Moving into the unknown
Annita and Kostas made the big decision to move to Berlin one year ago. The move was due to the economic crisis in Greece and the couple wanted a better way of life. They spent 2 years in Santorini, where any work they did find was always temporary, 6 months here or 8 months there, working often 7 days a week, 12 hours a day.
The move, although induced by the economic crisis in their country, showed the couple’s resilience and determination in striving for a better quality of life. Before moving to Berlin, the couple first tried to set up life in Switzerland, they felt that this wasn’t the place for them and so yet again made the incredible leap of faith to find somewhere they could call home. Prior to their big move, Annita was working as a preschool teacher but as times got harder she found herself working other jobs in hospitality too meanwhile Kostas was a driving instructor. Now, Kostas works at Tegel Airport supplying aircraft with fuel, the technical job appeals to him and he is still able to use his driving as a key part of the job. This hard work ethic and drive pertains today and is one of the reasons that we, here at SPRT, find them such inspiring people to be around.
Never stop learning
They both explained to me that at the moment they are trying to learn German and slowly but surely they’re getting there. Having been in Berlin just one year, Annita and Kostas are finding their feet, getting settled and exploring the possibilities of their new life here. Integration in Germany was a big topic in our discussion and they shared with me how important it was for them. They explained that learning German has aided their integration and they surprised me when they said SPRT had played a role in this too. Now with B1 level German and through SPRT’s events, led both in German and English, they are able to practice their studies on people they meet and whilst having fun and being active, their confidence in speaking German has improved.
The couple has been together about 11 years now and told me that through the Freeletics community in Berlin, they heard about SPRT. The first SPRT event they attended was our Motivator Monday at John Reed, since then they’ve both become such valued members of the SPRT family. The couple also thought it important to tell me that through all of SPRT’s events in different locations, they actually got to know new areas of the city through the events and sports together with us. They told me that they like to do sports together as it is one way in which they use their downtime and do something to better themselves.
They told me that they’re all about positive energy and that being part of SPRT is something bigger than just finding a workout for them. It’s something more substantial than solely an app and is, in practice, a full and powerful community. They also shared with me that they thought SPRT shared wider ‘Berlin values’, being and doing what you want and experiencing utter acceptance from others. The couple explained that over the past 5 years they have always found time to work out and do sport, even through some really difficult times, but now they ‘have time to also enjoy the spirit of SPRT.’ They can now do more than just train, they can do sports together with others and share a common goal. Kostas noted that he thought it was heartwarming to bring people together through something so simple as sport, and thought that not enough people have this passion.
Working out as a couple was also something we talked about for some time. They explained that they both really enjoy doing something together in a social setting, especially when it comes to sports. In terms of ‘what sport?’, every sport seemed to be the answer! They explained to me that they’re very ‘normal’, not fitness professionals but simply that they’re happy to try anything and at least give it a go! Kostas explained that he used to love football but now is also happy to take part in whatever sport is going on around him. They are both regular participants of the Motivator Monday events and Kostas even went as far as to say that, ‘Every SPRT Motivator is unique with a special technique and talent which you can experience and see what kind of training fits you.’
The SPRT of the city
We also took a moment to talk about Berlin itself, both told me that they loved the fact that people are always doing something here. The cycle lanes are great to them and they feel as if they’re living in a sports orientated city. They both also love the parks, there’s always somewhere to go running, do activities or meet people! In a city which to most of us is just a fact of everyday life, it was so refreshing to hear appreciation for the things around us that a lot of us might take for granted.
The App that connects and shares passions
One big theme that came up in my discussion with the couple, again and again, was how important the accessibility of SPRT is. The fact that SPRT is a free platform, and all SPRT’s events open for anyone for no cost was really important to the couple and one of the reasons they were so drawn to the app in the first instance. We all agreed that sport is imperative for the body, mind, and soul and so should be available to anyone, of any level, in any situation. Annita explained to me that when they arrived in Berlin they couldn’t afford a gym membership or to go to paid classes and SPRT offered the perfect opportunity to start building their new life and getting out to meet a new community of like-minded people. Kostas also said that SPRT offers the couple to find active and friendly people and that this creates a wide sense of teamwork between everyone at the SPRT events, ‘it gets you away from the negativity and competition’ that you sometimes see in sports, he explained.
Setting up a new home
Of course, things definitely still aren’t easy for Annita and Kostas, they have given up a lot by moving away from Greece. They naturally miss friends and family and initially felt as if they had no one here in Berlin. Through sport, Annita and Kostas have found a community and a sense of belonging. For the difference in the quality of life, they told me that missing some home comforts was the sacrifice they were willing to make. Kostas told me that now he feels that they both have more energy than before, they are exploring new things and discovering life in a new country- but that they do still miss the seafood that was on offer in their home! haha!
With or without good seafood the pair seem content here in Berlin. They told me that they had talked to a friend about SPRT in Greece and said ‘It’s happening!’ Their motivation is becoming their inspiration and striving to be the best they can be in all aspects of their lives.