Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Yesterday was some sort of teacher holiday or I don't know what so I didn't have evening Greek class. Instead I went downtown with some Greek friends and deposited myslelf in a very grubby and authentic Asian eatery. It was in the bad part of town, with dirt cheap food that was actually much tastier than Iskandar. I didn't pay attention so I don't know the name but I'll get it, it's well worth a visit, the type of place that has no menu, you just eat whatever they happened to have made.

But better yet, I found fresh coriander. The quest is over! I FOUND IT!!!! I can cook curries to my heart's content. Thank you, God! All I had to do was pay attention downtown in the Asian shops and go at off-peak times to beat the crowds.

The pic is my hand done up by me with some good Yemeni henna. Come summer 2007 I plan on cornering the market in Athens for natural henna tattoos. Black henna is not natural and is dangerous for you.

Good times, good times.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Winter and the Sales

It's been a while since I commented on anything other than what's going on inside my head or my life in general. This blog is meant to be an observation of Greek life as I recall.

My big smelly doberman is inside today snoozing on the floor and I think he is depressed. Probably because I call him big and smelly and don't take him for walks often enough to pee on trees and sniff other dogs. I am a terrible mother.

Anyway, it's sale time in Athens. If you want to know about the perks of Greek life, the sales are definitely one. They don't fool around when they use the word 'sale' here. In the UK I'd usually hit the sales and only find the ugliest and biggest clothes on offer while all the pretty stuff was still full price. Not so here, they practically give it all away. Loving it!

In other tragic news, all this working from home has led me to leave the TV on all day as company. I get lonely, you know. The horrific side-effect of this habit is that... I don't even know how to say it... I now actually watch... the Young and the Restless. Oh the shame!!!!

Hmm, shockingly I have no more to say. So look at this,,,2001875,00.html, I tell you this could not happen anywhere else except Greece, ha ha ha ha ha!!

Friday, January 26, 2007

I'm still Here

Well it seems some of you thought I had cut and run from Athens, but thanks to a stubborn streak I am far too stupid to give myself a break. Chatting to the sugarplums in Greek class, we reflected on how we have all met so many women who moved to Greece for love as opposed to men. This can mean one of two things:

1) women are tougher than men. This is the same argument we use to console ourselves about childbirth being our job.

Or 2) women are just stupider than men and like making martyrs out of themselves. Feminism LIED TO ME!! This is how come I bust my ass trying to learn Greek grammar till 9 at night and still have to come home and do the mountains of dishes in th sink. SUCKSSSS!!!! Which way to the revolution, sisters?

I think I am reaching a critical point with the language at least and it'll all tip over into total ease of communication. I just hope that the day the flying pig delivers my certificate of proficiency in Greek I'm not out riding my unicorn.

Here's some good news though. Since witnessing my meltdown, my other half decided to take some action and took me out for some Indian cuisine to a new place close by. Sweet! The food was good, the songs were familiar, the staff spoke Hindi and let me have extra green chillis since they cooked everything minus spices. "The Greeks just can't handle any spice" the waiter explained to me.

So if you want simultaneously empty your wallet and fill your tummy with yummy treats, go to Iskandar, ph. 210 98 86 474. I recommend the Madras chicken, it's hot stuff!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I Don't Want Any More Feta

There comes a time in your life, every now and then, when having wonderful cheekbones just isn’t enough to shake the blues, when you realize that you might as well be a lampshade at social gatherings since your language limitations prevent those present from discovering that you have a great personality to match those great cheekbones.

You’re reduced to smiling like a moron all the time, which is fine for an advertisement for some ubiquitous, barely legal painkiller/religious cult/incontinence pad, but not if that smile is masking your sheer boredom.

I funking hate being a foreigner sometimes, even though I do *heart* Athens (see 10 Reasons) and a few days ago I had a huge I-want-to-leave-but-I-don’t-want-to-leave breakdown. There is no food in the abode, and three weeks worth of laundry that needs doing, all signs that I, for the moment, couldn’t give a flying cheese pie about the perks of Greek living.

Crappy old American sitcoms playing on daytime TV did nothing to alleviate my forlorn state, as did those idiotic Barbie doll-a-like female hosts that abuse my retinas on every channel.

If they must insist on opening their mouths to release the garble which makes me grateful for once to not understand the language while flashing their bad bleach and boob jobs at me, the least they can do is balance that with some hot scantily clad maleness. I thought Greece was supposed to be a democracy!

