Friday, July 20, 2007


On Wednesday night I hooked up two of my best friends in Athens in a rich part of town I tell you, money doesn't talk in Athens, it screams. If you go to the rich parts of town, it's like a whole other country. So much greenery! Such wide and clean footpaths!

After getting initially lost we finally made it to our destination and proceeded to have a cosy night chatting and drinking wine. We ran through all kinds of topics and eventually rested on women's rights. I know feminism gets a lot of bad rap for wanting to wipe out men, and I can appreciate how men today feel attacked by it. Personally I don't think I'd even bother if I hadn't grown up in the Home Country.

But I did, and growing up in a place where just looking at a boy could potentially get you killed does something to you. Your freedom, your life as a female is so restricted sometimes it's too much to bear, especially when you go back and see no change in the situation. You see women mistreated all their lives going on to mistreat their daughters. Young girls who stay unmarried because of a small scar on the face, or a burn mark on their body, considered not good enough by some guy who isn't exactly an oil painting himself.

On every turn and in everything you do you are reminded that you are less, not a whole person, just a woman. That feeling never leaves you because the concept of a woman as slightly less than a man exists on one level or the other in every country on this planet. It irritates the living daylights out of me when I see women portrayed as just playthings.

So it kind of pissed me off when I saw new posters in my neighbourhood for some new strip club. All good fun, right? Heck if there was a male strip club staffed with illegal immigrants who were bought and sold like second hand books, who were degraded and abused almost daily, I'd be there like a shot!

Normally it's hard to tell who is being exploited in such establishments, the stripper or her customer who's stupid enough to part with all that money with a woman who's faking her desire for him. Maybe I'd take the second view if Greece wasn't such a notorious gateway for human trafficking.
What I am grateful for, though, is that the Sex Sells concept hasn't gone to the same heights in Greece as in Italy, where one coffin manufacturer uses it to sell coffins. I kid you not.

Foot Paradise

In my greener days, I would wonder what is it about feet that drives people to develop a fetish about them. I mean, really? What's so hot about them? Of course I was wondering all this while looking at my own feet, which look like they were designed by Salvador Dali. No two toes are exactly alike.

Yet again I was attracting scornful looks yesterday when I wandered off downtown in my house slippers. No big deal, I thought, I can't be the only one wearing their house slippers out of the house. Wrong!

Greek women have the most perfect feet I've ever seen. On the metro I decided to carry out my own little survey and see what is the rate of ugly feet. I discovered that the rate of ugly feet is less than 1%, maybe even 0.5%. I wonder what the secret to their plump little toes is. How do they keep their feet so well hydrated? Mine look like dried prawns. I thought it might be because they wear closed shoes, but they don't. So what gives?

Greece must have a higher than normal incidence of people with foot fetishes and who can blame them. My Quasimodo feet had no where to hide yesterday thanks to me wearing capri jeans. They got scornful glances all the way home. When I got home and told Mr Zeus about my ordeal, he laughed at me and said it served me right for going out in my house slippers. So much for support on the home front!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Precious Pleasures

A few nights ago I was walking up to my door in the darkness after returning from bellydancing class. As I said, I've not been feeling my best lately and, amongst other things, the sheer nastiness of some of things people see fit to say to me on this blog was really getting me down.

I stood at my door and searched around in my bag for the door keys when I heard a little voice call out: "Yia sou kopela" I looked up and it was the little kid from next door sitting on the terrace with his grandma

"Yia sou agapi mou'" I replied, "what are you doing up so late?

"I'm drawing"

"What are you drawing?"

"A car"

"That's great! I'm going to go inside now because I'm tired, okay?"


"Kalinixta agapi mou"


This sweet little child's friendliness put such a happy smile on my face and ended my day free from all the bad thoughts I had in my head. From even before he could talk his grandma would stop in the street when she'd see me and say to the baby "Look, it's the girl from next door! She's taking a walk too." It was this tiny gesture which made me feel accepted by this lady who knew Mr Zeus but had no obligation to be so nice to me.

I'm grateful I live in such a friendly Greek neighbourhood. If it wasn't for the people I meet on the streets here or Mr Zeus and his smart, funny and articulate Greek friends, I'd be basing my opinion of what Greeks are like from the things some of them say to me on this blog, and that opinion would be very poor indeed.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

No More Comments

I've kind of had enough for the time being of being called a bitch, ugly, psycho, racists, a coward and a fake. So no more comments. This blog was set up as an outlet for my thoughts when I first moved to Greece. Of course what I didn't know then was that:

a) I could only write such a blog if I had moved to Greece knowing nobody, with all my belongings tied to a napkin on a stick, roughing it with the dogs in Syntagma square.

b) Only Greeks are ever allowed to criticise Greece

I'm not in a good state of mind these days, so you can all bugger off and stew in your own hatred. I don't want to hear about it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

An Immigrant Experience

I recently read a book called Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri which describes vividly the reality of immigrant life and contains the following passage:

“ .. being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy – a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been ordinary life, only to discover that that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect.”

I read this book with the shocking realisation that I have become the Immigrant Woman who I used to see walking along the roads of Birmingham or London, neither here nor there, holding up the queues in the supermarket with her faltering English and insisting on talking to her children in her native language.

What, I would wonder, would possess these women to abandon all they know and go live in a totally alien country for no other reason than that their husband happened to come from there? Why not find someone closer to home?

Without realising it, I have turned into one of them and now I have nothing but respect for these women. Being an immigrant means the sudden contraction of your world. I’m the one attracting curiosity when I venture out in something traditional, I’m the one holding up the queue in the supermarket with my faltering Greek, I’m the one who speaks to my godson mostly in my second language even though I know there’s not a snowflake in Hell’s chance of him knowing what I say.

I’m the one who people speak to rudely on the phone because they quickly deduce that my poor and accented Greek means I’m a foreigner. Today a woman dismissed my query about the price of a holiday telling me only that it was “very expensive”.

Was she just badly trained, or did she mean that it was too expensive for the likes of me?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I wish...

... that me and my Dad could go back to our old problems. Bad exam marks, being terrible at Maths, my bad temper, my leaving sewing needles in stupid places.

My Dad has had a difficult time accepting that his daughter raised in the Home Country would set up house out of wed-lock with a Greek. I know it stems from his worries for his children, but I wish we could both get over our differences.

Three years of a tense under-current in what was once a very close relationship is getting tiring.

Sorry for posting this, but Mr Zeus isn’t around to talk to because he has taken our Big Smelly Dog to the country house to bury him. Poor Big Smelly died this afternoon. Tributes to follow.