Κυριακή, 17 Οκτωβρίου 2010
My Big Fat Greek Family
09/24/08 - 10/15/08
Our reasons for coming to Greece were many. After over seven months traveling through Asia and Africa we longed for a good dose of Western culture, and, as we would sometimes joke, a break to let our bodies decontaminate from the food bacteria, ringworm, etc. we picked up along the way! Also, I wanted to show Hannah my birthplace, have her pick up a bit of the Greek along the way, and introduce her to my grandmothers and other family in the area. After all, we will be having a big fat Greek wedding soon enough... why not let her meet the big fat Greek family we'll be inviting!
Certain parts of Greek culture are hard to swallow. Greeks like to complain. It doesn't have to do with their economic situation or their health, they just like to talk about their problems with one another. Having just come from Ethiopia, by far the poorest country I have ever been to, and having seen the heart and happiness of its inhabitants, it's tough to listen to this complaining without thinking how ridiculous it sounds. What do you mean the doctor made you wait an extra five minutes before seeing you? At least you have access to a doctor! At least you can get clean water, reliable public transportation, fresh produce, ATMs, or even police protection! The more I stayed in Greece, however, the more I realized that this 'complaining' isn't really complaining. It's part of their culture and it's the way things are done around here, for good or bad. As sure as you'll find surfers talking about their last surf session, or Indians talking about their team's most recent cricket match, you'll find Greeks sharing their problems with one another! We have, however, committed not to incorporate this particular example of 'do-it-like-the-locals' in our lives back home!!
We took a day trip to the island of Aegina, which is famous for delicious pistachios, with my parents and my dad's brother Mike and his family. Each area in Greece has a patron saint and Aegina's is Saint Nectario. Legend has it that you can hear Saint Nectario's bones cracking if you listen closely to his resting place. We listened intently and, although I couldn't hear anything, others swore they could hear the bones cracking.
We also took another break from Athens and traveled to the island of Evia with my parents. We were excited to visit the city of Edipso which is famous for having natural hot springs. What nobody bothered to mention to us, however, is that only old people, a.k.a. 'gerries', bother to go to Edipso during the off-season. So here we are, my Mom, Dad, and Hannah dressed up in our swimwear and ready to go in to the natural hot spring pool of our hotel when we notice that there's nobody under age 70 in the pool! And, to add insult to injury, you have to have a doctor examine you and sign off that you are healthy enough to go into the piping hot 85 degree (F) water! Ha ha... what a good laugh we got out of that!
Of course our most memorable moments were spent with family at lunches and dinners, and stuffing ourselves with delicious Greek cooking until our pants burst at the seams and we had to be rolled home. Hannah was absolutely amazing with everyone and was easily accepted as part of the big fat Polytaridis family! Click here for even more.
Our stay in Greece continues for quite a while longer. In between Hannah's Greek lessons we'll be checking out out some of the famous islands of the country. Next, we head to Greece's Ionian Sea to check out Homer's (as in the author of the Illiad and the Odessey) home in Ithaki and the largest island of the area, Kefalonia.