All Greek Delicatessen

Laurentis And Lianna Konstantinidou's Story

GMT 13:58 Wednesday ,22 July 2015

 Migrant Voice - Laurentis And Lianna Konstantinidou's Story

Natalia Budzan

Laurentis: We sell all kinds of products, cheese, olive oil, barley, noodles, pasta with different flavours - pasta with squid ink is very popular - halva, which is traditional to eat for lent, baklava.

All the products come from Greece. People mainly buy things for home cooking; we get all kinds of people, family people, and students. It is not only Greeks, it is the English, Welsh. English people have been buying baklava for over a thousand years now. Don’t forget the Greeks came here a long time ago.

You have to [get used to this climate].  Yes I would like to have a little bit more sun, it plays a big role in our mood, when we see the sun we are happy; you are more energetic. When we came from Greece we had to change our lifestyle. It was very difficult for us to find products we are familiar with, it was one of the reasons we opened the shop. 

We set up the shop a year and a half ago.  Every day we get new clients, it spreads by word of mouth, so every day we have people coming in. We are not ready for wholesale yet, we want to set up the shop first, then to consider the restaurants.

Eating in Greece is not for actually eating the food, it is for socialising. We eat meals with friends and family and chat to relax after a long day or week, it is a way for us to get rid of the stress and the tiredness. If we stay inside the house it is not the same, you are going to watch a little bit of TV, and then go to sleep and tomorrow the next thing.  And we don’t like routine so much we like to do different things.

That is the problem - [in the UK] people are going very fast and also in countries like Germany, Scandinavian countries, the lifestyle is very fast. We have been here for a year and a half and some people pass by every day and only just notice the shop now. 

In Greece we always had time to go to the gym, the swimming pool, the sea, but here I don’t have time, the rhythms of life are different.

Lianna: My children are here, I am with my family, but in Greece I have a different life, my friends, my relatives… I could go out for a coffee for a walk there, on the beach. Here I don’t have that luxury. I don’t have a lot of friends here. I work, I don’t have time to meet people. I miss my house in Greece, I miss Greece.

View Laurentis And Lianna Konstantinidou's video here:

This interview is part of a series of stories of migrants in Birmingham produced by participants of Migrant Voice's 'Many Faces, One City' project. The project celebrates the contribution of migrants to life in Birmingham. It brought together migrants and host community in Birmingham to build their skills in telling stories of migration through text, photo, film and social media.

Funded by Big Lottery – Awards for All, England.


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