Saturday, December 26, 2015

So this is Christmas... and what have you done?

Christmas 2010 with my son, nephews and niece
Time flies...
I keep looking at pictures from the past, when my parents were still with us, when Giannis was just a little kid, when I was till trying to find our who I was...
Times like this, I can't help wondering if I was ever happy, if I used to have everything and now I don't...
The answer is negative. I didn't have everything, I was just going with the flow....
It's been some years now that I try to find myself...
Have I changed so much?
Yes, I have...
I am not the weak-willed person I used to be. I don't go with the flow anymore, I do have my own ways, whether people like it or not.
And I am alone.... although I am among hundreds of people I am alone...
Holidays are harder to get through....
A lot of things changed over the years... I have no parents to help me anymore, I have the responsibility of supporting my own home... Too scared to miss work, too scared not to spend time with my kid....
Lots of stress, nobody is actually there for me.... periods of depression... periods of ugly outbursts... why me?
It's not only me.... there are a lot of people struggling to make a living, lots of people who are in a lot worse situation than my own...
When you feel bad though, you don't actually care about other unknown people... you just feel how you feel... I don't know how to describe it... there are times of darkness. Nobody can help. You are just in a bad mood...
Holidays are really a bad time...
And  although I am around so many people, I just can't help it...

December 26th is always the traditional family gathering...
It's just me and the others....
The only consolation is the kids... So glad that everybody is growing to be healthy young people going their own way...
Lina my niece is studying to be a kindergarten teacher

The tall person over there is my nephew Antonis, who has already a contract at a big football team!! And yes I am getting shorter day by day!!!
Sometimes I realize how far I have come and I am glad with myself, but some days are really hard...
So this is Christmas... One more holiday has come to an end...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Vacation... At last!

I never thought I would actually say that I need the time off, but there is the first time for everything I guess!

Don't get me wrong! I love my job! I love all my jobs actually. Creating content, being an educational consultant, office work, teaching, translations... Give me more!! I love being creative, I love feeling useful.
Unfortunately, working 13 hours a day without weekends off for almost a year has really exhausted me both physically and mentally.
So just before Christmas this year, a big decision was made. After my exam students took their exam and stopped lessons, I did not take up any more. I have not stopped teaching, but teaching 5 hours after an 8-hour office job has really worn me off. I had no time to see my kid, no time for myself, I just woke up, did some housework, went to the office, taught my kids and went back to sleep.

I believe that in order for us to be productive,  we should have some time for ourselves as well. Especially people who use their minds to work!!!

So after this realization and crucial decision, my time off came!!

Gym time !
Pilates studio! First time in my life!

Last spin of the year!


A wonderful karaoke night out with my colleagues....
IT girls and me (BWT I think that the new IT department rocks!)

Sophia and I sang 'Should I stay or Should I go!!' - Rocking all the way!

Dimos will be missed! Good luck in Denmark!!!


And a night out with Helena to see a wonderful performance by my little man (I have to stop calling him like that honestly)

Helena is the closest person I have to a sister! Luv ya!
video
                                         Part of Giannis' performance!

A chance to see friends who live abroad...
It's a tradition to go out for beer every time Maria comes home ....
Same place, same delicacies, never bored!!


A weekend in Athens...
Theo and myself at the gym!!! I think he is the king of synchronization!! LOL!

Christina, Theo and myself at the music tavern Foteini suggested!!

A big thank you to Nena who gave us access to her gym!! Body Combat and Sh'bam rock btw!!!

My Athenian sis Christina!! It's always wonderful to be with you gal!

video
                             (Warm up - I get to be better after the first choreography!!)

I also decorated the tree with the little man ( who is not so little) without throwing it of of the window this year....
My real identity is an elf!!!

One of the rare times he actually does something with me... They grow up so fast....
And lots of sleep, coffee and writing!!! (a surprise for next year!!!)
I have to say that I can't help but feel a bit blue as well during the festive time... I miss my parents, it's not like we have a Xmas feast like most people do since we lost them....
Trying to work out some things over here... but this belongs to my New Year's Resolutions and probably this will be another post!
A Xmas day post will follow soon!!

Can't wait to get back to work.... batteries full!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Counting the days....