I need chocolate… lots of it… preferably administered by Antonio Banderas clad in naught but a fig leaf. For now though I’ll make do with some at-home TLC and after-class hot chocs with the babes from Intermediate II. I’ll be back to normal in a day or so.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007


With it being new year and all, I've got an idea into my head and I need your help.

For a while now I've been speculating on what good exercise Bollywood dancing is and how I'd like to run a class at the local gym teaching Bollywood dancing. Not classical Indian, that takes years to learn and everything I know about Bollywood I taught myself by watching videos.

So, girls, help me out and tell me if you saw your local gym was advertising a Bollywood dance workout, would you go? I know I'd have a fantastic time teaching it since I enjoy dancing so much, but I'm sure I'd need an idea of whether anyone would be interested before I go to propose such a class, they're not just going to let me run it and no one turns up.

Whadaya say??


Advice from a Good Samaritan

Happy New Year! How was it for you? I passed into this year running around in the dark thanks to a power cut at the crucial moment. Mr Zeus was caught on the stairs with a tray of glasses. Hope that's not the tone for the rest of the year.

I digress! This is the first new year I've had in Athens, which is a milestone for me. Since starting this blog it was come to my attention that there are other lost souls like me, snared in the trap of love and willing to fling themselves to foreign lands. I have done it, sweethearts, so here is some advice and resources to help you along:

The Attitude:
I'll be honest. When it came to dreams of moving overseas I had my heart set on somewhere in equatorial Asia. I never dreamt I'd end up living in Greece. But since I'm here, I have to work hard to make it my own, otherwise all Mr Zeus will ever hear from me is: "I moved here for YOU and this is all you got me for my birthday?" Drum it into your head even if you don't believe it that you are moving to Greece for you, for a future and if nothing else, the experience. Explore your city on your own, find out where you like to go and what you like to do; make it your own otherwise you will resent living here.

The Language:
I'm not going to sugar coat this; Greek is very hard to learn. It will drive you crazy, make you cry with frustration and horrify you with its endless folds of tricky grammar. But don't for a second chicken out of learning it because most people in Athens speak English. I now speak enough Greek to survive if I was abandoned somewhere, and it had transformed my relationship with life in Greece.

You have two options. You can either pay for lessons, there are hundreds of language schools in Athens. I attend classes at the Hellenic American Union, which cost about 370E for 3 months, six hours per week. However, having taken these classes I am not too impressed with what I got for my money, but anything better costs more.

Unless of course you take free Greek classes. Yes, free. The EU funds a scheme in Greece for immigrants to learn Greek. These classes are totally free, and I have taken them. They are actually better than Hellenic American, we get free materials and study supplements. I've heard different things about what you need to sign up. I just went with my passport which they photocopied, but then I am from the EU. Outside the EU, you may need to show a residency permit.
Visit or call 210 253 0334 for your nearest centre offering these classes.

Unless you come from an EU member state, you will need a residency permit for stays of over 3 months. This link will explain what you need to do in order to get one:

I Ain't Got Nobody:
When you move to Greece, you will be reduced to a three year old. You will have no language skills, you will have to rely on someone else for shelter, transportation, entertainment and socialising. Love is great, but it can't conjure up friends of your own or Mummy's cooking. It's lonely when you first move here. Do as much homework as you can and have no illusions about what life in Greece is like, it's very different to coming here on holiday. A good starting point is community organisations:
Language classes are also a good place to make friends.

I Ain't Got No Job:
Independent types will have to swallow their pride for a while. The job market in Greece stinks. Forget what you earned before, here 700E a month counts as good money. I got VERY lucky that my job in London let me carry on working from Athens, but for the rest, here are some useful links:
Allow about 3 months from beginning your search to landing a job. See the link of residence permits to learn what paperwork you'll need to work in Greece.

A final, very useful link is the guide produced by Athens News, which has links to answer pretty much anything you might want to know:

I think that about covers it. If you want to get in touch with me, I moderate all my comments so leave a comment with your email address and I'll get back to you without publishing the comment. It's hard darlings, real hard, but lucky for you you have me who's done it all, gleaned all this info the hard way and is now passing it on to you for free! So when you move here, bring me a nice present. Seriously though, I've done it and now nothing seems scary any more.