Los Angeles is the city of dreams and the land of promises. Thousands of people move there every year to “make it big”, either in the entertainment industry or in other “untouchable” domains.
Cypriot Athlete, Yiannis Toumazis, is one of the people who moved to Los Angeles and pursue a career in Beach Tennis (a game combining elements of tennis and volleyball and played on a beach).
In an exclusive interview to Anna Krith’s Lifestyle, The Cypriot Athlete, explains his “California” dream and how he experiences the whole adventure in the “City of Angels”. He then, points out the main differences among the Cypriots and Americans. Yiannis, also, recalls the moment when he met his ultimate idol in Malibu and reflects on the future in Cyprus.
Α: Αnna Krith – Journalist
Y: Yiannis Toumazis – Quantity Surveyor/Beach Tennis Player
A: From Cyprus to London and then to Hollywood. Three different countries, with major impact in your life.
Y: Indeed. It all started 3 years ago. When I finished my studies, I was working in London as a Quantity Surveyor at a Construction Consultant, and at the same time I was playing beach tennis (in the team of National of England). I did my training once a week. After some months, a job opportunity in Los Angeles raised and so, I took the chance. I have to admit that at the very beginning, I was in shock. Especially, when I arrived at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) because things were completely different from what I expected; the people were all smiles and so friendly. I thought that this was utopia but after a month, I realized that things were just like the first day.
A: What do you like the most in LA? Do you have a special spot when you want to relax?
Y: Well, I like the fact that the weather in LA is always sunny and the people are open-minded and they mind their own business. They are so positive and that makes me feel energetic and I can honestly say that sometimes I smile for no reason. Also, I like that if you go somewhere on your own, without being accompanied by a friend, it is not weird. In Cyprus, for instance, if you do that people would judge you. My favorite spot is in Malibu; when I want to chill I prefer to visit “Nobu Malibu” and “MoonShadows”. Two of my favorite restaurants/bars. It took me 40 minutes to go there, from where I live but I don’t mind driving too long distances, since the view is breathtaking. It combines mountain and sea.
A: Which celeb fascinated you the most when you met him/her?
Y: I happened to see many famous people. When I first came to Los Angeles, I went for coffee with a friend of mine. And at some point, my friend turned around and whispered to me, “Jake Gyllenhaal is sitting behind you”. I did not believe him, until I looked at him myself. To be honest, I freaked out.
But I would like to mention, my acquaintance with Basketball player, LeBron James, whom I really admire.I was at the “Nobu Malibu” restaurant and sitting at the bar, when I suddenly saw one of LeBron’s team player. So, I thought LeBron might was there. I hesitated at first, but It was a great opportunity to get to meet my ultimate idol. So, I went to his table -he was accompanied by his wife- and I introduced myself and we had a short talk. It was his anniversary, so I did not want to interrupt their “moment”.
However, I must admit that now, I do not get so excited when I meet a famous person, because I got used to it.
A: When was the time you were really scared of something?
Υ: It was when I was surfing, due to the fact that there is a possibility to see sharks swimming in the ocean. I love taking risks and going out of my comfort zone. Indeed, the reward you take when you “invest” to dangerous things is quite big.
A: What’s your daily routine like?
Y: I wake up around 6:30 am and at 7:00, I go for training ’til 8:30 am. Then I go to work, and later – depending on whether it is summer or winter – I go either for walking on the beach or to eat in some place I have not been to. Recently, I started taking yoga classes. It helps me to create a balanced life and have positive energy.
A: When things do not go your way, how do you stay positive?
Y: All of us at some point in our lives we felt down. But, thinking the problem negatively does not help. You have to think positive and find a way to solve it. I totally believe, that if you can not change something bad that happened to you, you have to see it positively and to think about what you can learn from it. When you see things in a negative way, then other negative problems arise. On the contrary, when you look at it with a positive way, then you will attract many other positive things.
I relate myself to that; I remember that when I was working in a “Construction Consultant” company in LA, my predecessor was really negative. Due to his behavior, my mood was not at its peak and I felt the negative aura. But when I went to another company and I saw that the environment there was very good and functional, then I felt incredibly nice. So, it is all about “Good Vibes”.
A: For which reasons would you give up your life in Los Angeles and return back to Cyprus?
Y: For two reasons, I might have left Los Angeles: The first reason would be my family and the second one, if I wanted to create something unique in the island, that would , served something with foreign influence.
I am optimistic that things in Cyprus would get better. I believe that now we are on a rising course but, essentially, you have to think about how you want to craft the life you want for the future.