Greek teacher Ana Koutsouroupas teaches Greek at Victoria’s only bilingual school program at Lalor North Primary School, where students have the experience of enjoying language in an immersive and all-compassing way. On break because of student holidays now, she likes to relax and reflects on what life has been like during the global pandemic.

What have you been reading?

I love to read stories of hope and inspiration. I am currently reading ‘We are displaced’ by Malala Yousefzai which is part memoir, part communal storytelling. An eye-opening book and necessary for everyone to read in order to understand what refugees go through, the hatred they experience in their own country but also the racism and hatred they continue to experience in their new homeland.

What are you watching?

Fantasy Sitcom ‘I dream of Jeannie’. Why? Because in light of today’s uncertain and difficult times, it’s a good way to forget for a moment these depressing issues and go back to your happy childhood years and enjoy a moment of laughter while relaxing on the couch.

What music are you listening to?

R & B – Chris Brown, Usher, Mary J….. a good way to alter your mood positively.

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What are you cooking?

I am always trying to perfect my Greek cooking skills. From main course to scrumptious desserts, I never fail to disappoint the three men who are forever loitering the kitchen looking for something to eat. On my list to make this week is spiral shaped Greek cheese pie from Macedonia also known as Kichi Kozanis, plus Peloponnesian diples.

What is keeping you sane at the moment?

A jog around the scenic, tranquil and meandering Merri Creek trail. You would think you were somewhere in the country with the abundance of native flora and freshness around you together with the calming flowing water of the creek right next to you. On a nice sunny day you could spot the odd platypus and echidna! After dusk, you have to be careful you don’t trip over a possum!

What is work like for you now?

Working from home is not the most pleasant experience for me. Most of my time is spent on the computer planning and checking lessons or on the phone with students. It’s great however to speak to the kids and encourage them to do the best they can in the situation we are in. Parents have also been very helpful and understanding, trying hard to support their kids and to follow my work program as much as possible. I definitely would love to be back in the classroom as soon as possible and in the presence of colleagues even with social distancing measures in place just to bring back some normality.

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What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since COVID-19 entered our lives?

I was recently in Aldi whizzing past the aisles and quickly collecting what I needed as I was not feeling or looking the best that day. Without even realising I somehow skipped the register queue and found myself ‘pushing in’. At that moment, I looked around and saw the small queue and thought “oh, what have I done?” I apologised to the two ladies behind me and made my way to the back of the queue. To my surprise, they both insisted I stay where I was, especially the elderly lady with a walking frame who refused to let me go behind her. They both said it was ok that I had ‘pushed in’ and that we all have to be tolerant and patient during these times and hopefully learn from them to continue being tolerant and calm when all this is over.

What have you learned about yourself during COVID-19?

To slow down and enjoy each day for what it is and that I can make do without a lot of what I thought was necessary. There’s less time spent dwelling on the past and realising there is no reason to engage in endless self-berating, negative memories but rather to be more constructive and to encourage each other to enjoy today.

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Where’s the first place you’d like to visit in Greece once travel is allowed?

Elafonissi Beach Crete, 75 kilometres southwest of Chania. Beautiful beach, known for its natural beauty, wildlife and pink sands. My husband dreams about going to a club in Naxos to hear Tsalikis singing ‘magazi’, he thinks he’ll win this one, but he forgets I’m half Cretan….again.