Life of LGBT expats in the Netherlands, an interview with Marios Selevistas

This post was firstly published in

I know that many expats out there receive questions in (and out of) social media by wannabe expats regarding the process of moving in another country. Between those expats many Greek expats often discuss life abroad with people that live in Greece or elsewhere. From my personal experience I can tell that during the last 4 years that I live in the Netherlands I have answered questions of dozens of unknown people to me. They didn’t know me but they thought I am the right person to ask stuff. That was usually happening because they may have read one of my already published posts or from a recommendation related to me they may received. In the end, I have news from a few of these people and I really don’t know if what we discussed once was helpful to most of them. Frankly, if at least one or two of them found my information useful, then I think that we had a positive result that came up from our past communication.

During discussions that I had with other expats that keep helping a lot of people in many ways (for example the columnist and co-manager of Nadia Nikolaidou) we have come to a common conclusion. We realized that except classic questions, we sometimes receive special or original questions that we cannot easily and automatically answer. For example what someone would respond to questions like:

“How are Dutch people sexually?”

“What is going on with gays in Holland? Are they really free to live normally with regard to other countries that things are more difficult?”

Time of the truth: My beloved readers, the fact that some people have moved to another country doesn’t make them necessarily experts to discuss every aspect of the family, financial and social life of this country. Often the general impression of a subject that someone may have it’s not enough for him/her to describe the whole subject in depth. So, if we have special questions we should try to find the right people to ask. Also, don’t forget how important is good timing to make a specific question. Based on this belief, me and the managers of this website decided to publish this post which includes this really interesting interview. We hope the questions were made and the answers were received in this interview to cover most of the subject of “How LGBT expats live in the Netherlands?”.

Interview with Marios Selevistas

Fani: Good evening Marios. Should we start with the introductory stuff? Will you share some personal info about you with us?

Marios: I am Marios Selevistas. I am 32 years old. I was born in Athens. The last 8 years I live in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. I studied Shipping and Finance and the last 6 years I work in a shipping company.

F: How you came in the Netherlands?

M: I came 8 years ago to study here. Then I stayed to work.Read More »


Short film “In a Heartbeat”

A boy who hasn’t accepted his sexual orientation feels his heart beating fast for another boy.  He tries to ignore his heartbeat but his heartbeat is stronger and more persistent than him and it will betray him. What is the reaction of the other boy? What happens when everyone around understands that love between people of the same sex is possible? Will our boys be afraid? Will they take a step back or will they be honest with themselves and between them?

An amazing short film about a beautiful, pure love between two male teenagers. Some people say that falling in love is a choice you make but some others say that you cannot go against your heart and who you are. This story shows that things are formed for all of us quite early. We should stop going against something that already happens and especially something that could make us truly happy.

Video: “Why do we feel nostalgia?”

Do you often feel nostalgia for a specific place, for people you meet rarely or for your hometown? In the video below the emotion of nostalgia is explained and the negative but also the positive aspects of this cognitive-behavioral phenomenon are also clarified.

Nostalgia doesn’t separate us but connect us. All of us feel love, melancholia and sadness. All of us should adapt in what we have right now. Nostalgia is not a reason and a feeling of a permanent sadness but a way to feel happiness and peacefulness. Everything around us could remind us of who we are, where do we come from and where do we go. Our only mission is to live every moment consciously. We need will and  the right mood in order to build new things and create unique experiences exactly where we stand and nowhere else.

Ways to “touch” love


In Leo Buscaglia’s book “Love” it’s mentioned that love is something that is taught, learned and built slowly. Human-beings are not born knowing how to love others and actually it happens the exact opposite thing: all of us were born selfish and egocentric. If you notice a human being in the age of 1 or 2 years old you will see his/her need to have all the attention and love for himself/herself. As time passes and a child gets older he/she will learn how to share, to give, to love. The way to love never ends. Even in our adulthood we don’t stop to be “babies” that want all the love for ourselves while we simultaneously fight to learn how to share ourselves, our lives, our emotions.

Is there something that could block all this way to love? According to some health mental specialists one of the greatest obstacles to love is lack of experience and knowledge of love. In other words human-beings don’t love enough, not necessarily because we don’t want to but maybe due to the fact we don’t know how to love. We don’t know how to create experiences of love, we don’t know how to give ourselves to others. Moreover, we often believe that loving someone is a difficult and demanding procedure and we forget that because of love we could experience great moments of pleasure and happiness. If there is someone close to us who could frequently remind us that love keeps us alive and give us ideas of how we could love then maybe all of us we could be better in loving.Read More »

Notes from “Love” by Leo Buscaglia


Leo Buscaglia is the writer of the really famous book “Living, Loving and Learning” and many other books of psychology and philosophy. During his life he tried to live with boldness, consciousness and love for life and people, exactly as he was teaching to others. Many people read his books nowadays as they consider them as useful guides of happiness and self-improvement. In his book titled “Love” he goals to analyze the nature of love in every possible way: love as an emotion, love as a cognitive phenomenon, love as a personal and social need, love as a mimicking action. Here there are some notes I kept during my reading:Read More »

Tips to rock exams!


All of us at least once in our lives we were asked to give some exams or we are about to give an exam in the near future. Now, imagine that you have to study hard, to make clear and understandable what you read and then to keep in your mind all the necessary stuff in order to write as better as you can in the final exam. How difficult can be our preparation for an exam in order to have a positive final result? The right preparation is based on some factors that are analysed below.Read More »

What I will be when I grow up?