I am not counting the days to Christmas. I am not counting the days to Athens...
Counting the days to my students exams. This time I can feel it...
Due to my current job, I could not take up new students. But I wanted to be fair to the people I had already taught these previous years and not let them go in their final year (or in my case, months).
Don't get me wrong. I love my job, both at the office and teaching, but...
Working 13 hours a day non stop for almost a year is really affecting me negatively lately.
It seems that all I do is wake up at 6.30am, cook, clean, go to work at 9, teach afterwards and go home late at night. Whenever I find the chance to actually sit on a couch, I fall asleep.
And although I have been able to support my family, I have no time for myself, no time for my kid. I just work. I try to be efficient at my work. I know that I am doing my best to be efficient. And it works.
But is that life?
I do believe I am a workaholic. I would never live without working. I would probably get crazy. But there comes a time when you just need the time off. A day when you say I have nothing to do. I can sit on the couch all day watching TV or go out for a run with my kid or have lunch in a tavern with my family or go our for a beer with a friend and not think about what I have to do in the afternoon.
I know it was my choice - or maybe it was not a choice, it was a necessity if you consider my family's situation.
But I get jealous.
I get jealous when I see people going out for coffee in the afternoon.
I get jealous when I seen couples going out for walks holding hands.
I get jealous when I see kids with their parents on bikes being happy.
I get jealous when I hear friends making travel plans.
I get jealous when I hear that somebody had a great time partying last night.

My only entertainment lately is one hour a week doing power yoga ( coming from a person who practically lived at the gym a couple of yeas ago)
And creating choreographies for my spinning while I am walking to my lessons, listening to music. I don't know if I will ever use these choreographies or songs. The dream of working as an instructor is a distant one at the moment. I just find joy in this. It is a bit dangerous though, since I am not paying any attention crossing the street (yesterday I almost got hit by a car!!!)
I am not complaining. I have just reached my limits.
I am lucky to have a steady job. I am lucky to be recognized for my work.
I have to work on the quality of my life though.
Create moments for my kid.
Devote time to my inner balance.
Follow the dreams I once had and got forgotten.
I don't really need a New Year's Resolution list this year. Only one decision is enough:
FIND BALANCE

 



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Social media and me...

I was about 11-12 years old when I started communicating with people around the world. There was this TV show showing the lives of kids around the world and you could send them your name and address and they connected you with another kid from another corner of the world! My first pen pal was Marnie from the States. I continued writing letters and exchanging pictures, postcards and little presents with people from literally everywhere.
When I was 15-16, I discovered cable TV - I watched Nino Firetto reading letters from fans asking for songs, showing pictures (I was actually one of the first people from Greece to ask to send a letter to this British channel and ask for a song) and I wanted to have a place where I could put up pictures and thoughts were everybody could see. Communication was (and still is) a very important part of my life from a very young age. I mean I was ready for Facebook, Instagram, Blogger before they were even invented yet! I think that if I had the technical knowledge, I could have invented them somehow (and be rich LOL!!)
So I found Blogger and started writing, sharing thoughts, work...
And Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr and lots more social media...
And I have started posting... without stopping...
I have made new friends with the same interests, I shared my thoughts, my lessons, my work, my pictures, my life... Everything I ever wanted since the age of 12, I had found it.

Social media have helped me a lot with my work, since a lot of people can see what I do. Meeting the right people sometimes can take you far. If you have the qualifications as well, of course.

But I am not only my work...

Some people choose to use social media for work only and this is good - as a current employee I do help as well promoting the business I am in, but... am I only this?

Yes I do have a great time at work and sometimes I do want to show this with a picture!
And as a freelance teacher I do want to show my students' work!
And yes as a mother I do want to share my kid's achievements, not to show off, but to express my happiness.

But still, I am not only this.
I have multiple interests...
The gym is second home for me.
Spinning could be a profession if I had set my mind to it earlier. (still thinking about it though)
Music and spin - choreographies are my passion.
Healthy nutrition and exercise is something very important to me!
I love coffee.
I love reading fairy tales - I have a huge collection at home!
And crime stories - huge collection over there as well.
I love Athens - I try to discover new corners of this city every time I am around!
I love spending time with friends and taking pictures of the wonderful moments!
I love taking pictures in general. Bad pictures and great pictures! (I don't really care if I look good in them or not!)
I do all this plus 8 hours at the office, 3-4 hours lessons, training, household and motherhood, everyday...
And yes, I'd like to share this.

Some people think I post too much on Facebook and other social media.
And maybe this is too much for them. Because they do not actually want to know me. They have this stereotype image of a person and they think I have to be like that. Because everybody else IS like that. And even if they are bothered with the coffee-pics or the gym-pics I post, they do not press the unfolllow or the unfriend button, they are just there to criticize.

