Monday, January 28, 2008

You Can't Play

I was wearily going through my airport routine of browsing over-priced English paperbacks at Athens airport on Saturday when I saw this book. And I felt deflated.

I am not an American size 2 (UK size 6) most of the time, but now and then when I've lost weight because of the heat or because my worries have literally eaten me away, I become a temporary size 2. And some woman has gone and not only written but had published an entire book on how the likes of me are not real women.

That makes me irritated.

Can you imagine the uproar if someone wrote a book called "Real Women Don't Wear Size 22."? What a stab in the back to chop the likes of me out of the club just because we take up less space on the communal floor cushion! Thanks for nothing, sister.

So here is another thing to add to my list of what I am not. I am not English. I am not really Home Country. I don't feel British except by way of Nationality. I am certainly not Greek. And now I'm also not a real woman.

Sad times.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Eyes and Ears are Bleeding!

I'm pretty unwell at the moment (has to happen when the weather is great, right) and then yesterday our internet stopped working. We're changing providers from Tellas to Hellas Online because Tellas proved to be rubbish and I need the internet for my job. When making the switch we specifically told them not to disconnect us until the switch was complete because I can't afford to be stranded without any internet. So of course they disconnected us, but lucky for them I was too unwell to work anyway.

The side effect of not having any internet to amuse myself with was that I switched on the box and started watching Greek daytime TV. The horror! How many animals were needlessly tested and tortured for the buckets and buckets of makeup worn by those female presenters? How much environmental damage was done by the gallons of bleach they insist on pouring onto their very dark (and I think beautiful) hair? I stared in hazy fascination. It was like a car crash - you want to not look but you can't help it.

On one channel the topic of the hour was "The Woman I Married Turned out to be a Man". Alright I kind of felt sorry for the man because he was desperate for a child after losing his only son and the lady knew this and didn't come clean about not being able to have children. But saying that a post op transexual is a man isn't right. A man by what measure? She used to be a man would be fairer. But to be honest if you're going to meet someone and get married to them in the space of six weeks, I don't exactly know what it is you're looking for.

I switched channels. This time another set, another sofa of fake blonds with too much makeup and the topic of the hour was the weight of women. Inneresting! This would be worth a watch knowing how blunt the Greeks are, so I sat back as they opened the phonelines. Boy do I wish I hadn't. The first caller was a women whose 27 year old son was in love with a girl who was a skinny bitch. She was mean and unhelpful and made her son miserable, but he loved her so he wanted to be with her. Mother understandably didn't want to see her child unhappy with this cow.

Actually I wish that had been the topic. In reality, the caller was a psycho mother whose 27 year old (note 27 YEARS OLD, not a child) son was in love with a girl who was a bit on the chubby side but had a lovely personality. "I don't want this to happen." she trilled down the phoneline, "I want my son to marry a model! How can someone who can't take care of herself take care of my son." Hmmm, yes. I see your problem. Your son is after all only 27 and probably can't even tie his shoelaces. How's Mrs Michelin going to reach past her belly to do that? I wonder...

And the moronic Barbies with an olive for a brain between all of them (should add that to my Olive post!) actually gave this insane woman airtime and tried to solve her 'problem', her problem being that she is an idiot who cares more about what's easy to her eyes than whether or not her child is happy. She admitted herself that her son could do with losing a few pounds. Translate: my son may be an ogre but I can't see that and believe he's a god. None of the Barbies said "So what if your son ends up with a tall blonde model who treats you and him like shit. Would that make it better just because she's pretty?"

It made me want to find this beleagured couple, marry them and then tie down the mother in law with toothpicks holding her eyes open as I forced her to watch her daughter in law eat the entire wedding cake. How do you like that!

The next caller was a man who cheats on his wife with skinny girls because after 10 years and two kids she's put some weight on. Wow. Way to solve a problem. So instead of trying to fix what you have you just throw it all out. Well done you. Now to a level I sympathise and bear with me. Most women would not appreciate the handsome man they married letting himself go and turning into a walrus. But couldn't he have tried some team work measures, as in from now on I'll do the shopping so that I pick up low fat stuff for me and you to get into shape together? Sounds like he was uncommitted and just looking for a reason to cheat.