Since we remember ourselves as kids we can recall a lot of people around us asking us “What you will be when you grow up?”. We were giving different answers such as a policeman, a doctor, a florist, a writer depending on the age we were, the tastes and the influences of those phases. After some age we were those who were asking ourselves “What I will be when I grow up?”. For every human being this decision is unique and its finalization depends on various factors (e.g. salary, professional status, easy professional settlement, creativity and flexibility into the professional environment, cost of studies or duration of studying to a college). Everyone based on their dreams, ambitions and the way they fantasize their future they are asked to make the best decision. But what someone should remember before and after this big decision?Read More »

September 19th 2015 is the first International Awareness Day for Usher Syndrome

Usher Syndrome
Usher Syndrome

The following question is posted οn the Dutch website of Usher Syndrome ( “Would you choose for being deaf or blind? I cannot choose, for I am becoming both my deaf and blind because of the Usher syndrome.”

What is Usher Syndrome?

The Usher syndrome is a genetic disorder which contributes to partial or total loss of hearing and vision and can also affect balance. The Usher Syndrome is classified as either Type I (deaf from birth, speech difficulties, problems with balance, vision loss in the first 10 years of life ), Type II (partial hearing loss, gradual loss of vision) or Type III (gradual deterioration in hearing, vision and balance). (For more information look on:

It is nowadays estimated that about 10% of children that are born deaf may be due to the Usher Syndrome. There is currently no treatment for Usher syndrome but there have been significant scientific developments that can lead to a cure for this rare genetic disorder in the last years. Alongside this effort to find a treatment, there are also efforts being made to create better daily life conditions for people with sight, hearing and balance disabilities, in order for them to be able to live independently and with dignity for the greatest part of their lives.Read More »

Life with Usher Syndrome (part 1)

Exclusive interview with Afroditi



During the last and a half year that I have moved in Rotterdam I met many Greek newcomers who left the fatherland to come in the Netherlands to study or to find a job. One of the most interesting Greeks that I met when I visited the Greek community here was Afroditi. In the beginning I didn’t pay a lot of attention to her as I was looking around me all these completely new and unknown faces, but soon she talked to me and her smile was so warm that I sat on a chair next to her and we started a general conversation.

I cannot remember if we talked about it the second  pr the third time that we met but I am sure that soon after our first meeting she told me that she is diagnosed with Usher Syndrome. I remember when I heard these two new words I reacted in a spontaneous way by answering “Oh really?”. I knew that I have heard it before (probably during my bachelor studies) but I couldn’t be completely sure. So I asked her to remind me what the exact symptoms of Usher Syndrome were. The truth was that no, I didn’t remember a lot about it, for example that it was a syndrome with such serious symptoms. Moreover, I experienced the biggest surprise when in the next seconds Afroditi told me with completely natural voice and without any hesitation: “Now that we are talking I am wearing hearing aids. Also I don’t have a peripheral vision, so I need to look at you to be sure that I see you”. After these words she was acting like she had talked about the simplest thing in the world. She stood up from the chair and without any difficulty or hesitation she walked full in confidence to the bar of the Greek community to buy a bottle of soda. I was absolutely speechless. How is it possible this person to be diagnosed with this syndrome and has the problems she says?

The same thing I kept wondering all the next months that I was getting to know her better and better. If I wasn’t seeing from time to time her hearing aids on her ears and her cane – a special walking stick – I would have thought that she is fooling us. My disbelief reached its’ highest level when I saw her celebrating Greek Easter in the offices of Greek community and dancing passionately Cretan traditional dances. Honestly I couldn’t find a moment of difficulty or difference in her moves compared to the other people that they were dancing at the same time. Many friends were absolutely surprised when they were informed that Afroditi has a problem with her vision and hearing and can still dance like that. It was that night when I completely realized that there was a really special person in front of me who I wanted to “discover” little by little in the best possible way.

“Will you give me an interview?” I asked her one day when we went out for a coffee and then we ended up eating fruit cake in her place. “Interview?” she asked me with a puzzled face. “Yes, an interview” I said again with more excitement than before. “We will talk about Usher, you will tell me your experience and how is your life with it” I explained to her. “Then we will publish your interview in my blog in order to be read by people who are diagnosed with Usher Syndrome or people with various problems of their vision and/or hearing. Moreover, it is equally important to inform healthy people about what exactly is Usher Syndrome and how a person who is diagnosed with it could live his/her life decently. You could give a very strong message of life and hope if you just speak for your life and if you show to others that you are able to manage the whole situation” I ended up and then I remained silent and I was impatiently waiting to hear her response. Very soon she seemed to make a decision and without much hesitation she answered: “I don’t mind giving an interview. In the past I was embarrassed to talk about me and the syndrome but I don’t feel like that anymore”.

Some days went by and I began to read about Usher Syndrome while simultaneously I was trying to find some good forms of interviews – especially of people who describe diseases –and in this way I started beating the questionnaire that I would use during in our meeting to get a decent and comprehensive interview. I am not a doctor, no matter how much I read about this syndrome I couldn’t read all the studies that have been conducted during last years. Additionally, I didn’t have the experience of taking an interview from a person that has been diagnosed with a serious disease. In the end, I don’t know if I managed to take a really “useful” , comprehensive and complete interview. On the other hand, I am sure that I got a real and spontaneous interview by a determined woman who wanted to speak and share her personal story, how she “sees” and “hears” Usher Syndrome in her body all these years.

I changed this interview as less as possible since the biggest advantage of it is its’ authenticity. In the following document you will read how is the life of a person who has a genetic syndrome, who lived in three different countries, who visited many doctors and who has experience from different health systems. Afroditi is a young, bold woman who managed to live her life in the best way she can as she simply chose to “have the disease, but not to be the disease”. That’s why it is so important her story to be read and heard.Read More »