On December 21, 2017, Elias and I left Gothenburg and on December 24, 2017 we arrived at the port of Patras. From here we went o to Koroni, where we rented a house for the first 3 months in our new country. Although at this very moment we were homeless, but since the end of 2015 we were the happy owners of a plot of land in Mani, in the village of Nomitsi where our house was to be built.
Both Elias and I brought assignments from Sweden, Elias on 100% and I on 30% because my task was to build a business concept around the sale and rental of properties in Messinia. We started with Husigrekland.se, then expanded with Domwgrecji.pl and Houseinpeloponnese.com which eventually became HousefindersPeloponnese.com.
The years before we joined the house
We started the house building at the beginning of 2020 and moved into an “almost” finished house in September the same year. Before that and after we rented a house on the outskirts of Koroni, we rented an empty apartment in Agios Nikolaos and a furnished house in Stoupa. All our own experiences from this period helped Elias and me to better understand the concept of “long-term rental”. Something that our own customers can benefit from, so to speak.
I would say that the first years taught us the art of being open for changes. Maybe even forgiving of many things that we would never accept in our Swedish life. I can say that it was a learning period, not exactly a bed of roses, but oh so different from our previous way of life!
- In 2018, I sent at least 40 emails to those I wanted to work with regarding property sales and/or property rentals. I got zero answers until I understood that it’s enough to ask ONE person about family and friends’ relationship to the person/company I want to get in touch with. All 40 emails were resolved in ONE afternoon over a cup of coffee and a lunch pizza
- In the same year, I sent at least as many calendar bookings for our meetings with Greek clients. NO ONE answered. I discovered quite quickly that the bookings are made via phone/WhatsUp/Messenger. AND many (then) have used a notebook (I mean paper and pen type)
- There are no “new” business relationships that can be established without a personal meeting. “You have to look each other in the eye, shake hands and get a feeling”
- When you meet Greeks the second time, even if it’s only in a tavern where you were a customer 2 weeks ago, you become a friend. AND a friend can help another friend connect with you. IF you want and need it.
- When a minor car accident happened Elias and we talked about this terrible experience a SINGLE question kept coming up. “But you’re ok?” Car is just become, a meeting you didn’t come to is just a cancelled meeting but YOU, YOU are the most important!
It was also during this period that the world was shaken by the Covid pandemic… Our previous plans to meet the family several times during a year, to keep in touch with personal meetings did not turn out as we had imagined. During the first “before we joined the house period” we also learned to appreciate more and more the beauty of the place we chose to settle in. We also learned how important the small short meetings in a tavern or on the beach are. All here have time for each other without lots of scheduled gym visits or deadlines that must be completed before midnight. Elias changed his Swedish assignment to 60% and I worked 100% with the HouseFinders concept. The surroundings around us started to feel like “home” even though we were still “homeless”. The Greek network grew and grew and we found many good friends among our customers. It stopped being important to ask about the country you were born in or the job you have, the most important thing was “how long are you staying in Mani” and “when will we meet again”.
Life in Nomitsi, our own village
From September 2020 we have lived in our own house…. Wow! New experiences from the period we built houses that I can “reuse” in the HouseFinders concept. New contacts with people who can help us “understand” the garden, as both Elias and I are not people with “green fingers”. Tomato growing, olive picking, is this a salad or a cabbage growing over there and similar everyday problems.
I remember an early Wednesday morning when, still in my dressing gown, I was hanging the laundry outside and the neighbor shouted “Kalimera Mrs. Elwira, how are you today?”. Yep, I’m one of the 85 people called “Nomitsianis”.
“Coming home” feeling grew and strengthened, even if the wonderful free view had to be limited by a fence and wall. Not because we were afraid of thieves but because the animals ate everything we grew! Well, yes, we live in a “wild Mani” after all, haha. There were more of us in the household, Estia moved in, there were fewer beach visits because the pool beckoned with cooling swims and our own olive grove with nice shade and silence. Even though I had to work longer and longer in the evenings, it was a luxury to sit on the balcony and gaze at the magnificent sunsets.
And all the wonderful new people we met thanks to HouseFinders! From different parts of the world with different skills and different experiences… Both on the selling side and on the buying side. What we all have in common is a strong will to change the life we knew before and a strong belief in a better future. In ourselves and those we meet there is an element of a rebellious visionary, one who can plan and execute and, in many cases, one who loves the freedom to be who one is. And to be that, you don’t need to be a millionaire or a pensioner, we are proof of that!
Thanks for reading and hope 2024 is a more peaceful one for us all!