Today I have my internet back and thank

God.Pros of learing Greek:Ease of communication

Cons of learning Greek:Understanding Greek daytime TV

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Open Letter

Sometimes there are things that need to be said and we don't say them. If I was doing a kind of emotional spring clean, this is what I would say if I had the balls, um I mean opportunity...

Hey! Hi there! How's it hanging? All good I hope.

Listen, I know you don't like me and I really don't know why. I also know I shouldn't ponder over this too much since, well, it's not like you're going to stop being the ice queen you are.

But I've got to say, I tried. Since I only ever extended good will towards you and you're still acting above it all, let me just say this:

I think you're a self righteous bitch.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What to do with Too Many Olives

Harvest gone a bit over the top this year? Wondering what to do with all those olives? Wonder no more!

1) String up a line of olives and wear it around your neck. Fashionable and practical!

2) Ladies, kiss that pasty skin goodbye. Mash up some black olives, spread liberally over skin, rinse off after two days. Voila! Home-made self tan (you may end up purple but purple is IN this year)

3) Feeling shy on the nude beaches of Greece? String two olives with one piece of string (choice of colours) and a third olive on 3 pieces of string. Your attractive g-string micro bikini is ready to wear.

4) Bored of your eye colour? Take a green olive. Remove the stone and chop it in half. Next, using a sharp blade, cut off two thin rounds. Insert over cornea. That come hither look is now yours.

5) String an olive on a piece of string. Make a batch of these and sell them to unsuspecting tourists as "Traditional Greek Treat. Olive on a String!"

6) Attach olives onto hooks and use as fishing bait. If unsuccessful, wear as earrings to the taverna you will go to after fishing.

7) That guy you like not paying you any attention? Place two olives strategically under a tight fitting sweater. Enough said.

8) Roll black olives in dirt. Wait for seismic activity and scatter on the street. Run around saying "Did you see that giant goat that just walked past here? It crapped all over the street!"

9) Buy a glass fish bowl. Add fish-friendly gravel and plants. Drop in one olive. Your entertaining olive pet is now ready.

10) Try to convince checkout girls that the EU just okayed olives as legal tender in Greece.

11) Take 4 olives. Attach each pair in the middle with a paperclip. Your olive cufflinks will wow your colleagues and provide a nutritious snack during boring meetings.

12) Sick of being cat-called in the summer? Wear a pair of bicycle shorts and fill with olives all around. Walk down the street complaining loudly about your cellulite.

13) For that god-like feeling, purchase thousands of pairs of googly eyes and glue a pair onto each of your olives. Cover every surface in your house with your little minions staring up at you in awe and adoration.

14) Pour olives into bowl, add milk, eat for breakfast.

15) Break into the studios of any Greek TV channel in the morning armed with olives and a slingshot. Wait for the loud shouting matches to start and shoot olives into the mouths of the partakers of these embarrassing displays. The nation will thank you for the quieter, more relaxed start to their days.

16) Distribute olives to school children and encourage them to play conkers. But with olives.

17) Noisy neighbourhood? Olive earplugs!

18) Gents, still looking for your princess? Worry no more with this patented Princess Finder. Place one olive under your mattress and wait to see what your lady love says the next morning. If she didn't feel the olive, she is NOT a delicate princess, she is a tramp. Keep looking.

19) Freeze little cubes of gin with a toothpick through them. Serve in a cocktail glass full of olives. Whacky!

20) Stick an olive in each nostril. Well, you never know, it might be fun.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Shimmy Shiver

Lately I've noticed my blog has spluttered to a halt in terms of content and readership. I've now lived in Athens for a year and a half and I guess the stuff that I used to get annoyed about before doesn't bother me enough to merit a post any more. I must be mellowing out in my old age.

