Friday, April 27, 2007

Okay You Got Me

June makes one full year since I officially moved to Athens. So I guess that means that this is home now. Somehow it only occurred to me today.
I can do it. I found a rental shop tucked away downtown that sells double-movie Bollywood DVDs for €2. Who needs Mum's cooking!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We're Not Perfect

I am flagging this post well in advance to say that there is a chance I'm going to offend Greeks with it. If you're Greek and easily offended LOOK AWAY NOW! You've been warned, don't leave me offensive comments later.

This morning I was watching the news when a story popped up about two elderly nuns who have been strangled in a Greek monastery which was then robbed. It's terrible that two such peaceful women had to lose their lives in such a violent way. But I was very disappointed to see and hear the whole 'It must have been the Albanians' debate again.

Can we please agree that Greece is essentially just like any other society on the planet? There are good things and bad things, good people and bad people, well-adjusted people and a minority of psychotic social misfits with evil and murderous intentions - and yes, there is a chance that such a person is Greek and that such a person killed those two nuns. The 'Let's just blame the Albanians' thing is getting irritating, not to mention it's as racist as America's 'Let's just blame the Young Black Male.'

You can't say that because Greeks respect nuns too much they would never dream of doing such a thing and robbing the monastery afterwards. Every society has it's exceptions to the norm. If you were to follow the same rules, in a society like Greece which adores children, you would expect that children never, ever get molested or abused. But sadly this does happen, and sadly it does happen from Greek adults towards Greek children,because there are some members of society who don't respect any moral standards and yes, THEY COULD BE GREEK!

Let me please declare that I much prefer to live in Greece at the moment than any of my other options (Misogynist Homeland, Messed-up UK) I am not attacking Greece for the heck of it. I just want to say that being Greek doesn't put you above the depraved aspects of being a human being, and neither does being Albanian make you more prone to them. Also, I belong to an ethnic minority, and I can't say 'Well this is none of my business because I'm not Albanian', because tomorrow if the spotlight turns on my race, then what? Who's going to stand up for me and say 'Guys, let's all calm down a bit and think about this over a frappe, eh?' As much as I respect Greece and her culture, it would be irresponsible of me not to question the small details that can get so much worse if left to fester.
If the culprits of this incident turn out to genuinely be Albanian (and not just scapegoats) then fair enough. But nobody died and made us judge, jury and executioner.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Athens Exchange is up!

Since some of you expressed interest in an online area where us folks in Athens could get rid of our clutter and make a little money, Athens Exchange is now up courtesy of yours truly. It works like this:
  1. Email the address listed on the page ( with what you want to sell, your asking price, terms and contacts and I'll list it for you. Simple. You are then responsible for completing the transaction. It's FREE!
  2. If you have a bad experience, use the comments function to flag up bad sellers, a bit like ebay
  3. If you're unsure, take a look at the page and the first listing.

I am going to run it via the blog entry titles. Hence the first one there says Books. Each time I get a request to list a book, I'll update the post with the new items for sale. I'll see how that goes and find another way if it fails.

Please let people know about this so we can get it running!

Happy exchanging. Oh, and don't laugh at what athensexchange looks like as one word.

Oh No You Don't!

By the way, I forgot to add the tiny detail of being wrong-footed by Mr Zeus at Easter time when he asked my parents for permission to get engaged later this year while I was testing out my barbecue gear. Greasy, bedraggled hair and old clothes that stink of smoke, what a vision I was. That man's timing is OUTSTANDING.
Anyway, it ain't all happy houses. There's no way the Greek Orthodox Church is going to let me shack up with one of their flock unless I convert too, which I neither want nor feel the need to do, as I believe in one universal God. I don't think He cares what phoneline we call Him on, so what if my connection is different to yours?
We have time to kill before we need to seriously think about what exactly we're going to do. By a (divine) coincidence, the day after we'd been pondering the issue, we awoke to the spectacle of a Greek priest saying that in the future, those with political marriages (this is the only route we'd be able to take) will not be allowed to be godparents. Also their marriage isn't recognised by the church. I don't mind so much about not being a godparent, but I don't think it's fair to punish Mr Zeus like this. By the way, I am due to baptise my godson soon, and God help me if the priests kick up a fuss on the day about me not being Greek Orthodox. I love the kid! Just because I'm not Greek Orthodox doesn't mean I'm going to start training him to be a suicide bomber!
The Church is also pushing for a type of religious ID card to prove that you are Christian when applying to marry, to avoid charlatans like me trying to blag my way in. If we somehow worked out a way to get married in a Orthodox Church, I would need to sign a paper declaring my future children will be baptised as Greek Orthodox. Relax, homies, I beat you to that one already, since Greece is so homogenous when it comes to religion that I'd rather my future kids had a good start fitting in. If they take an interest in my religion when they grow up that's up to them.
It's okay though, since both of us are screwed if we get married without either one of us switching religions. I as a woman can't 'marry out' of my religion, so I'll be automatically ex-communicated, and he'll be religiously condemned too. At least we'll be together in hell.
For now, it's funny. I have a feeling though that this issue is going to turn out to be a real pain in the bum. I could convert I guess, and have my Dad reconvert me after the ceremony on the steps of the Church, ha ha ha!! You didn't think of that, did you Papa!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Virtual Spring Cleaning

Ever feel weighed down by all the extra stuff in your house that you really don't need any more? I know I do. Sadly Greece doesn't seem to have a garage/carboot sale culture and so I can't find a profitable way of selling on my crap to other people. Mr Zeus says this is because people are shy about their neighbours knowing what they've got in the private folds of their apartment. 'Look at that toaster from 1975, times must be hard for Mr Popodopolous if they only JUST replaced it and are selling the old one.' That sort of thing.

