Our First Greek Birthday Party

Liam got invited to his first birthday party from a Greek classmate, a sweet little boy whose parents I’d met at a school valentine’s day brunch. Their son came to the school shortly before Liam did, and he knew pretty much zero English. I’ve seen him in the classroom, and he’s making excellent progress. Liam says he likes to teach him English words, and it opened up a discussion about how difficult it must be to learn in a language you don’t know, and how he should be extra helpful and nice to this boy.

Something I learned about Greek birthday parties: they’re almost always at night. Thursday night our next door neighbors had a party for their school-aged grandson, and they partied until well after 10:00 PM. Thankfully, our house shutters muffled most of the rowdiness. We had four soccer balls and a boomerang in our backyard to throw back over the hedge the next morning.

Olympic Village…pretty but hot.
Friday night’s party started at 5:30 and lasted until 9. Violet and I have the WORST summer cold right now, so I decided it would be best to drop Liam off. I had a helleva time finding the place. I blamed my GPS, but now suspect it was the three-day lack of sleep that screwed me. After wandering around the Olympic village on foot for 20 minutes while carrying a sick infant in 98-degree heat, I finally called the parents and asked for more precise directions. Back in the car I drove 50 feet down the road and there it was plain as day. Sheesh.


The party was at Replayce, an open gym play space where the kids could do relays and fun, sporty activities. After our walk in the heat I wasn’t sure Liam would be in the mood. But he perked right up when he saw his friends. I shouldn’t be surprised – this isn’t the first time Liam and I have wandered around a huge stadium parking lot trying to find something. It seems this is my lot in life here in Athens!

At Liam’s behest, I got contact info from a couple of parents whose boys like to play with Liam so we can have some play dates over the summer. It’s amazing how much he’s come out of his shell – a year ago he almost never mentioned any of the kids he would play with at school, much less ask if we could have them over. I really wish I could have stayed – there was wine and plenty of food – but that walk in the sun just about did me in. This cold is the pits!

When I came back at 9, I found Liam sitting at a table eating cake. The birthday boy’s mother said she just LOVED him, that he’d been very polite, asking Please for cake, and Thank You for burgers. He told me he’d eaten 3 hotdogs and 1 burger, no buns and no salad. My children are such carnivores! He also said he’d thanked the cake servers in Greek. His pronunciation is getting much better – I still struggle with it. Fare-eesh-stow…that’s closer to how it sounds.

On the way home we got stuck in traffic on the exit to our house. There are always panhandlers selling things or trying to squeegee your windshield walking up and down the lane there. Tonight’s dude was walking down the middle of the road, coming up on our passenger side. Liam yelled out, “Oh-hee! Oh-hee!” as the guy passed. My kid is so worldly now, yelling “no” in Greek to panhandlers. I wonder what his cousins will make of that when we see them this summer.

3 thoughts on “Our First Greek Birthday Party

  1. Julie Weddle

    I am SO sorry you and Violet are so sick! Maybe you should try some extra Vitamin C. A summer cold is especially bad!
    Looks like Liam really is coming out of his shell! I can’t believe you left him at a party by himself with people that don’t even speak English all that well. Am I right about that? And he wasn’t fussy about what he ate, either! Amazing! I may not recognize him when I see him!


    1. mandysmusings

      Ha ha, that does sound like I just dropped him off in a foreign land. The parents both spoke excellent English, and they had my cell number just in case. The party was well supervised, so he was fine. I got the feeling he did a lot of socializing with the other adults — like father like son!


  2. Pingback: Mastering two wheels in Athens – Greece is the Word

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