So I'll talk about some general crap today, okay? Last night I grabbed a backpack and threw in two pairs of bellydance pants which I had made. It's been literally months since I went to class, for no other reason other than my own supreme laziness, and I wanted Rhea's opinion on my efforts. Since my day job is as dry as a cracker in the middle of the Sahara, I need a creative outlet to keep myself inspired so I decided to start making and selling these pants.

They seemed to be well received and we agreed on a price of EUR 40 a piece. This might seem like a lot of money, but making one pair of these takes hours and hours of cutting and pinning. Since I was on my way to meet friends I didn't stay for class but I did catch up with some of the regulars who I hadn't seen in a while.

As of next week I am going to go to bellydance class twice a week because in less than a month I'm flying out to the wedding of a good friend and I have offered to dance at her henna party. Yikes galore! I better get some practice in.

If anyone is seriously interested in getting a pair of pants, please get in touch with me through comments and we can go from there. The pants will be made to measure with any adjustments you want.

Over hot chocolates with my friends I admitted that I am sick to death already of it being winter. It's getting really boring now. How much winter do we really need? Can't it be just two weeks?

I'm cold and I feel like I'm about to come down with something. I'm a summer baby. Winter stinks, even if it is a glorious Greek winter. I'd much rather strip off in 46C heat than shiver and try to stay warm in 12C. I was made for summer. Moan moan moan.
When will it be summer...?


Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Didn't we have a beautiful day in Athens yesterday? The sky was as clear as the Mediterranean in August and the sun was warm. There was barely a breeze. I took walks every chance I got during the day and hummed songs to myself. That beautiful day reminded me of sunny winter afternoons of my childhood in the Home Country.

Winters in Greece are made much more tolerable for me thanks to days like yesterday, which are called Alkionides. What explains these 15 or so days each winter where summer gives you a sneak preview? Metreological magic? No! This is Greece and there is a myth to explain everything.

The legend goes like this. Alcyone was the daughter of Aeolos and was married to Ceyx son of the morning star. They were so ridiculously happy together that they went about calling themselves Hira and Zeus. Of course the gods were having none of that so when Ceyx went out to sea Zues fixed it with Poseidon to wreck the ship and Ceyx was killed.

Alcyone learnt about this when Ceyx appeared to her in a vision. She was so distraught that she wept and wailed and finally threw herself into the sea. Once their jealous egos had cooled down, the gods felt pretty bad about this so they changed the lovers into halcyon birds, otherwise known as kingfishers.

Alcyone made her nest on the beach in the winters, but the sea and the wind kept destroying it. So the gods got together and gave her 15 days of calm weather before and after the shortest day of the year so that she could nest and hatch her eggs.

That's where the alkionides come from. Enjoy them and don't anger the gods.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Mother Earth Rocks Me to Sleep

For my first post of 2008 I have chosen to talk about the 6.5 earthquake that hit Greece on Sunday morning. Many people I know were woken up in their beds by the major aftershock that reached Athens.

And me? I was sound asleep. I slept through an earthquake and only learnt about it when we watched the news. I've been living in Athens for 1.5 years now, and every single time there is a minor rumble I just happen to be away.

The only time I have experienced a tremor happened to me in Cardiff of all places. It was a calm evening and I was sitting on my bed in my university halls writing in my diary. I had my 'mood lighting' on and the wardrobe doors open. For some reason I could never sleep with them closed.

All of a sudden there was a creaking sound and I noticed the wardrobe doors swaying. Then my bed began to gently rock from side to side. It was so bizarre that my mind tried to find a solution to what was happening and came up with: "It must be the wind." About 5 seconds later, all was calm again.

The next morning the news confirmed that indeed a small tremor had hit the previous night and my Californian friend commented that it was just like being back home.

That was it. While many people were awake and scared by the Athens tremors, I was sound asleep. The strange thing is not a single thing was out of place when I woke up, not even the tube of lip balm that I keep standing on the edge of a shelf. Nothing fell over. Not even a drop of water splashed out of my fish's bowl.
A 6.5 richter earthquake hit Greece and there was minimal damage... gotta love that earthquake proof housing!

ps: Reading around, it seems that everyone else in the blog world felt the tremor. I am officially the laziest Athenian blogger. Yay!