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'My Own Travels'

From ‘no home’ to ‘two homes’…gradually finding ‘home’ inside

September 5th, 20083 Comments  

It was 5th September 2001 when i first arrived to the UK, it is 7 years ago like today that i flew from Athens to Manchester and took my first ‘step’ on the new land and the whole new journey of my life…here i am with the magic number 7 again, it feels as if a cycle gets complete and a new beginning is being made; in that, i find a significant inner process taking place in terms of my relationship with my original and host cultures and the sense of ‘home’ inside…One of the most challenging feelings I have been struggling with since i emigrated has been the sense of non-belonging anywhere, an awkward feeling of alienation towards my original culture, Greece and a draining feeling of battle around what i have been feeling that the host british culture has provoked in me as a result of finding myself in a ‘foreign land’.  It is a long time now now that i have been talking around both the positive and difficult aspects of the experience of moving between cultures, without actually finding peace within them. But now, it is such a feeling of relief  to be realising that, actually, something has changed…and i see that this is a result of undertaking this PhD project where i have neen wrestling for so long with this very phenomenon of the impact of immigration on identity (and having the counselling/psychotherapy perspective to be giving me a frame towards discovering a meaningful narrative around it) … Read more »

My report for the Indian conference to be published soon!

March 6th, 2008No Comments  

How exciting it is to see one’s writing in print! The editor from Thresholds journal emailed me today with the pdf of my publication which will be out soon…it is my reflexive report for the conference in India during January, titled: “Namaste: Spirituality and Cultue meet in Bangalore”. I really enjoyed writing this piece and i also love the photos that Chris chose to publish alongside my paper. This trip and conference offered me so much insight around spirituality anc culture, as related to my personal path but also my counselling PhD study. I am looking forward to see the response from the readers, am sure that my supervisor and fellow travellers from the PhD team will also be as excited! NAMASTE is now my favourite, soulful greeting…

weekend in ‘BLondon’

March 4th, 2008No Comments  

I came back from a weekend in London and i have to say that i was left with many reflections around ‘culture’. We had this joke between me and my friend that the city shall be really called BLONDON, due to the ammount of blonde women we saw there, it was as if the whole Eastern Europe has immigrated! London feels like a different country, as if its not UK, you hardly hear any english on the streets and the variety of races and ethnicities encountered is phenomenal…there was a sense of inner freedon in all that, sth that i have felt on other occasions around the experience of being an immigrant myself in a country with so much diversity. I feel that my attention and awareness around culture and identity are heightened due to this PhD topic that i am working on…i was recently saying to my supervisor that i feel my eyes getting bigger and bigger, as if my vision expands around what culture is and how it affects and relates to our sense of being that sometimes i want to close them down, to stop seeing, it is as if it nearely hurts. When in london, i was also aware of the matter around sub-cultures in the same country…the urban as opposed to the rural, the crowded as opposed to the serene…and mainly, the fact that the ammount of nationalities that live in london is so big that itis like a miniature of the globe….this is so different to Athens, for example, where i grew up….when i am travelling to Athens now, after living in the UK, i feel like going to a village, although it is a capital city of 5 million population. i guess this also related to the different mentality, although things are changing indeed, maybe in ways that my awareness cannot even realise or hold as yet. There is less tolerance around self-exppression in Greece. On the other hand, there is more warmth amongst people, or certain ‘restrictions’ keep things more safe…so much to reflect on really, will let it rest for now

old neighbourhoods…the meaning of ‘place’

November 30th, 2007No Comments  

am up in Durham/Newcastle to conduct a few research interviews. am aware of feelig emotional being here, this place was the gateway to my immersion to the british culture. O completed teh most important part of my counselling training up here and gained a lot of practice experience…it feels as if i was ‘formed’ in this place, at least as a counsellor – there are many personal memories related to this location of course. I remember when i was living in Durham that i had a sense that maybe i was born here (in a past life! the scenery has nothing to do with my greek homeland landscape, neither has the culture)…am wondering around the MEANING OF PLACE…as related to identity, culture, sense of at home-ness. I can see that PLACE has a heavy/important significance for me personally, but not all people put the same emphasis on that. However, a greek therapist i interviewed yesterday (she has lived in the uk for 9 years and now planning to return to Greece) was telling me that when it comes to create her own home (her family), then place becomes significant, culture becomes significant. I can see this being particularly relevant to the Greeks….or is it relevant to cultures that have strong family values and then the connection to the land becomes extremely relevant? so many dimensions to the whole thing really, too subtle…i cant come to generalisations of course and am wondering how i can claim any ‘truths’ in my PhD thesis because of that…will see what comes up, the process is still cooking