“Growing up in two contrasting cultures taught me quite a lot. In Greece, people say I’m Dutch. In Holland, they think I’m Greek. When I was little, that was pretty difficult. Now, I no longer care what label people give me. I know who I am.” These wise words come from our latest frog, Thanos. He’s joining us as a front-end developer, ready to build great user experiences for the web. Like many of our frogs, Thanos followed a fascinating path to get where he is now.
Living a heavenly life on the Peloponnesus
“My family migrated to the Netherlands in the 80s. I grew up in Utrecht, but most of my family has always lived in Greece. In 2004, before starting high school, my parents and I decided to go back to Greece. We moved to Nafplio, a city on the coast of the Peloponnesus.”
“Living in Greece is more or less like you would expect: it’s really nice. Life was so relaxed there. Imagine: you come home from school and it’s 30 degrees outside. Not exactly a temperature that makes you want to do your homework… My friends and I would often go to the beach instead.”
The dark clouds of a Greek tragedy
“I was still living in Greece when the financial crisis unfolded in 2010. Back then, nobody had the slightest clue that something like that could happen. Everyone, even politicians, had been convinced there was plenty of money to keep things going. But once the crisis hit Greece, poverty started emerging everywhere.”
“On the Dutch news, you’ll hear about the effects of the crisis every once in a while, but in Greece, you notice the consequences on a daily basis. In the cities, you can see people eating from garbage bins. The things I witnessed in Athens are really shocking.”
“Of course, there are two sides to this story. It’s not like the Greek are entirely without blame. I’m critical of what happened. It’s just that my generation is now paying the price for something our grandparents did.”
Fighting a corrupted system
“The crisis is not the only problem. The Greek seem to be stuck in the past. They’re still proud they kickstarted Western civilization a few thousand years ago. But today, the country is a big mess. The fact you once had a great empire doesn’t change that.”
“If you’re a young person with the ambition to make something of your life, you have to leave Greece. The corrupted systems and the endless bureaucracy are always working against you. Dutch people sometimes complain about the DigID system, but in Greece, you need to take two days off work just to wait in line at the government office.”
“I knew I couldn’t stay in a country crippled by crisis if I wanted more than working in the hotel business for the rest of my life. That’s why I moved back to Holland in 2012.”
“After I returned to the Netherlands, I took a couple of different jobs, but I didn’t really like them. Last year, I decided to turn things around. I challenged myself to pick up a new hobby: programming.”
“The first thing I built was a game where you had to guess the hex codes of certain colors. It feels fantastic to come up with a plan, to build it, and then to find out that it actually works. It was very different from anything I had done before.”
“After a year of programming as a hobby, I signed up for a coding bootcamp. During those months, I focused on frameworks like React and Ruby on Rails. Now, I can apply those skills as a developer at aFrogleap.”
“Whether I have any dreams for the future? Next year, I’ll start my bachelor in software engineering. Later on, I’d also like to do a master’s degree. I’m ambitious, but I try not to plan too far ahead. As I’ve seen in Greece, things can change at any moment.”
Splashing into the pond
Even though the circumstances were tough, Thanos decided to turn his life around. He left Greece behind, moved to the Netherlands and learned how to code. Now, he’s happily hopping around our office, building React components for cool projects. We love ambitious frogs, so we’re glad to have this one on our front-end team.
Welcome to the pond, Thanos!
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