Galinie Zisimopoulou's Move from the UK to Brooklyn to Greenwich, CT

Galinie Zisimopoulou’s Move from the UK to Brooklyn to Greenwich, CT

Galinie Zisimopoulou is a stay-at-home mom in Greenwich, CT balancing life with a pre-schooler and her Etsy store. Originally from Greece, Galinie gives us a peek into her life in Greenwich, CT. Here is Galinie Zisimopoulou’s move from the UK to Brooklyn to Greenwich, CT.

Tell me about your journey to the suburbs

I am originally from Greece I grew up in a small town at the Eastern part of mainland Greece in Thrace. I loved my childhood there, the close proximity to everything, the relaxed lifestyle. I moved to the UK in 2002 in order to continue my studies and lived there for 15 years. I loved the UK and the Town of Reading, Berkshire which is where I lived. I moved to the US in 2016  because my husband wanted to return home and we moved to Bay Ridge Brooklyn where we stayed for a year. Brooklyn was nice and vibrant and we enjoyed having such a large Greek Community there and the friends my husband had but when we visited Greenwich during a long weekend I knew this was the place I wanted to live and raise my child (George). George was 14 months old when he first moved to the US and 2 years old when he moved to Greenwich.

Why did you choose to move to Greenwich? What other towns were you looking at?

We did consider staying in Brooklyn and also considered other areas in Queens but once I visited Greenwich I really knew that it was the place for us. My husband had previously lived in Greenwich too while working in Stamford and so he always wanted to move here once he had a family too. We liked Greenwich because of the beautiful scenery it offers, the proximity to the beach that we can use in the summer, the fact that it has great commute routes to Grand Central, fantastic public school options and of course lower taxes than New York. I loved the fact that it reminded me so much of the UK and I enjoyed the fantastic nature that it offers, the parks and various sights for kids. 

When you moved to Greenwich, did you know anyone? How did you make friends?

We did know one couple who my husband was friends with for many years which really helped. They also have a young child and so we bonded very soon and still remain good friends. We bought a house when we moved here and we happened to meet the former owners’ of our house who we became really good friends with too. They introduced us to some more people as well and we met our neighbours also who are also great. I found that people are very friendly and it is easy to meet new people even from the gym, playground for people who have young kids and also through neighbours and other friends. For people with young children I would recommend that they join toddlers’ groups there are quite a few in the area and also check the Local Library schedule because they have some really nice programs for babies and toddlers and really nice training sessions for adults too. I have met a few people through the Library too. 

Another nice way for newcomers to meet people and get involved in community life is through registering to volunteer at a local charity chapter. I volunteer for JDRF and met some really nice people through there. 

Can you describe your social life?

We enjoy joining family activities at the moment, go out for lunch to local restaurants. Greenwich and the wider area (Stamford and Norwalk) has a variety of nice activities for Kids museums, farms and different programs through YMCA and YWCA as well. We are in the process of finding a baby sitter now so that we can go to the Cinema or go out for a meal without our 3 year old.

How old are your kids? What do you like to do with your kids in Greenwich or in the area?

My boy is 3 years old. He likes going to playgrounds, parks. He loves the Stepping Stones Museum for children, the Norwalk aquarium, the Stamford Museum and Nature centre. And there are still a lot of things we visited like the Audubon reserve as well as the Island Beach which believe it or not we haven’t gone to visit yet.  

What are the best playgrounds and parks in the area?

We love the Byram playground, Bruce Park and playground as well as the Glenville playground too. Most of them have things for younger toddlers to older children and my son loves all of them. The new swimming pool is really nice as well although they could do a bit better with creating more shade with people perhaps next year. Todds Point park is absolutely amazing. We loved going to the beach during the summer but also nice to go for a run there when the weather is nice.

What are some things you don’t like about Greenwich?

I am really struggling to answer this cause I do find it hard to think of things I don’t like. One thing that could improve is the parking meters, they could be updated to allow credit card payments in all areas. I would also really like if it had more places where kids and adults could go for a coffee, perhaps a coffee place with a toddler area where children could be occupied, or maybe more outside areas like beer gardens, etc. that we could use more of during spring and autumn months. But apart from that I would say that Greenwich is the perfect place for family life as it’s close enough to the City that you don’t feel isolated and can go as often as you would like. However, there are really nice shops on Greenwich Avenue and also around the area where you can get everything you want without having to go into the City.

After living here for many years, how would you describe Greenwich residents?

All the Greenwich residents I have met have been friendly and nice. They are always happy to help with advice and give pointers as to what to do or where to go. I haven’t had any negative experience at all. 

What are your favorite restaurants in Greenwich or in the area?

We really enjoy going to Little Pub in Cos Cob and the Harvest on Greenwich Avenue. L’Escale is also a really lovely place it has beautiful grounds, wonderful view and nice brunch menu.  

What are your go-to places in Greenwich or in the area?

We like going to Meli Melo on Greenwich avenue for quick lunches if we are doing shopping. And we really enjoy the coffee at CFCF Cafe again on Greenwich Avenue. 

Are you a member of a country club/beach club/yacht club?

We are not members of any country club as yet but maybe we will join in the future. 

What has your experience been so far with schools in Greenwich?

Greenwich has a good variety of schools and great public school ratings. My son goes to preschool here he loves the program and the teachers are wonderful. We are very pleased so far. But I am sure any new parents will have plenty of choices and options when it comes to choosing day care centres or preschools for their kids in Greenwich. Some of them also offer longer hours for families where both parents work which is great.

Do you or your spouse commute to the city? What has your experience been with the commute?

My husband commutes into New York City once a week currently. His experience is positive he always finds a seat on the train and the trains are pretty descent. It takes about 50 minutes to Grand Central which is really good and most times the trains run on time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get a parking space at the train station but because he only goes once a week it wasn’t a big issue for us. But I do hear from friends and acquaintances that it has become very difficult to get a parking space in Greenwich

Any tips/advice you wished someone had given you when you were looking to move to the suburbs?

No specific advice, but just do it! Greenwich offers a lot to people in general but most definitely for families. It’s a great place to live.

About Galinie Zisimopoulou

Galinie Zisimopoulou was a social worker with years of experience in Child Protection in the UK. She is currently a stay-at-home mom balancing life with a pre-schooler and her Etsy store. She volunteers at the local JDRF chapter as a Gala Committee member. She is very passionate about supporting JDRF’s mission since she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 14. She lives with her husband and son in Greenwich, CT.

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