I often call my sister on the phone and say: "Ela (Hi) malaka! Or even when a Greek is supporting his/her favourite sports team, but they're losing? It's not always used aggressively, insultingly or angrily, but essentially endearingly. An educated woman is doomed in the face of a sweet ignorant one, the experienced one scores far fewer points than the innocent. If you are determined to get involved with a Greek man, there are several rules you should follow.The Greek woman, however, knows the rules, and the clever ones play the game to their own advantage. First, it is imperative that he NOT still live with his mother. "Ekleises kai bikes." (Closed and entered)If you've just turned, in English terms, 35, the Greeks will say you're 36. How many times has my Yiayia told me my fortune by looking at the coffee stains of her 'Eliniko café? *straightface I have these arguments with my Dad every year. " In the Greek culture, for some reason, unbeknownst to me, an extra year is added to your age. Some Greeks believe in the fortune telling of a coffee stain on a small cup so much, they will base their lives on that morning cuppa! But honestly speaking, superstition put aside, the coffee stains do really create images. Every Greek person has that one family member, normally a Yiayia, who travels back from wherever they've been with a suitcase filled to the point of explosion with spices.As a tourist, you can leave behind that dreary job, the relationship youve squeezed dry, and become someone new in a country with a beauty that few places can match, and a passionate people that truly enjoy having a good time. Being a Greek-American, I have come to know Greece both as a tourist and as a resident citizen.
Most Greek names have Saints associated to them, which means that almost every Greek person will have a name day to celebrate within the calendar year. Greeks consider name days to be of more importance than that of birthdays and tend to celebrate in a huge way. And by money, I mean money sneakily given to you by your Yiayia as if the best drug deal was about to go down. Everyone knows everyone elses' business and make it their business to know everything! Both my parents know how to do it and so they are my go-tos whenever I need.
Spitting for the Greek culture is a way of detracting any form of evil presence, taking the jinx off something and basically not tempting fate."Mum, my new job is going really well! " Mum to me: "You look so beautiful in that dress" Me: "Ftiseeeeee Maaaaaa! When we have instinct to spit, to 'protect' someone and we don't spit, it doesn't feel right. So careful we have the equivalent of fourteen eyes. In particular, my Gran's favourite move: the thigh slap.
Direct translations of our language always make me laugh, and by literally saying "your eyes fourteen", our elders are pre-warning us to be careful.
Greece is the land where you laze about on hot summer days and let your wild side out at night. No computer nerds herefor a Greek theres always room for fun and passion, as the story of the great Onassis so clearly demonstrates. To the tourist Greece can seem like Paradise, but when you live here, it often seems more like Purgatory.
Home to the all important erotas (love, passion, romance) Greece is a land that comes alive at night, where no one whos anyone goes out before midnight, nor to bed before dawn. As a woman, I have come to the sad conclusion that there is little respect for women as people in Greece.