Nikos Paragios - Personal

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I am the second son of Irene and Konstantinos Paragyios. Alina is my lovely wife, an attorney in law, Ph.D. in International Law. She is a constant source of inspiration, love (spending) and peace in my life. She is now practicing law in Paris. Prior to that she worked for the United Nations Development Program, and taught at the School of Diplomacy & International Relations at Seton Hall University. My parents live between Karpathos & Rhodes and from time to time they visit their lost son. My father used to be an elementary school teacher who turned himself to a local (Karpathos) politician upon retirement while my mother used to be an entrepreneur with several business in her resume.  I have two brothers who still leave in homeland, the magnificent island of Rhodes: Petros (high school teacher) and Vasilis (attorney in law).

Karpathos (72-82) and all summers

I grew up (until I was nine) at a small village (Mesochori - 350 permanent habitants ) of a small remote island (Karpathos) hidden somewhere on the south part of the Aegean Sea (Greece). While we moved to Rhodes at the fourth grade I continued to spend every summer at Messohori. We had a small summer family business (cafeteria), and I was one of the employees. This experience made me an expert in preparing Greek coffee. I continued to do that until my late years of graduate studies, that was a lot of fun at the very beginning. We used to spend our late nights playing cards and in many cases we used to sit around a big fire at the beach.

Rhodes (82-90)

When I was nine, my parents decided that is time to move to a bigger island (Rhodes) and a city (capital) if possible so we can get a better education (it worked pretty well). It took me some time to get used to the new environment. New school, new friends, new activities. While I spent nine years there, I don't have much of memories. I made some good friends, but still looking back the only thing I can remember is the hard work for the university exams. It was three years of hell, where I worked hard and missed a lot of things of teenage life.

Crete (90-96)

I became a "phenomenon" back on 90 (for my village standards), when I have gone through the university exams and I managed to be accepted to the most prestigious and promising departments at that time, the Computer Science Department of University of Crete. While I had no contact with computers at that time, the elders advised me that computers is the future, so I ended up in Heraklion. This accomplishment made me a raising start at Mesochori.  While I graduate in 94, first of the entire college of Sciences and with the highest honors and I spent two more years in Heraklion, seeking a M.Sc. degree that came in 96 with the highest honors.  I am not so sure if I did the right things in Heraklion. If I could turn the clock back, I would have done so many things much differently. I think that I was too mature for my age and I was looking for things while the timing was wrong.

Rennes/Nice - France (95-99)

During the winter 95-96 I spent four months as an exchange student in Rennes, a freezing city at the north-west part of France. At that time I didn't speak any French and I can tell many funny and not so funny stories because of my ability to communicate with other people in Rennes. I thought that going to USA for graduate studies was too far away and I will never make it back. Consequently, even if I had a dramatic experience, I decided to pursue graduate studies in France. While my first preference was Rennes, I ended up in Nice, one of the most beautiful places in Europe.

I was awarded a fellowship from the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA), a very prestigious institution at the Sophia Antipolis unit. This unit is located between Nice, Cannes and Monaco. I am sure that it was a hard decision for the French ministry of Education & Research this selection. I spent three years in a small apartment not far away from the old town of Antibes. The two most important things of my life (up to know) took place in this small town. I met Alina (my wife) and I received my Ph.D. degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering (highest honors) from one of the most well know groups in Computer Vision (make computers see). Alina, was a graduate student in International Law. Looking back, I have hard time to understand how I convinced her to date me give my capabilities in expressing myself in French. Anyway, I did it and I realize that she is a great person full of love. Thanks to her I have improved my French and now I can claim that I speak fluently. She promised me  that she will learn some Greek but up to now she doesn't seem to be very motivated, so I had to take some actions. It is part of our deal moving back to France that she will learn some Greek.

Princeton - USA (99-04)

On November 99, we moved to the land of opportunity. I worked for five years at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, New Jersey. Something went wrong in this place from the very beginning and looking back I don't see the main reason (I presume that the fact that Alina stayed in Europe). I was complaining all the time and the whole duration of my stay there, I was saying that is time to leave. Of course after some time people didn't pay attention to my statements anymore and when I told them that I was going back to France, they didn't believe me. During four years in USA, we moved three times. In the mean time, I asked Alina to marry me, and we did that on March 31, 01 (the date is pretty good, hard to forget the anniversary) when she became officially Alina Paragyios.  Our wedding ceremony took place in Antibes and I was so exited that  I did yes twice for myself and her as well. On August, 2004 we re-affirmed our commitment to each other at my home island, Karpathos.

On November 01, we became permanent residents and on April 02, we bought our house at Plainsboro. It is a great four-bedroom house that we are missing a lot in Paris. While I wasn't a handy man, we turned out to be a solid team (with Alina). We did repair/remodel many things in the house. It was really unfortunate that we had to leave when the house was in its best shape. On March 03, Alina went successful through her Ph.D. defense. Now we are looking to the future as a Ph.D. Our kids will have to live up to high expectations.

Paris (04-)

While life in USA was fairly easy, and we had the luxury of doing many trips, etc. we decided to move back to Europe for a while. Distance from our families, lack of vacations as well as better quality of life (I am not sure how this can happen with less money) made us take the big decision and move to Paris. I am grateful to SCR, despite my complaints it offered me so much. Of course, one has to assume consequences, that are harsh; we have to move to 75m^2 apartment in Paris (Alina is worried about our furniture if it can fit, I had to come up with a solution), and I had to see my salary down sized by at least a factor of two. Now I am professor at the "Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees" that is free translation is "School of Bridges & Roads" and Alina is practicing law. Still we are looking forward to this new chapter of our life, Paris is an appealing place to be. We haven't settled down yet, but we are optimistic that we will make it. Alina is now practicing law in the areas of "Droit du Travail, Lincenciement et Harcelement Moral au Travail":

and she is extremely happy with that.  We spend almost almost a year doubting about our decision moving to Paris, in retrospective it looks like that it was the right one. We also manage to change the plates of the US-imported car after 11 motnhs. On April 2005, we moved out of Paris, in the first suburb on the east side, Vincennes. We bought an old (19th century) renovated apartment, it is a great feeling living in your place. On November 2005, I left the ENPC - despite being happy there -, after spending almost 2 years in this place and now I am part of another famous school (like ENPC), the Ecole Centrale de Paris.

Paris (06-) with our son

On March 30th, 2006 our son was born, an event who changed our lives. One of my friends has said me once you have your own children, you cannot regret for any of the decisions you have taken up to this point in your life and this is definitely the case. It is an amazing feeling and is unbelievable how much emotion ca cause a 3-4 month baby who is unable to talk, to walk, to eat on his own.  In September 2006, I was part of the top 35 scientists under the age of 35 of the Technology Review of MIT. This award made me again very famous in Greece, and in particular in my home village. I did spent a lot of time answering to the same questions like how important is this award for you, how did it change your life, etc...However, nothing changed in my life, I still take our son in the morning at the day care, arrive mid-morning in the office and coming back home around 7:00PM. What really changed in our lives is seeing our son growing, walking, running and talking. We were quite eager to see him walk, it seems that now we have to spend most of our time running after him to be sure that he doesn't hurt himself, and our apartment serves now more  like an storage for his toys where the notion of order is not defined.

Paris (08-) with our second son

On August 6th, 2008 our second son came to this world.