By Ilias Karagiannis.
Even today, most Greeks believe that China is covered by a magical haze… An ancient civilization, developed in harmony with today’s all-powerful “dragon country,” which seems like an elusive dream for most.
But not for the twin sisters Marianna and Sofia Erotokritos, who made an unusual decision six years ago: To study in China in the field of international trade and economics.
“China is the cradle of Eastern civilization and that is what attracted us to discover this beautiful country. We admired from a very young age its vast culture and history,” they both say in their exclusive interview with the Greek Herald.
“So we decided to go a step further and study in China. Of course China’s enormous economic achievements have increased our curiosity.”
The reason: their recent award by the Minister of Tourism, Charis Theocharis, who declared them ambassadors of Greek tourism in China.
“When we started to deal with the promotion of Greece in China it did not occur to us that we could be awarded such a title,” they say.
“It’s a huge honour, but at the same time a huge responsibility to carry such a title. We will continue with greater zeal and now officially promote our beloved country, Greece, to Asia’s largest country, China.
“After all, in the modern world of social media that we live in, we as @greek_twins with hundreds of thousands of followers on the social media of China, have a big role, with the creation in Chinese of authentic videos with moments of everyday life in Greece, the culture of our country, as well as thematic videos from leading Greek destinations.
“For those of your readers who want to see our business, they can visit our www.greektwins.gr.
“By the way, we would like to thank from the bottom of our heart the Minister of Tourism, Mr Charis Theocharis, for the tremendous recognition of our work.”
Pandemic, China and Greece:
The “Greek Twins,” the Erotokritos sisters, create excitement among their Chinese followers when they post a new video on their page. At the time of the pandemic, with the restrictive measures, ties were further strengthened, although Mariana and Sophia spent those difficult days in Greece and not in China.
“The truth is that we found ourselves lucky in our misfortune! We returned to Greece in January 2020 in order to stay a month and finally while we were here a year, we do not yet know when we will return to China,” they say.
“Greece and China took action against the virus quite early compared to other countries. We can see, however, that there were a number of different ways of dealing with the pandemic.
“China, when it was in a strict “lockdown,” did not allow people’s movement. Only one person from each family was allowed to leave the house and only to go to the supermarket or get packages from courier companies. Similarly in Greece, even in the strict “lockdown” we see a more relaxed treatment. The truth is we really want to go back to China because we left quite suddenly.”
Of course the positive impact that has been created in China – on Greece – has a name: «Greek Twins»!
“In every video we upload to social media, in most of their comments our followers tell us “I want to go to Greece.” In general they ask us to learn about tourist destinations, especially our islands. Of course we don’t spoil them! It goes without saying that the most popular destination is Santorini,” they explain.
Greek language courses in Chinese:
With International Greek Language Day celebrated on February 9th, it is of great interest that the Erotokritos twin sisters aim to spread it to China as well.
“There is a lot of interest from the Chinese in the Greek language, especially in recent years where many invest in Greece, buy real estate and many choose to live permanently in our country,” they say.
“That’s why we decided to fill this gap with videos/lessons, which we do online to about 2,000 Chinese. In Greece when someone speaks and they can’t understand him they say “he speaks Chinese.
“For a Chinese man whose mother tongue is completely different from ours, they are certainly having a hard time learning it. We personally believe that Greek is a more difficult foreign language than Chinese because of its grammar.”
The two girls have felt the excitement of the Chinese with various incidents having taken place.
“What we will never forget is the first time we took a taxi in China, in Nanjing City. The guide asked us where we were from and we replied with great enthusiasm “Sila” (xila) which means Greece. Our guide looked at us with a strange face and asked us: Is “Sila” in Africa?”
“Also, when we hosted friends from China to Greece, they asked us to go to a pharmacy because they wanted to buy… olive oil.
“Of course in recent years olive oil has become quite well known in China and many Chinese know that in addition to medicine is also used for … food!”
Food and future plans:
The Erotokritos sisters also introduce us to their culinary habits in China.
“The truth is that in our first year in China we only chose Chinese food,” the say.
“We wanted to try as many dishes as we could. But in recent years we cook Greek food at home, because Greek gastronomy is the best in the world!”
However, they plan to return to Greece in the near future.
“This year is the year of Culture – Tourism Greece – China and our program in China will definitely be full. Then we intend to return permanently to Greece, to offer as much as we can in our country.”