At Crikos they host stories of people from all over the world! Their vision is to show everyone’s positive side and to inspire everyone to give and do more. They create a positive chain reaction and reshape the way we see life.
Maryam Rezaei gave me the opportunity to share my life’s story. I am more than grateful for this unique experience.
It comes a point in life where you have to stop and take a breath. To look back and value the journey. This interview helped me understand that in some cases sharing needs more courage than doing. – Areti Vassou
The Lionhearted courageous woman racing for time since she was born…yet she has achieved enough to last for several lifetimes!
Some stories are just beyond words…beyond perception! Trying to listen to them tell their story is an almost impossible task, as every sentence is a gold mine…every sentence is a whole book to read about! The story you are about to read is of a woman whom I thought I knew but believe neither me nor will you ever possibly begin to comprehend… to understand how it was and is to live in her shoes.
Her name is Areti Vassou and it is a great pleasure to call her our new Crikos Ambassador! She is a woman that slips under the radar, a woman extremely humble, genius, thoughtful and generous in every way possible, an expert in so many fields, a lionhearted courageous compassionate woman! A woman who calls herself “stowaway of life”…
It will be very hard for me to try to give you the essence of this woman in only one page… but I will do my best. Areti Vassou was born in Germany in the early ’70s only under 23weeks old. The doctors gave her parents no chance of living, as back then they would leave infants that young to die of hunger because they were considered a lost cause. It is very different to read about it than to see a picture of such a young baby… believe me, I did after our talk and I burst into tears trying to imagine what she has been through from day one.
Luckily for her and for all of us that know her, despite the objections of the hospital, her doctor actually decided to give her a chance to live! And after 3 and a half months of her stay in the infant incubator, with many health problems, her doctor delivering her to her parents, told them that she will be lucky to live until her 10 year of age and most definitely without being able to talk, walk and would be mentally handicapped.
Areti living with this notion from day one has lived her every single day knowing that there may not be a tomorrow! And you would argue that we all might not be here any split second but it is completely a different story when from day one you are reminded that you are not going to live…to live half of your life in the hospital till 6th grade…to be treated by her parents and everybody like: “let her be as she will not be here for long”…!
So now meet the real Areti Vassou; A woman who has been saying to herself from as long as she remembers: “Areti you don’t have the skills or physical strengths to do it, but who cares, just go for it, you have nothing to lose”!!! A woman who believed the only barrier is our minds and our belief of what we can and can’t do! Ok, so if I were to write down all the things she has achieved to this day I would need dozens of pages…so here it is in very short.
In elementary and by accident she found herself solving a math problem of her sister in 6grade and the teacher noticed it, only to find that she is a gifted child and has one of the highest IQs in the world! At 12 years of age, she started coding as a hobby only to work in Google and Apple later (I will explain later on). 16 years old, hanging out at her sister’s college, she was recognized by the teachers there for her exceptional talent in philosophy and she received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy without having finished school!!!
She also received a scholarship through her sister’s college to many European colleges as an invited student in their summer courses and with an exceptional score, one of the universities being Harvard. With extremely difficult health issues, she was a great athlete in weight lifting and boxing with 3rd place in the weight lifting European games and if it wasn’t for her knee accident she would have taken part in the Olympics. She has studied graphic design, interior architecture, psychology, history of art, coding, music, mathematics, digital marketing, web design.
She has traveled ALL over the world except 3 countries: New Zealand, Australia, and North Korea before she hit 30. As an artist, she has exhibited her paintings in the most famous galleries in the world. Has published two books on poetry that have traveled all over the world. Speaks 6 languages. She has received many international awards for her work.
She had the privilege to work next to Steve Jobs in her early twenties and later to live the Google making experience during their first years. And all this and so much more with severe lung problems from birth where it literally keeps her from doing what is considered to most of us as “de facto”.
But also having survived cancer plus having inherited two difficult autoimmune health issues she says with enthusiasm of a child: “I wake up every morning saying, OH YES I AM HERE…I AM HERE”!!! Truly breathe taking seeing such courage beyond words…!
In 2000, and after spending 70% of her time in the US and only 30% in her home country while meeting the love of her life, she decided to move permanently back to Greece and work remotely. She established her own company, Ideadeco, which then provided services blended from all the things she loved, marketing, web design, and interior design. Today they provide digital marketing strategy, SEO & content creation, and business blogging services.
As if all that she has done wasn’t enough, Areti does a lot of volunteering work too! She has helped many people who were affected hugely by the big fire in Mati, to find jobs and to get back on their feet. Since 2018, she supports refugees to build their lives in Greece, by empowering their digital skills via Social Hackers Academy. But also she helps senior people to learn to communicate with their loved ones through technology and by supporting many families in every way she can.
Areti Vassou is unique in every way… I was sitting across her trying not to be shocked and show my sentimentality while she was telling me “I haven’t done much and I am not sure if my story deserves to be heard”!!! Seriously she is extremely humble and self-suffice, not wanting to capture the lights…but what she doesn’t see is that she doesn’t need any lights since she is THE LIGHT herself!