Date of birth: 19/10/82
Where do you live: St. Julian’s
Star Sign: Libra
Main occupation: Multi-tasking mum (online marketer, translator, writer)
Elisavet Arkolaki was born in Athens, Greece in 1982. She studied French Language and Literature at the University of Athens and did her Masters Degree in Global Marketing at the University of Liverpool. Her love for travelling made her relocate to France, Malta, Spain and Norway. Over the years, she has travelled to over 30 countries.
Eventually, she chose to settle in Malta where she got married and gave birth to her son. Her love for words has inspired her to work as a correspondent for a Greek magazine and to publish short stories and articles.
Her short story Filling the Parcel was featured in the Maltese publication. Unbroken Words was published in February 2014. With her husband Roy Pedersen, they own and run the iGaming translations agency All-in Translations.
In July 2013, just three weeks before she gave birth, she started a popular blog among mums. She has recently launched a new service for parents in Malta, the maltamum card – maltamum.com
When did you move to Malta and what brought you here?
I first moved to Malta in November 2006. I had just turned 24 and was looking for new experiences. An interesting job offer came along and within a month I had moved here. In September 2008, I left Malta, only to return in May 2011.
What is a very popular expression in Greek and what does it mean?
‘Όπου γη και πατρίς’ (opou gi ke patris) which means ‘home for a person is the land where he prospers’. This is quite similar to the Italian motto, ‘Ubi bene ibi patria’ which can be literally translated as, ‘Where I am at ease, there is (my) country’.
Becoming a mum generally changes your lifestyle. Can you mention three things in your life which have really changed?
I go almost everywhere with my ten month old son. If my boy is not welcome, I never attend. The parties I now attend are for babies and kids.
There’s no place for fashion in my life right now, only comfortable clothes and accessories. Hair is tugged at, earrings and necklaces are pulled off. I don’t have long nails so as not to scratch him. I choose clothes which are comfortable when it comes to breastfeeding and for carrying him around. I no longer wear high heels. The only bag I use is a big backpack filled mainly with baby stuff.
I have no time for myself. As we have no relatives here except for my sister, we need to do everything ourselves. 24 hours are not enough when you have a baby, a job and a house to take care of. I used to be the kind of person who needed her beauty sleep, a minimum of eight hours please! Now if I manage three hours of uninterrupted sleep, I feel rested.
Do you find Malta as small as it really is?
Everything is relative. I grew up in Athens, a city of about 5 million people, so in my eyes, Malta is indeed a small country. But that is the beauty of it. I love the island life. It reminds me of life on a Greek island, with possibly less options than in a large city, but which offers a better quality of life.
When distances are short, you stress less and can fit in so many things in your day. You can catch up with your friends at the last minute. Over the years, I have made some very good friends here and I consider Malta to be my second home. When I get the feeling that Malta is ‘too small’, I take a trip abroad and then I am always happy to come back.
What motivated you to launch maltamum?
Obviously my baby boy :). The idea of such a blog had been with me since I found out that I was pregnant, and although I was super happy, I felt a bit lost. I didn’t know anything about pregnancy or babies. Plus, I was going through this experience in a foreign country and I had no idea how to go about things, what kind of questions to ask and to whom.
I researched and read everything I could about babies and pregnancy and then, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, the nesting feeling kicked it and I got a burst of energy. Instead of preparing my baby’s nursery, I set up the maltamum blog to create an online community for mums where we can share our experiences and knowledge and help each other.
A couple of months after I gave birth, when I saw the bills gathering and estimated the massive amount of money spent on all sorts of baby-related items, plus the everyday family needs, I came up with the idea of the maltamum card. The purpose of this card is to help mums who live in Malta to keep on shopping at the best shops and at the best prices.