or on the sea. Although it is possible in all aspects of life there is much more.

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

And some of the difficulties

- 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.

Cyprus winter

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.

A 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. This permit is issued for a specific job with a specific employer for a specified period. Without a residence permit with the right to work, you can not even get a job as a waiter. No employer would take such a risk, because a lot of immigrants from Romania, Bulgaria, the Baltic countries, which do not have a problem with it. And I must say that the migration service in Cyprus for this carefully monitored.

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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