Monday, July 04, 2005
Today makes one year since Greece won Euro 2004. I followed most of their surprising rise in Euro 2004, only to forget what day the final was on and walk into the living room seconds after the trophy had been handed over. Talk about bad timing. At the time I didn't think much of it, seeing as I hadn't anticipated my soon-to-unfold love affair with Greece. In exactly one month's time, I would be flying to Athens for the first time to volunteer at the Olympics. Except I didn't know it then.
So Greece had Euro 2004, they had Athens 2004, then they got Eurovision 2005 and now they have ME! The summer of 2004 was pure magic for me. As volunteers at the Olympics, we got all kinds of funky perks such as free tickets to the final dress rehearsal of the opening ceremony, the next best thing to being at the real deal. I don't know what it is about this place, but sitting in the crowd with everyone around me chanting "Hellas, Hellas" I felt.... well... Greek!
Here in Greece they say it's not nationality that makes you Greek, it's your attitude. That said my lack of interest in drinking or smoking makes me a bit of an oddity. That and the fact that I came to spend three months in the Med without knowing how to swim. Never mind, I had plenty of people willing to teach me.
Another thing that takes some getting used to is the Greek custom of kamakia, roughly translated as harpooning, or in more familiar terms cat calling. Yes ladies, men of all shapes and sizes go into overdrive according to what you wear. The more skin on show, the more cat calls you get and the higher the volume. The first day I went out wearing a skirt, a boring little brown office number, this big guy on a motorcycle crooned "Yia sou koritzi mou" (hello my girl) Bleauh! Koritzi yourself!