“Tell your friends, your lady friends, that Greek men are the greatest in the world. And Greece is the most beautiful country in the world.” This from the gregarious (Is there any other kind?) Greek man at Loukumami in Halandri. The kids and I stopped by so Liam could try the loukoumades, and after a lively conversation about America and Greece, our new friend insisted on paying for our treats himself. He was with a couple of other people, one female, so it wasn’t completely weird. Liam and I thanked him in both English and Greek, then impressed them with an enthusiastic “Yasas!”
Today marks four months we’ve been living in Greece. The driving, the shopping, the speaking, the cultural differences…I’ve grown accustomed to what seemed so foreign such a short time ago. I’ve learned the correct response to “Where are you from?” is “America” because you’ll just get a quizzical look if you reply, “The United States.” When the ladies go bananas for Violet and start asking me questions in Greek, I reply with her name and her age in English, which both answers their questions and indicates that I only speak English. Euro coins come in 2, 1, 50 cents, 20 cents, 5 cents, 2 cents, and 1 cent, which constantly overflow my wallet, but come in handy for tolls and the laiki. The ridiculously high sales tax (23%) does not apply to food, thankfully, but it does apply to just about everything else. For large purchases we can get a tax exemption, but it’s such a pain in the ass, we’ve only done it one time. We order almost everything online.
This summer many of my embassy friends will be scattering to the wind, and a new crop of families will be moving in. I’d like to think I can pay forward all of this useful advice I’ve received. I’ll get to impart my nuggets wisdom, as it were. Though I still have a lot to see and learn here…four months in and 44 to go!