I am really sad that I had to close my wall.
Still here posting lots of thoughts and the pictures you will find on Instagram!
Take care!




Sunday, October 25, 2015

#zentime Sunday coffee

For some people, it may seem natural to get their friends, family, partners on Sunday morning and have coffee somewhere nice.
In my country this happens a lot, not only on Sundays, but every day.
Well, me... I never have time...
I never have time because I always have to work (at the office, lessons, studying, housework, work with kid) and I usually have lessons or translations on the weekends, so Sunday coffee bye bye!!!
Being a 5-day-"weekend" in my hometown  and since most of my students are on trips with their families, gave me the chance to unwind in my favourite cafe...
I even got a newspaper (Yes, they still exist!!!)
Strolling on the seafront with views like these... you can help but feel calm... (no matter what)

Have a nice Sunday everybody!



Monday, October 19, 2015

Day off


When you say to somebody that you are taking the day off, they think that you just wake up late, relax, spend endless hours having coffee not having a care in the world!
When I usually take a day off, this is because I have to do something that cannot be done outside office hours, like a doctor's appointment or stuff with public services. And I really can't understand why public services work the hours they do, since all the people who actually need something from them are actually working, so they have to take the day of to do something for work although the day off is meant to be "not work"... But anyway...
What I usually do on my days off?
  • Clean, laundry, iron, bake, cook (things that I usually do after midnight)
  • Spend as much time I want in the bathroom (nobody's home in the morning anyway)
  • Go to the gym (not #afterhours for a change)
  • Write on my blog (that's what I'm doing right now)
  • Buy groceries (food in general). If I don't go, fridge remains empty - the other people in the house do not do that and prefer to order junk food every single day.
  • Prepare lessons, read blogs, get new ideas.
  • Teach (because this is considered free time activity by certain people!!!!)
All in all I would like to say that I am glad that I don't get many days off. I might get tired at the office and teaching afterwards, but my day is full with things I want to to.
I don't understand the people who just stay on the couch doing nothing. I really don't know what I would do to keep my sanity if I were like this!!!
Have a nice week people!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

#zen time : bodyART

Day off today and no lessons last night.
I devoted some time for a "yogish" class. bodyArt is based on Yoga - reminds Power Yoga and Body Balance (Les Mills). It has to do with balance, strength and concentration.
I have to say that I really enjoy it. The exercises are not so simple and you need a lot of coordination and strength and concentration and still I don't think I have managed the right technique, yet, although I have been taking part in yoga and Body Balance classes and private lessons for more than 7 years now.

But it's not only about the exercise. The magic effect of this class is that it actually clears your head. You use your negative energy to find the power to do the exercises and than on the cool down phase, you just feel lighter. (and really sore the next day, but anyway!! LOL)
My Greek blog with interviews about bodyArt over here.

More #zentime coming up!
 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Tumbling.....


It's been a while.
It seems that when this time comes, I never have time to write.
I never have time for myself as it is.
I am not going to complain.
Other people don't have jobs, other people can't survive.
I have the luck to be able to support my home. I am the only one to support my home btw.
I have the luck to work at a successful company. One of the few in Greece.
I have the luck to still have students who trust me.
But I can't help wondering...
When do I get time for myself?
I have started to get tired.
I did not go on holiday this summer. All I did was a couple of weekends.
I really love these little getaways, but still, this is not enough.

On the other hand, having a lot of days off brings a very negative effect on me.
After a good day of sleep and the frenzy of housework (yes when on holiday I have to clean and wash everything!!). Then I get swallowed by the couch doing nothing in a state of a semi-coma until the time comes back to get to work.
I guess this is the definition for the term "work-o-holic"!!!!

But I feel that I am burning out. And it's not my job, it's not my teaching.... it's the fact that don't actually "live" lately. I need balance.

Last year I created a "small-goal- list" with things I wanted to do, mostly professionally. I was lucky enough to fulfill most of my goals.
This year I'm gonna try and do things that have a real meaning and make me feel good and blog about them.
It doesn't have to be every day. Just another goal.
#feelgood #selfcompassion #be me

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer Adventures: Staycation Day 4 + Blog & photo challenges!

The last one... at last!!
A really lazy wake up playing silly games on Facebook, while drinking coffee. These games have saved my life all the summers that I had not been working. Back then there were a lot more, right now I have kept only a couple, when I am home and I want to clear my head...
So I combine two things I like: music and crime (no I am not committing any crime, I just like to solve them !!!)

