So, here I am, at an Italian café at London Heathrow terminal one, waiting for my flight to Greece. I arrived a couple of hours ago from New York and I managed to fit a mini vacations trip to my home country before going back to London to start my new job.
New York... What a city to live in, what an adventure! I spent my last 14 months in New York after graduating from Wharton School and taking a risk by choosing to start my own company when most of my classmates returned to the grown up life and got a corporate job. However, the entrepreneurial path allowed me to put into action all the knowlede from my MBA. I was productive and creative, full of energy and courage to start things from scratch and feel the magic as they grew, self-taught news things, learn how to manage my resources in the most efficient way and inspire everyone involve along the way.
A year ago, on September 13, I launched Lady and Lara in my apartment's kitchen and it was the most scary thing I did; yep, it beats ice-climbing in Adirondacks, eating sushi for the first time and being a co-driver in my best friend's car. This past year I have laughed and cried, made new friends, became domestic partners with Mickey Mouse or one of his relatives, left my oven turned on and asked my landlord to switch it off three times while leaving for a business trip, hosted my best friends, learnt how to build a business network, a website and a brand, turned down uninteresting jobs and weird investors, pitched in front of a big audience, but most importantly, I learnt how to embrace the unexpected, live comfortably outside my comfort zone, feel at ease with all new challenges and changes life brings every day and enjoy the present.
I love New York. I fell in love with that city so hard, I had to prolong my farewell ritual from one day to three. Every time I relocate, I say goodbye to the city by dedicating some time to explore on foot hidden corners and take pictures, by noticing the beauty of the details that normally, when rushing to a meeting, I would miss. But, after that ritual, I realized that New York is not about the place itself, the landmarks, the skyscrapers, the lights or the details, but about the people and the experiences and these can be taken everywhere with you. That's why my goodbye was not that hard.
I can tell you a million reasons why I am moving to London. I found a great job, I want to be closer to my family, there is growth opportunity for my startup, I missed being on that side of the Atlantic Ocean etc. However, the number one reason I started planning my life overseas in the first place is that my visa status expired. As a volunteer for FWD.US, the movement started by the tech leaders in an effort to keep the U.S. economy competitive by reforming the current immigration policy so that the country benefits from the international brains it attracts due to the high quality of education, my minimum contribution is to write about this. If you are interested in learning more about immigration reform, please visit the website of FWD.US.
I will miss New York. Of course, I have a special connection with that city because my company, which I have been referring to lately as 'my baby', is growing there. It is too bad I am no longer on the ground to experience all the action while happening but as every founder, I am very proud of my team and our progress . I am very grateful to my entire team at Lady and Lara, Sevasti, Peter, Mariya, Eleni, Eirini and Lena, our stellar advisors and mentors Karen, Georgia, Barbara, Mark, Philip, Alessandro and of course Yasamin, Julia, Alison, Alex, Alessandra, Nadine, Constantinos, Manos, Christina and Caroline, all of our partners and designers that without them nothing would exist. Lady and Lara is operating as usual and stays focus on the strategy, while now it has an eye for expansion in the U.K.
A NYLON affair is about to begin...
Disclaimer: the picture was taken in January and there was no way Julia, who is wearing the "I heart London" hoodie to have known that I would move there eight months later.