My job

I would like to make clear that the Nikita’s Village project is a work in progress. Which means that the resort is not physically built yet. The site, located in the north part of the island, has been excavated and the roads have been completed. The stone walls have been built from stones found on the property and the first villa will be finished by the end of this year. Thus, all the courses and the activities that I am participating in have been moved to the farm.

It is hard to define a typical working day because each day is so diverse. We live as a community at the farm and every intern has a different program to follow, therefore Kostas has personalised our schedules. And in the last two weeks I have learned so much in so little time.

At the farm, we wake up at 8:30 am and make breakfast together. The incredible thing is that we eat exclusively what we grow and harvest, so there is no need to buy anything besides bottled water, rice, pasta and local meat once in awhile. We generally have vegetarian meals rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, while the main protein we eat is eggs. All the products are 100% organic. Almost every night we have food workshops, in which Kostas demonstrates traditional Greek cuisine, while I teach the participants cooking skills, such as shredding, cutting, dicing. I also instruct on basic hygienic kitchen procedures, such as cross contamination and temperatures. It is also my role to raise awareness during the activity about the benefits of the different kind of vitamins, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of vitamin A & C of which the Mediterranean diet is rich. Moreover, part of my job here is to work at the shop of the farm for 2-3 hours daily and this gives me the opportunity, while selling our products, to promote organic food consumption and motivate tourists to make careful choices once back home and avoid (when possible) processed food, preservatives and fast food. What I noticed is, that a course or class at an academic level for instructing people, will not be effective in a reality like Lipsi. No stress and time, pure relaxation and slow rhythm are the main characteristics of this island, both for locals and travellers. Therefore, I needed to review my methods and take my chance, whenever is possible, to give my contribution in a very informal and relaxed setting.

Compared to the other interns at the farm, I have much more independence and autonomy in relation to my job because need to conduct interviews with the local, in order to gain a better understanding of the lifestyle, food tradition, customs, culture (still very strong on this island) and social practices. Kostas is wholly supporting me in this and since the first days, has worked for me as a “gate opener” to better reach the target. But I have much more to do, such as attending cooking classes, Greek language courses and since last week I am running 1-2 sessions of water gym per-week, depending on the weekly schedule and the multiple learning experiences enclosed in it. Running water gym sessions on the beach is an exciting experience for me, not only because of the beautiful conformation of the territory and landscape, but also for the huge learning opportunity per-se, able to improve my coaching skills in relation to physical activity, that is not exactly my strong suit :). I have always loved to challenge myself because I see it as the best way to improve who we are and achieve goals, that otherwise we would perceive, as too far away from our concrete and real abilities.

Food workshop with the guest at the farm, Dolmades: vine leaves’ rolls with rice, vegetables and spices filling

Some of the 100% organic products of the farm: Hopi maize (blue corn), beetroots, almonds, grape and sea salt…because salt can be dangerous and cause hypertension, but let’s not forget that for many countries is the main source of iodine, fundamental for a correct functioning of the thyroid gland

“You’re still in high school, but you’re a 3rd degree blackbelt in Taekwondo? How did you end up doing Taekwondo?”
“My father enrolled me in Taekwondo when I was in 5th grade and I’ve been doing it ever since. Actually, when I first started I totally hated it. As a girl I didn’t like Taekwondo very much. However, after I started doing it for a little while, it was fun. The sport really suited me well. When I completed each step, I was really proud and all of my stress just left me. If I instead just didn’t exercise, I would become depressed.”
“Nevertheless, it seems like it would be hard to exercise like that every day. You didn’t have any desire to quit ever?”
“When I’m having an off day, it’s difficult, however, I have never wanted to quit. When I keep on practicing, I don’t even realize how much better I am getting and the next thing I know, I’m getting some sort of praise or compliment for my achievements. Whenever I try to do other things, I realize that doing taekwondo is really the best.”

“아직 고등학생인데 벌써 태권도 3단이라니, 태권도는 어떻게 하게 되었어요?”
“그냥 초등학교 5학년쯤에 아빠가 시켜서 그때부터 하게 되었어요. 사실 처음 시작했을 땐 완전 싫었어요. 여자인데 태권도 하라니까 싫었죠. 근데 하다보니까 재미있고 저랑 잘 맞는거예요. 하나하나 끝내면 뿌듯한 마음이 들고 스트레스도 날아가구요. 대신 운동 안 하면 막 우울해져요.”
“그래도 매일 운동하느라 힘들 텐데, 그만 두고 싶었던 때는 없었어요?”
“운동이 잘 안될 땐 힘들지만 그래도 그만 두고 싶었던 적은 없어요. 계속 연습하다 보면 어느 순간 이미 칭찬받고 있는걸요? 다른 거 하다 보면 알아요, 운동이 역시 제일 재미있는 거란걸.”