Song pop is great to play with friends and laugh about the mistakes you made or talk about the songs and what they remind you of...
Maybe I 'll "blog- challenge" myself again and post one song a day with its story.... Good idea? We'll see...
Criminal Case is an observation game - finding objects, solving mysteries....
But enough about the games.
Today was dedicated to the gym and to the kid...
Went to a new gym with the kid who is thinking of quitting kick box and start building his body. I guess it's a good thing. I mean although Kick boxing has killer workouts, I was a bit concerned when the kid has games and has to beat the opponent up. It did build his character and his discipline and his attitude and will never be a bullying victim, but still, the couch insisting on him playing on national level was something I did not like!
We haven't decided, yet. I do trust the gym I took him to - I know that the owner knows a lot of things, he keeps learning and studying and also my friend and ex-personal trainer works there and she is going to keep an eye on him....
So, I spend most of the day with the kid, we had lunch together (I cooked 2 dishes, no 3), watched Hercules and Xena reruns and we had an English lesson together (had to actually, since we have to catch up)
I am really enjoying these moments, I don't see him much lately.
Being a working mum has always made the difference, but now he is a teen and he'd rather spend time with his friends and that makes it more difficult for me to spend time with him.

So the kid is out with his friends - time for me to go to the gym which opens today from their summer holiday!
I chose the bars- lesson.... Tomorrow - if I can move - I'll go to my favourite spinning...

I think I have started to shape up a bit... I have 10 pounds more to go, but I have to try a bit more to "sculpture" it the way I want it....
So I challenged myself - 30 days of gym every single day and when I reach my goal, at least 3 times a week!!! I've set myself a SMILE/ SMART Goal I guess!!! LOL

Another blog/photo/ doing good to myself challenge I read and I am definitely taking part is the #30daysofselfiecare challenge 
I am not doing the whole list, but I think I will do at least one thing that will have a positive affect on myself.  

And with all this... this was my last day of Staycation.... Tomorrow back to work and also starting with some lessons....
No I won't be able to write every day....I guess I have to set another SMART / SMILE Goals to write at least once a week!!
Take care people! Until we meet again!! 





Sunday, August 16, 2015

Summer adventures: Staycation: Day 3

Day started really calm - I've spent 2-3 hours reading my book. It's the first time in years that I actually enjoyed doing nothing - well I wasn't actually doing nothing, I was reading, but it's not moving....
After this peaceful moment, day went like hell - I am in a high whining mood and I find everything wrong - everybody is to blame....
It's one of those days I guess...
Day continued with a trip to Mihaniona for coffee. Passed through Peraia and N. Epivates to actually see that people were swimming in the (dirty sea) - Reminded me a scene of the '70's when our parents used to drag us over there and I used to get all these kinds of allergies and infections from the polluted water....
After a walk near the boats in the burning sun, had a coffee over there while I was getting on everybody's nerves...


Mihaniona has not changed at all! I remember years ago I was working at a language school over there and then I was about to buy it. Glad that I didn't - first of all people in villages prefer to go to their "own" schools - everybody's got a cousin, an aunt. etc - I was going to spend too much money on a risky business, plus I would have to move over there...
Having my own language school was actually one of my big dreams for many years, since I graduated from university. I had a lot of chances to do it, but I never risked. I don't know why. Maybe if I had, things would be different right now.
As the years went by, I developed different interests, not that I gave up teaching, I never will, I love my job. But I don't think I would be a good business woman for some reason. Not as a language school owner I guess.
Lost one more pound btw, but looking at my picture I know I have to try more - I am not happy with myself and I feel really bad that I allowed myself to become like this.
I had accomplished such a success a couple of years ago and I have ruined everything because I am not disciplined enough to keep a regular nutrition plan. And now I am trying and I am trying. Lost 7 pounds in 3 weeks and I have 10 more to go or 11...
Starting a regular exercise routine from tomorrow - gym opens again - I promise I will not lose myself again...



