Name: Eleni Vardaki
Lives in: Athens, Greece
From: I’m from Greece. I was born in Zimbabwe. And I grew up in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Belgium, Pakistan, and Russia. Growing up, whenever kids in Greece would ask me “But aren’t you from Zimbabwe, if you were born in Zimbabwe”? I’d respond: “If you were born on a boat, would people say to you ‘But aren’t you from the Mediterranean Sea, if that’s where you were born?”
If you haven’t read Britannia’s Daughters: Women of the British Empire by Joanne Trollope, you might be surprised by how many babies were born at sea (it is horrific conditions for both baby and mother), somewhere between Britain and Australia. It’s stories like these that make you wonder: How important is place of birth in determining our identity and our sense of belonging?
Job.: I’m a professional Youth Mentor, and a workshop leader. I specialized in teaching people a stress management technique called the Emotional Freedom Technique. I offer one-to-one and small group stress support online to students, parents and teachers who want to bring their stress levels down.
Tell us your first three jobs (ever!): 1) A waitress in a small coffee shop. I dropped trays (I’m so clumsy), I mixed up orders – I was a terrible waitress!!
2) A Liverpool University “tour guide” for groups of High School students who would be the first in their family to go to university/college. I absolutely loved this job. I loved being a university student in Liverpool, and I felt it was a real joy and a privilege to get to share my passion for learning and love of Liverpool University with students.
3) A teaching internship in a local Primary School in Liverpool.
Zodiac sign?: Scorpio
Enneagram type: Type 3 (“The Achiever”), Wing Type 2 (“The Helper”)
What do you love about Greece? I love the energy of Athens, as a city. I feel it’s got a nice balance of feminine and masculine energy.
I love the huge variety of cool entertainment options. The intimate, thought-provoking, and creative theatrical productions (Railway Carriage Theater, anyone?). The museums. The archaeology. The outdoor cinemas in the summer. The National Gardens. The picturesque walks in Plaka, Thissio. The delightful and unique interior designs of different cafes and bars. The Hammam baths, the yoga classes, the dance schools, the special weekend events.
I love the variety of food options that you can find in Athens, as I love trying new foods from different countries and cultures that I’ve never tried before.
I love how you’ve got the sea and the mountain within a short driving distance from Athens.
Lots of love for Athens. And don’t get me started on what I love about Greece in general!!
Tell us something most people don’t know about you: I often wear socks that don’t match.
Where we are most likely to find you in Lynn’s Kundalini Yoga? Lynn’s SUP Yoga lessons.
The first time you tried Kundalini Yoga?: With Lynn Roulo in Athens, in 2014.
Tell us your top tip to combat climate change: Think of how you can reduce your carbon footprint by asking yourself (if possible, in you’re job/line of work) whether it is really necessary to make that trip abroad for work, or to drive to work.
I believe that if enough people are open to building a new economy where more services and products are offered and traded online, it can significantly help to reduce our pollution of our planet.
Anything else you’d like us to know?: Thanks to Lynn’s book (“Headstart To Happiness”) and Enneagram training, I now use the Enneagram in my youth mentoring work to help students become more self-aware of and set themselves personal development goals.
If you’re curious to learn more about how I do it, check out these two articles I wrote
“Reducing Student Stress Levels: How To Measure Progress.”
“Measuring Student Stress Levels Using the Enneagram
If you know any students or parents who’d be interest in this topic of reducing student stress, please share this article with them.