Pare, from Arizona, U.S.A.
I am a Greek American and love both Greece and Cohousing. During the pandemic, like so many others, I contemplated how to live my best life. I decided to marry my two passions and thus founded the first cohousing group in Greece! We are a multigenerational group, from all over the world and from Greece. Together, we are creating something more beautiful and special than I could have imagined. The combination of our group's abilities, talents, and our good luck in finding an amazing property, has made for a wonderful journey and bright future for our cohousing village in Greece.
I am a mom and an attorney who specializes in representing refugees. In my roles as the original founder of this group, I aspire to a researched, "best practices" approach to our project. I lived in cohousing and thus have learned from an amazing community, Touchstone, but I also like to read empirical studies and books about cohousing, as well as consult cohousing professionals and other group founders, in order to find the most successful ways to do things. Our group is fortunate enough to be attracting not only talented members but also lots of extraordinary supporters. I feel grateful for all the amazing people who have joined this group, the many more coming toward us each week, and the hundreds who have shown interest or lent a hand. Our members' collective talents are a brain trust that has turned my seed idea into a project representing our collective values for community and sustainable living. As we further define our vision, values, design, and traditions, this community is developing an inspiring identity of its own. The project provides all of us satisfaction in being part of something greater than ourselves. You can find out about my career background and my time in cohousing at the bottom of this page, and you will find a letter of recommendation from my cohousing community here:
Ivy, from Greece & Ohio, U.S.A.
I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and I've been living in Northern Greece with my husband and his family since February 2019. Before we moved Véroia, we lived in San Francisco for 7 years. I moved to the city by the bay after I graduated from Kent State with a degree in Communication and Hospitality Management. I went to San Francisco State University to earn my MBA and launch my wedding planning business, and I managed the dorm of 1,000 freshmen on campus. Community living and management have always been a passion of mine. After grad school, I moved into a co-living house in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district, just a few blocks away from my husband's co-living space. Each of our houses was home to at least 40 people, and we were part of an ecosystem of co-living houses across the Bay Area known as the Haight Street Commons. I managed one of those homes for a year, and then I became a founding member of another Mission district co-living house the next year. I have a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, community management, and in the field of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). I'm a serial entrepreneur and a personal development nerd who loves traveling, dancing, hiking, gardening, learning new languages, cooking, baking, Netflix, and really fulfilling conversations with strangers waiting to become friends. Find and follow me, @lunchwithivy on Instagram.
Adonis, from Greece & Canada
I'm a Greek American who's lived in over a dozen countries. I lived in San Francisco for 7 years, where I met my wife. I currently live in Greece, where I enjoy growing vegetables in my garden, cooking, and playing with the stray dogs. I love to cook, tell stories, make things, and travel. I become very excited about ideas and love putting them into practice. I moved to Spain to learn to play Spanish guitar from street performers and lived in a Greek monastery for a few months to experience a traditional lifestyle. I also love to share what I've learned with others and see where they take those ideas. I've written several textbooks about programming, one of which was used to develop the COVID exposure tracing that is now built into everyone's smartphones.
Eberhard, from Denmark
Born on his grandparent's farm in the Black Forest near Stuttgart and spend his childhood holidays there.
After a couple of years on farms in Germany, moved to Denmark and finished the farmer's apprenticeship
at one of the first organic farming schools. Went as a scholarship student to Ecuador for half a year.
Became a self-employed organic dairy farmer on Zealand for 12 years and has three daughters.
Besides milking cows also has experience with sheep, and growing vegetables, strawberries, fruit and Christmas trees.
Was a long-term guest in the mid-eighties and returned as a member of the collectively owned and driven
organic estate Svanholm near Skibby for 8 years. Construction and maintenance of buildings had been a part of
his life as a farmer and he continued to work with it in the building group at Svanholm.
Got involved in the Danish
ecovillage association Landsforeningen Økosamfund, where several Danish cohousing communities are members,
and participated as Danish representative at general assemblies of the Global Ecovillage Network in Europe.
Arranged tours to ecovillages in Germany and Italy and has visited others in Spain, Portugal, Scotland and Greece.
Studied Arctic Technology/Construction Engineering at DTU and lived for two years in Greenland, as well as for a
semester in Fairbanks, Alaska. Works as a health & safety consultant in the construction sector for 9 years.
Mitchell, from California, U.S.A.
I have been looking for what to do with my life after retirement for several years now. With my small publishing company now safely cared for, I have been revisiting a favorite site–Foundation for Intentional Community, and this is where I discovered Greek Village Cohousing.
I have been connected with intentional communities and lived in an intentional community in San Francisco for 35 years. I consider community a personal growth practice I keep alongside psychotherapy, Indian spirituality, and being in nature, and these have been very important to my life.
I am passionate about cooking, particularly for large groups, so Greek Village Cohousing is a great fit with its focus on cooking and eating together as well as its devotion to planting and sustainable agriculture practices. I also practice yoga and study Vendanta. I have volunteered at a Catholic church food pantry soup kitchen for over a decade- (the photo of a typical day).