The rest of the day found me cleaning, ironing, washing - I washed the garbage bin! And the balcony...
Something is wrong with me....
One more day and then back to work.... At last!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Summer adventures: Staycation Day 2

Woke up really early to give the kid his medicine and could not sleep more afterwards. I was engrossed in my book for a couple of hours - serial killers - psychological problems - some wise words in the middle... Hopefully I will finish it before I get back to work.
"Most of us don't live in the present tense. We dwell in a mental place where our regrets and grudges from our past compete with out fears about the future"
Today it's a big celebration in Greece - it's like he Easter of the summer, the day of Virgin Mary, a lot of people celebrate their name days, almost half the population in Greece. So I spend about an hour writing wishes and making phone calls.  I am sure I am forgetting somebody, I always do, but then again, very few people remember my name day, so I'm ok....

Although it was a holiday, I had to do the laundry twice, ironing, cleaning the bathroom - took out the trash, changed the bed-sheets ( It's really annoying because if I don't do that, nobody else does... I mean the trash could stay days inside if I actually don't do it.....)
So after all the hard work, we decided to go downtown for a coffee.
Aristotelous - Hernest

And a stroll till the port and back - poor me - I decided to wear a dress today, but did not think of the sun!!
Yes, I got sun-burnt - and sun-stroke at the same time!  The dress ... not a good idea... Not feeling comfortable. Still a lot of shaping up to do before I go out to the public in a dress!!!
Continued with lunch at "grandma's" - well to tell the truth I avoid going over there, because I get criticized a LOT! I mean I am NOT a good housewife and for her this is what matters - culture, studies - work are words that a "woman" should never do. I mean work and money yes, but not allowed to actually like what I do. Food is the only thing important in the world!! I really hate not being able to talk back ( not into fights with older people)
I do have to admit that she does cook well, though... The others ate - I just had a grilled burger (just meat) and salad and a couple of glasses of retsina (that's how much I am allowed to drink in a week)
No cheat day for me - although it IS a holiday!

Back home with more laundry, more cleaning and washing (because I cannot stand still)
Today's workout was Zumba for about 45minutes
I discovered a wonderful instructor called Saer Jose, who is actually located in Athens, but has his own YouTube channel with lots and lots of choreographies.




Can't wait to start going to the gym again... Endorphin's on its way!!!
To be continued!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Summer adventures: Staycation Day 1


"Staycation" is a term that my friend Christina is using, when she has a vacation but stays in town anyway.
To tell you the truth I don't see the point of taking time off if you don't have to go anywhere.
On the other hand, I have reached my limits. I have worked all summer long full time, did not get any rest at all and a really difficult winter is ahead. Working full-time has its joys, but working more than 13 hours a day (since I can't desert my existing students) has exhausted me.
The thing is that I am such a workaholic and I cannot really enjoy laziness. I stayed on my couch yesterday evening from the time I got home from the office, slept at 21.15 and woke up really sore - back and legs hurting (because these days I all I do is sit on a chair at the office in front of a computer at work).
So after a lot of effort, I got out of my couch to do some housework!

Too much ironing, cleaning, washing, shopping for groceries and everything real housewives do ( I wish I had somebody to help me out with the housework, when I am at home not working, I spend the day "working" at home!!)
After the "boring stuff", I decided it was time for a workout - I chose a video from the ones my ex-personal trainer  is making (he has a fancy channel on youtube and although he speaks only to "celebrities" right now and not to simple people, I find his advice useful, when I get the chance to watch)
So the workout I chose was really simple. It consisted if 3 sets of exercises (20-14-9 repeats)
  • squats
  • push ups
  • jacks
  • crunches
  • dead lift (without weight)
  • lower abs exercise
  • stair run
  • mountain climbers
It takes about half an hour and it's great for the core and abs - but I sweated all over! I mean I have got "unused" to it after so much time! The thing is - my legs got "unsore" and that's something!
Another nice thing I got today today is have lunch on a real plate (not the plastic bowls I use at work) with my son!!!
It's been a while since we last ate together! It has been a difficult week for him being sick with high fever in the middle of the summer. But everything's ok now and I hope I can spend some time with him (again being a teenager means he wants to spend time with his friends and not with his mum!)

Truth is I wasn't able to stay away from the computer - opened some e-mails from work and answered them - did some research, read about an interesting project and started making plans, started making plans for my students this year...
After all... it's raining guys...
Thinking of continuing the book I had chosen for the beach ... seems I am not going anywhere near the sea this summer anyway....


Starting to get annoyed with people posting pictures of the beach, coffees and cocktails from their holiday - I know I had been doing it too in the past years but I makes me wonder - don't these people have to go to work some time?? I mean, it is acceptable to be away for a week, 10 days, even 2 weeks ... but the WHOLE summer?? Mercy!!!

To be continued...