AFCLC Outreach Team
The mountainous area of Pelion, Greece is known for its spectacular beaches, quaint villages, and, lush scenery. For Barbara Williamson, this was the backdrop of her upbringing.
“My dad was in the military and my mother is from the Bay of Pegasus in Greece,” Williamson said, “when it came to assignments, my dad would request to be stationed in Greece near my mom’s family. I spent most of my developmental years overseas”.
At the Air Force Culture and Language Center, Williamson is known as the “IT wiz” who came from humble beginnings. As a child, she grew up picking fruit and milking goats at her grandmother’s farm in the village of Tsagarada or spending long days at the beach. At the time, she was fluent in Greek and spent most of her days spent outdoors with her family. The villages were filled with farmers and her relatives all lived within walking distance of one another. At the end of summer, she would return to her home in Athens where she attended school.
“I was always picking fruit or working outside. I did not grow up with color television or really any television,” she said, “our TV at home had two channels. I heard about cartoons [in color] from people who lived in the United States”.
When Williamson was in high school, her family relocated to Florida. After they moved to the U.S., she was quickly exposed to technology and discovered her love for computers.
“My dad was a huge influence, he was an electrical engineer,” she said, “when I went to school, I initially majored in psychology. But, I just kept gravitating towards the computer science program”.
Now, as a software and database developer for AFCLC’s language skills tracking program LEADeR, which stands for Language Enabled Airman Development Resource, Williamson is living out her dreams. She said she still talks with family overseas and often craves food from home. Her favorite dish: spetsofai.
“It’s a regional food from that area,” Williamson said, “it’s poached egg in a spicy tomato sauce, banana peppers, and sausage links. It’s really good and it reminds me of my mom and home”.
For Williamson, the word ‘home’ has many different meanings. The self-described “military brat” has traveled all over the world and is a firm believer in the phrase “home is where the heart is”.
“I’ve always been told ‘home is where you hang your hat’,” Williamson said, “I’ve been here for many years now. Montgomery is also my home.”