I am very excited to be part of creating the first cohousing community in Greece!
Mike X from Amsterdam
Mike is a professor of neuroscience and develops written and online educational material on applied math and statistics. He has lived in several countries around the world, and visited many others.
He values strong intentional communities, data-driven decisions, and living sustainably. Mike is also a supporter of the digital nomad/remote worker international community, and is deeply invested in making sure that our community Common House will have a state-of-the-art coworking space for remote workers, creatives, and anyone who wants to be inspired by beautiful mountain views.
When he's not writing books or teaching online, Mike likes to read, hike, bike, and talk about science, Futurama, and the latest netflix series while sipping Greek liquors.
and Advisory Board Members
Advisory Board Member Robert William Peck, Canada
Former Ambassador to Greece
Recently retired after 35 years with Global Affairs Canada, Robert Peck has held a variety of positions in Canada, Greece, and abroad. At Headquarters, these included Press Secretary and Departmental Spokesperson to two Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Protocol of Canada. He was Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria from 2004 to 2007, and Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic and High Commissioner to the Republic of Cyprus from 2011 to 2015.
As Canada’s representative to both Algeria and the Hellenic Republic, former Ambassador Peck worked closely with the Canadian oil and gas and mining sectors. This involved advocacy at the ministerial and head of state/head of government levels and providing strategic advice on critical issues and emerging trends.
Earlier in his career, he served in various diplomatic roles in Nigeria, Switzerland, and Greece. During a two-year leave of absence from the Government of Canada, Mr. Peck was Director of Corporate Communications and Investor Relations at CAE Inc., the global leader in aerospace simulation technology.
Throughout his diplomatic career, Ambassador Peck has been a strong supporter of cultural diplomacy and worked closely with leading Canadian and international artists and organizations. As Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic he played a leading role in supporting the unprecedented and highly successful exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History in 2015: “The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander the Great.”
Mr. Peck was named in 2017 as an independent, non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Energean PLC, a leading independent oil and gas company in the Eastern Mediterranean. He is also actively involved in the voluntary sector as President of the Board of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO), a member of the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG), and an Honorary Director of The Hellenic Initiative (Canada). He continues to be engaged with several charitable organizations in Greece, including a local non-governmental organization that provides a safe haven for refugee minors on the Greek island of Lesvos.In 2010, he agreed also to dedicate himself voluntarily to the Michaëlle Jean Foundation as Executive Director until 2020. Promise kept. The position will be opened next July.
Former Ambassador Peck has received numerous awards including the Canadian Foreign Minister’s Citation for Foreign Policy Excellence, the Minister’s Merit Award, a Citation from the Fondation Club Avenir for his exceptional contribution to Canada-Algeria relations, and the Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix conferred by the President of the Hellenic Republic.
Katerina, currently living in Amsterdam
I grew up in Athens and spent long summers with my family in our village in the Peloponnese. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 12. Having both Greek and Dutch roots gave me a strong connection to Greece while also enabling me to appreciate the value of cultural diversity. I obtained my university and post-graduate degrees in psychology & neuroscience, and while in college, I worked on the side as a travel guide, providing educational trips across Greece for groups of Dutch adults and teenagers.
I've grown to love Greek music, stories, nature, food - and to know that all of these things are best enjoyed when shared with others, young and old. When I discovered the Greek Village Cohousing project I was thrilled to meet warm, like-minded people, caring about community, the environment, and living a life that is both meaningful and fun. In my daily life, I work remotely as a product manager on medical software, aiming to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders such as epilepsy. You can wake me up for social dancing, hiking, and a good conversation.
Arlindo and Lucia from Brazil
Eytan and Miriam from Israel and Brazil
Stephanie, from Miami U.S.A.
Soon after returning from my first trip to Greece with my friend, Cloud, in July 2018—we biked through the islands for two weeks—I returned in September 2018 to celebrate my 52nd birthday! Greece felt like home, and now I am excited to explore the possibility of making it my home. My home base is currently Miami, where I work for Florida International University as the director of our Collaborative Online International Education program. I have one young adult son and come from a family of entrepreneurs and restauranteurs. I am a hyperconnector and passionate about processes for making things. I love hiking and biking and cooking and dancing and singing laughing and kayaking and stargazing. I milked cows to make it through graduate school and sang in a gospel choir before the pandemic. I bake bread and brew bitters; here you see me learning about citron on Naxos! I’m really into botanical spirits and am studying the art and science of distillation—Greece offers the perfect environment for lifelong learning!
Irene & Ray from Pittsburg,h PA
I was born in Greece and immigrated to America when I was 5 1/2 years old. Although I grew up in a small coal-mining town in West Virginia, I was surrounded by the Greek culture in that community. As most of my extended family still resides in Greece, I have always wanted to find a community that merges the best of both of my worlds and beliefs.
