Greece has been one of the success stories in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and as some expat professionals living in the country say, there is perhaps no other place in the western world safer than Greece.
Among them is Ezai Yang, a Chinese professional who told Greek Reporter that he feels safe in the country despite the coronavirus fears. “It was the best decision of my life moving to Greece”, he says.
“When I was isolated in Greece back in March my friends in Canada and back home in Beijing couldn’t believe my bad luck. Now they are asking me to search for accommodation for them in Greece,” Yang tells Greek Reporter.
Greeks probably complain a little bit more than other nations about the restrictions imposed, “but you managed once, and you will also manage if the second coronavirus wave arrives.”
Yang moved to Greece in January 2019 after spending ten years working in Canada. An architect by training, he has now switched his professional career to the real estate business. In recent years the sector has blossomed in Greece, as Chinese investors, among others, are buying properties in Athens and other parts of the country.
“I feel safe in Greece because the government took early, drastic action with strict rules when other countries were ‘sleeping’ and considering that coronavirus was just an ordinary flu.”
Yang, born in Beijing, the second child in a very poor family, cites a second reason why he thinks that Greece has been successful in tackling the spread of virus: The Greek mentality and the spirit of solidarity.
“From my time in Greece I have understood that the Greeks are champions in complaining — but in difficult moments they forget their differences and become like a fist against the common enemy.”
He recalls the kindness shown by his neighbors at Porto Rafti, a seaside resort east of Athens, when the first lockdown was imposed:
“My neighbor would bring me a basket full of eggs, tomatoes, vegetables and fruits from her garden because she didn’t want me to risk going to the supermarket. ‘Ezai, we will share what our land offers, do not risk exposing yourself to the virus,’ she was telling me.”
“Imagine the kindness! These words made my heart bloom with positive feelings,” Yang says.
He notes that Greeks made him feel really welcome. “The amazing Greek hospitality is not a myth,” he says and adds that almost all his Chinese friends who work abroad have been complaining of discrimination and racism. “Maybe I am lucky but I never had a racist experience in Greece.”
Overall, the father of two adds, “the move to Greece was the best decision of my life.”
“Greece is heaven,” he adds. “Not just for the sun, the sea, the blue sky, the history or the food or the strict rules against Covid-19. Greece is a heaven because of its people. The hospitality, the responsibility, the hard work, the passion and respect for life.”