Life is slowly returning to normal for most people. Greece’s Consul-General to Melbourne Dimitris Michalopoulos returned back to the office this week, but only briefly as he has confirmed to Neos Kosmos that he has requested to return to Greece upon the completion of his three-year tenure.
His request has been approved and he will be seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Athens. Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis, currently serving as Consul General for Greece in Alexandria, Egypt, will succeed Mr Michalopoulos in Melbourne.
Lockdown, however, gave Mr Michalopoulos a time to reflect.
What have you been reading?
A biography of W. Churchill by A. Roberts. It’s a long read, 900+ pages, which includes some useful information about the war in Greece.
What are you watching?
Quite a lot, really. Some old classics like The Asphalt Jungle and White Heat, some obscure and little-known European productions, such as Aniara and Revanche, and some documentaries, namely The Red Pill and Three Identical Strangers.
What music are you listening to?
Rock and funk for always, the blues for now.
What are you cooking?
I always do the cooking at home, so nothing has changed. Keep the fish coming!
How have you been staying fit?
My family and I have embraced the bicycle. I have forgotten completely that I have already paid for my gym membership.
What is keeping you sane at the moment?
My wife keeps me sane all year round. As far as the pandemic is concerned, I keep thinking that it is all a bad dream.
What is work like for you now?
As of 1 June, it is back to normal at the Consulate General. Before that, I was going to work every second week, for about two months. The main difference now is that there are no more functions after work or during weekends. I think I miss the direct communication with the Greek community.
What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since COVID-19 entered our lives?
Staying at home for whole weeks allowed me to spend some quality time with the family. There was some catching-up to be done on my part.
What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
To manage a crisis situation you need responsible people around you. The Consulate General staff has proven to me just how devoted and energetic they can be. Vis-à-vis the Greek community and the people who were in need for repatriation. I think that the General Consulate proved beyond doubt that it can provide accurate information and advice. The fact that during the pandemic the consular authority in Melbourne did not receive negative comments for its handling of the crisis proved to me that hard work and leadership are always appreciated.
What’s your advice for others to cope with the crisis?
On a personal level, do something you wouldn’t normally do, that is if you didn’t exercise, do so, if you did spend a lot of time in front of your PC, read a book and most of all, stay positive. For everything else, please read the Consulate General’s webpage!
What’s the first place you’d like to visit in Greece once travel is allowed?
Well, I will be in Greece by year’s end, one way or another, so my plans are for next year. Lemnos and Lefkada are the obvious choices, I learned so much about them here in Melbourne anyway.