I am currently a Realtor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I have a BS in Education and a Master's Degree in Counseling (a tremendous help in real estate). Life experiences have helped me to develop my skills to encompass all aspects of the DISC personality styles that "fit" what is needed in every distinct situation. My partner, Ray, and I enjoy dancing, gardening, camping, Renaissance festivals, exploring, cooking/eating, people, and, most of all, our 2 Shelties (Zeke & River). Between us, we have 3 children, 1 grandson, and 3 great-grandkids. As an explorer of this Greek Cohousing Community, I am anxious to learn and be part of a group with people who embrace all walks of life, work together toward a common goal, and want to live a life that allows for comfort, yet respects our earth.
TW (the human) from Toronto
and Feebee (the dog) from Taiwan
I’m from Toronto and have been living in Seattle for the past 7 years.
Having only lived in large and medium-sized cities, I’ve been looking for a slower-paced, smaller town with a strong sense of community to call home. I’ve been interested in co-housing for some time and, with the availability of remote work, am excited by the opportunity to explore this in a serious way.
I’m an animal lover (let’s get to planning what animals we’ll have at the community!) and a Vipassana meditator. I spend my time dancing, making dumplings, and having good hearty chats with friends old and new.
Leah Avital, Oregon USA
I was born and raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and traveled to Europe and Israel on my first trip abroad at age twenty. Plans to stay away for one year before returning to complete my college education quickly dissolved once the travel bug bit ! I spent 12 years traveling, working, living, and studying abroad. This period of my life culminated when I traveled to South Africa and married my husband Manny whom I had met many years before on the island of Kos in Greece.
We moved to the U.S. and settled in Berkeley, California. I resumed studying early childhood education and taught in various schools for 9 years. We relocated with our son Daniele to Ashland Oregon, a lovely small city surrounded by beautiful mountains.
Upon moving to Ashland, I found myself called to open a Waldorf inspired preschool & kindergarten of my own. I retired in spring of 2020 after 17 wonderful years that I treasured working in the presence of young children. Early Childhood Education and supporting young families has been and continues to be my passion.
I love walking in nature, gardening, singing, listening to music of various ethnicities, dancing,
watching hummingbirds, and learning a new language. I love Greek music and dancing ! I am passionate about Compassionate Communication, environmental issues, sustainable living, and Restorative Justice.
When discovering Greek Village Cohousing I immediately felt a very strong resonance. The mission of this community very much aligns with my values and goals to be connected to community; working, sharing and communicating with one another in healthy ways that build our humanity and model the values of care and kindness for our children. In addition, being surrounded by the magical landscape of the Greek countryside feeds a deep need to be nurtured by nature.
I look forward to potential new adventures, friends, experiences, and learning together while building a thriving new community.
Manny, Oregon &South Africa
I grew up in a unique and very beautiful part of the world, Cape Town, South Africa. As a young teenager I was always drawn to art and architecture. At college I studied construction management and cost control, including environmental resource management and spent the early part of my career gaining experience on commercial and residential projects.
My never-ending desire to travel and explore the world has alway been central to me. It inspired me to explore the Cape Peninsula, the Transkei in South Africa, and overland to Namibia (formerly SW Africa) and eventually to backpacking in Europe. I continued on to my first communal living experience on a kibbutz in Israel and eventually to Greece, where I met my wife, and simultaneously fell in love with the country, the beauty, music and culture.
In 1985 I emigrated to the USA and expanded my career working with a construction cost and project management company in San Francisco. I eventually founded my own consulting practice in providing cost analysis and value engineering for architects and owners on diverse projects throughout the west coast.
I love photography and have documented my travel experiences over the years. I’m very drawn to indigenous cultures, reading, drawing, writing spiritual poetry, painting, gardening, hiking, the ocean, music, personal growth practices, and exploring the wonders of nature.
I am drawn to Pare’s vision and approach to starting the first co-housing community in Greece. The vision of the GVC community embodies my interests in sustainable living, cultural diversity and creating a new life style in community.
Pare from Arizona
Our original founder, Pare Gerou, is a Greek American who fell in love with Greece while spending her childhood summers with family on Lesvos. She received her law degree from University of Virginia Law School and enjoyed a career in refugee law, as a Director of a Refuge Resettlement Agency, a Clinical Law Professor, solo practitioner, and refugee adjudicator for USCIS. She returned recently to Greece to develop a successful Greek legal aid organization for refugees on Lesvos and in Athens. Her Greek NGO, developed fully from idea to completed project, continues to thrive with an annual budget of over a million dollars. She also has experience living in cohousing for many years and found the experience of living in cohousing meaningful and transformative. Having a founder with cohousing experience is helpful not only to the creation of something successful, but also to the ability to vet the bona fides and ethics of the founder and group. The cohousing community of Touchstone has provided a letter of recommendation that speaks to her character here.
Her experiences in Greece as well as in cohousing inspired her to marry her two loves and form the first group devoted to creating cohousing in Greece-- Greek Village Cohousing. This project, amidst plentiful property sales and tax and visa incentives, is ideally timed. The need for cohousing in general has also struck a chord with many during this pandemic's time of reflection about the important things in life.