I am ebay's number one customer in Athens I reckon, but I mean in buying terms. When it comes to selling, the price of posting things to customers in the UK or America is just too high to attract buyers.

Know what I mean? If you do,tell me what you think of this idea. I was thinking of setting up another blog page where we can advertise our stuff for sale. I wouldn't take a cut from it, it would literally be like an exchange and advertise page. You email me and I'll put your stuff plus a price and your contacts. I have a lot of things like books I've read and don't plan on reading again, DVDs, shoes etc.

Waiting to hear your opinions, we can start it up and take it from there. No one loses anything right?

By the way, the above idea is copyright of Bollybutton c. 2007 and I'll send the boys round if you steal it...


Friday, April 13, 2007

Athens in Spring

Mmmm what is it about a Mediterranean spring that makes you want to get naked and run through the orange groves?

While resisting my urges to be at one with nature, I am welcoming with open the arms the warmer tinge that the breeze has, the adoring caress of the spring sun and the evening breeze that is filled with the amazing scent of orange and lemon blossom.

The combination is wonderful. It's also very distracting and I'm not getting any work done.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to do Greek Easter in England

Did you all have a good Easter? I certainly did, complete with full roasting lamb. Let's not examine the fact that in England you can't buy a lamb with the head attached. You can buy the head separately and do what you wish with it. And thus on Easter two little lamb souls were watching from heaven and shaking their heads at the indignity of being roasted attached to someone else's head/body.

You don't get the huge roasting gear in England so I had to order it from a scrap metal company. I had made the appropriate phonecalls from Athens and located one that was willing to do it for me, and so off I went to draw them what I wanted, boldly asserting that the roasting stick had to be at least 2 metres 20. It went something like this:

"Are you sure you want it that big?"
"Yeah, it's got to be, I'm roasting a whole lamb"
When I turn up for collection my eyes pop out of my head when I see just how big 2 metres 20 is.

"It's uh... a bit big"
"You asked for it to be this big"
"Yeah I know"
No need to worry, it was just the perfect size. Greeks everywhere, be proud of me, this little South Asian who managed to order lamb-roasting gear in a small English town and get the proportions exactly correct.

In Greek Easter, size is everything. And so on Saturday it was off to the Arab butchers in Birmingham to buy our full lamb. They let Mr Zeus and my mum walk into the meat freezer to pick it for themselves and then he found a head that matched up nicely. Armed with our booty, we headed off for the preparations.

On Sunday about 15 of my cousins, aunties, uncles and friends turned up and howled with delight when they realised "Come over for some roasted lamb" meant literally an entire roasted lamb. There was lots of curtain twitching as curious neighbours wondered what their nut-case exotic neighbours were up to now. We had lifted some slabs out of the patio to make a fully fledged roasting pit, and faced with a barbecue of such epic proportions, no one else in the neighbourhood attempted to wheel out their little grills and face total humiliation.

It was a total success. Thank you, Greece, for transforming Easter from a boring Sunday trying to catch something interesting on TV into the party of the year. Jesus would have been most proud that you got a whole gang of non-Christians in on the act.

Image: From

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Unmarried at Easter

Happy Easter/Kalo Pasxa to you all! I know it's not easter yet, but exciting events abound mean I won't be able to post on the actual day. This is largely because I will be too stuffed to fit myself on the chair infront of the computer.

My trip to the Homeland went off without a hitch in every sense of the word. Not only did I come back unmarried, but I was able to brush off questions in that direction with an ease I never knew I had. Why, it almost bordered on Mr Zeus's aversion to marriage!
A greek friend once told me the only way to get a greek to marry you is to get pregnant. Riiiiight.... I think I'll save that one as Plan Z. But although I used the phrase "I'm not getting married" with the same emphasis as "I'm not getting leprosy", I can tell that everyone Back Home feels very sorry for me and my absolute lack of a marriage proposal. With each passing of Suitable Moments To Propose, like New Year's Eve, Valentine's Day, Monday, I can feel my mother's desperation and pity for me grow. She must sadly envision my reproductive system shrivelling up (naturally, since I'm well past 22 now) and try to reconcile herself to the fact that she'll never see her little Indo-Greek grandchildren. Dad has kind of given up on me, but Mummy dearest, God bless her, I can read her face like a book.

Anyway, I'm all set for a great easter because this time Mr Zeus is flying out to do easter with MY family. Yipeee! Cue Bollywood dance spectacular complete with villainous dad polishing his shotgun. And no proposal, this I have confirmed in advance because I don't want mum to be dusting off my dowry when all her daughter is likely to get on her finger is an onion ring.