Being expat gave me opportunity and made me unique
Claudia is an American who moved with her Cypriot husband and two young children to Cyprus eight years ago. Her MBA in Corporate Finance did little for her on the island nation, so she reached deep and got imaginative. With a bit of ingenuity and dumb luck, she dusted off her experience as an actress and landed her dream job as a Radio Show personality.
On my sunny rock in the Med, there's a certain untz untz untz beat that travels most radio waves and plays loudly on cars racing down dusty roads. Young men sporting large diamond earrings drawing on cigarettes, nodding their heads in tune. Their hairy, brown arms sticking out of the car window, slicing the air, fists pumping to the beat. Islanders call it "Garage" or "Club" music. Americans unabashedly call it Eurotrash.
My car doesn't have a CD or cassette player; and there still is no such thing as satellite radio. I'm stuck listening to the radio. After 4 years of trying to appreciate Club Music, I had nearly given up. Then one day by chance, I was driving home from work as a Senior Lecturer of Finance at the American University. I was on a familiar road when a new sign, one I hadn't seen before, popped up in front of a newly-constructed apartment building: "101.8 Radio Fog." Interested, I switched immediately to the station and nearly broke into tears of joy in my Fiat. There, playing softly on a static-y radio wave were sounds of home.
American Pop music, grunge music, and even (seriously - I can't believe it - COUNTRY music) floated through my car. I was in such shock, I turned my car back towards the sign. I parked my car and bolted through the front door. Two young employees sat behind computers on unassuming desks. The eyed me as I sprang through the door, breathless.
- "Do you speak English?" (my first question nowadays).
- "Yes," a chic, green-eyed guy in black-rimmed glasses responded.
- "I just want you to know how thankful I am that your station has opened! I love it! I'm American and am so happy to have American music playing", I gushed.
As it turned out, Mr. Green-Eyed Glasses agreed there were far too many Club stations on the air and he far preferred pop/rock/grunge/country - all of my faves. The station was his idea and he was the Manager of Radio Fog.
Despite having an MBA in Corporate Finance, I never enjoyed pouring over spreadsheets and coming up with company valuations using a discounted cash flows model. I far preferred acting and writing. Back home, I took oodles of acting classes, participated in stage plays, and landed a couple of gigs in my spare time, when I wasn't strapped to a desk, eyes glazed over an MS Excel worksheet. But in my new home country, I could recreate myself. I could be the better version of Claudia I knew I was supposed to have been, had I had the guts to try in the first place.
I stared straight at Mr Green-Eyed Glasses manager and offered my services.
- "If you ever need a jingle or a voice over, using my American accent, please let me know".
The manager didn't respond. Instead, he stared me up and down, trying to assess this random American girl in his makeshift office/apartment. We exchanged numbers and said our goodbyes. As it turned out, he asked a few people about me. On the rock, everyone needs to be put in a certain "box" - people must be categorized, labeled and then put into a mental filing cabinet. Claudia is married to Tony, who's the son of Tulin, who worked as a biochemist at the State hospital with Teresa, my cousin's wife's mother. Since my story worked out and Mr. Green-eyed Glasses could put me in his mental filing cabinet, I got a call the following day.
I offered to record a jingle for free. But as luck or fate would happen, the station had just let their Morning Radio Host go, and they were looking to replace him. I could have free reign over content. And so began my 4-year role as the Radio Show Host on "The Morning Show with Claudia," on the coveted time slot of 8 AM - 10 AM Mondays through Fridays.
What I discovered: being a trained American actress on the island is what made me unique. In the U.S., I would be a dime a dozen. My show highlighted secrets and smut of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Listeners all over the island thought it was broadcast in Los Angeles. They had no idea it was from a tiny, sound proof apartment in Nicosia.
Want to learn more healthy tips about living like a Mediterranean goddess, no matter where in the world you may be? Check out Claudia's website at www.livelikeagoddess.com. Follow her @AphroditesPath (Twitter) and Live.Like.a.Goddess (Instagram)