Patrick Brigham moved from London and is living in Rizia 68014 Northern Greece.
1. Why did you move abroad?
I moved to Bulgaria first, in order to open a branch of a well known London firm of Commercial Estate Agents, which came to nothing, but I stayed, started my own private agency, and then branched into the GSM market, as a major site acquisition agent.
2. How do you make a living?
I am semi retired these days, but I am the author of some four published works, and a murder mystery writer.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
Weekly on Skype and of course by email; telephones have lost their appeal for most of us, I think!
4. What's your favourite thing about being an expat in Greece?
Despite the headlines, Greece is easy to live in, and Greeks are kind and hospitable Of all the Balkan nations, Greece is by far the most civilized, and people tend to leave you alone.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Greece?
The language can be a challenge, but 70% of Greeks speak a foreign language, usually English with varying degrees of proficiency.
6. What do you miss most?
When you have lived abroad for as long as me, you don’t tend to miss much except Marmite and Branston pickle,
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate into your new home?
I am a writer and fairly solitary and so meeting people is a secondary consideration. Most of the locals here are simple farmers and so their topics of conversation are somewhat limited. I know the local doctor and school teacher and chat to them, but there are few expats in this part of the world, my local name here is The Englishman!
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
The worship of priests, the observance of public holidays, and Having two Easters. I am especially baffled by so many add-on costs, attached to my electricity bill.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That’s what Greece is famous for, and there are a lot of them.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is about the same as Bulgaria and Turkey, both only 30 minutes away, so there is no shortage of cigarettes and cheap booze.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
Most expats need a support group in their choice of foreign countries. Greece can provide that in the big cities, but not so much in these northern provincial areas, which are largely family oriented. Here, weekends are for family, and friends are for café life.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
During my stay in Bulgaria, I started a monthly magazine in English, called The Sofia Western News and due to this and other writing considerations, having a blog was a natural extension. The Balkan Blog covers many issues – politics, writing, journalism - and I am presently on my 90th blog. I also have a website and an authors site: http://AuthorPatrickBrigham.com
Patrick's Blog, The Balkan Blog
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