/ Modified jun 27, 2012 5:20 p.m.

Greece: Hoping for Better Days

Tucsonan laments his homeland's turmoil, lauds its opportunities

Tony Paniagua speaks to UA doctoral student George Papadimitrou about the recent political and financial turmoil in Greece that is part of the larger bailout dilema in Europe. George is originally from Greece and he has friends and family members who are facing many of the challenges we often hear about in the news.

George Papadimitrou - UA Doctoral Student, Citizen of Greece (VIDEO: AZPM)

Millions of Greek citizens have been dealing with economic turmoil and uncertainty as part of the ongoing discussions about the Eurozone and the bailouts.

Now they are getting a better chance to concentrate on possible measures to ease the financial pain and difficulties.

The country is settling down after a June 17 election in which a party that supports the bailout and tough austerity measures received the plurality of the votes. Now, it is working with others to form a coalition government.

George Papadimitriou has been watching the developments from Tucson, where he is a nuclear scientist at the University of Arizona.

He still has friends and family members in his native Mediterranean country which has been experiencing a social and emotional roller coaster in the past few years.

Pride and optimism during the 2004 Olympics have been replaced by anger and confusion in recent months.

He says some family members have taken thousands of dollars in salary or retirement cuts, while highly-educated friends are trying to make ends meet however they can.

"They work several jobs but not the things that they studied," Papadimitriou says.

He adds that much of what happened in Greece can be compared to the financial crisis in the United States a few years ago, when loans were made readily available to people who were not really qualified and would eventually default on their obligations.

And while serious challenges continue, there is at least one positive note for Greece right now.

A record number of bookings are being reported in the country, which will bring back a needed economic boost for some of the people who are struggling there.

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