Thursday, April 24, 2008

Friends and Family

One of my best friends is here and I'm so happy! The man of the house has been distracted lately to say the least and I was starting to get depressed about my routine of home alone all day, dance class with an eccentric teacher, lonely bus rides home and television.

Having her around is so nice, I have someone to talk to all day and someone to spend time with and who also wants to spend time hanging out with me. Yesterday we went downtown after work and I showed her the usual sights. "That's the Acropolis, those are some ruins, and those are some more ruins." Admittedly after nearly two years I should know what those ruins downtown are. But seriously, all the tourists only want to see the Acropolis, right? And anyway, we had watched a glorious sunset sitting on the steps at Syntagma Square, so who cares.

We've been friends for nearly 13 years. I had just started school in the UK, one week fresh from my arrival from the Home Country. It was hard and awkward especially since no one wanted to know me. I had been to an all-girls school where appearance was secondary to getting an education. The nuns told you off for wearing the wrong colour of hair tie. Wearing makeup and leaving your hair loose was unthinkable. So you can imagine how well received I was in the UK in my big glasses, mortification at my new school uniform and my hair firmly braided back.

In the Home Country when a new girl started at our school we all took turns to keep her company until she settled in and chose her own group. We felt a collective sense of responsibility for new members to our gang. Not so in the UK. I was like a lamb tossed to the lions, a geeky, nerdy lamb that no one wanted to know or help and who boys asked in the corridors for condoms because they enjoyed my horrified expression and wanted to make a point of me being the last person in the world who would have a condom because I was that unshaggable. Those first few weeks of school were like a living nightmare. I cried every day when I got home. High school... I'd never do it again.

So there I was in History class and I picked a chair that was free. I sat next to a blonde haired girl who ignored me the entire class. The next week when I made a move for the same seat, she put her bag on it. "You can't sit here. My mate's going to sit here." I panicked. Class would start soon and I'd be left standing here like an idiot with nowhere to sit. In the far corner by the door I spotted a free seat at a table for four and made my way there. I was almost in tears by this point and practically begged to sit in the free chair. Thankfully this new crowd was much more relaxed and also a lot nicer to me. The girl sat next to me even knew a few words in Home Land language!

We became friends and stayed friends. She's one of the best people I know and I'll always be thankful to her for rescuing me that day.

Last night I couldn't sleep because after so much boredom, having all that fun and all that conversation sent my mind into overload. We meet up regularly when I'm in London but I'm so glad I have the chance to show her my life here in Athens. She was one of the only people who stood by me through everything. When we walked past the taverna I danced in on Sunday night and said hi to the waiter outside, then the guy who was our DJ a few steps further down, then someone else who called out my name a few more steps down, and then my bellydance teacher and a friend from class, all within a few minutes of each other, a huge smile spread across my face.

"Look how well established I am now," I joked, "everyone here knows me!"

Tomorrow my mum is arriving. Aaaah it's going to be a good Easter.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear your friend and your mom are coming. Be sure to encourage them to experience a Greek Easter, fireworks, candles, chanting, lamb, goats and all!

I hope you all have a wonderful time!

itelli said...

Καλό Πάσχα, Καλή Ανάσταση!

stassa said...

Chronia polla, Bollybutton! To you and yours!!! Hope you're having a great time!