Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Money No Problems

Since we're all in the same boat, scrabbling behind the sofa for spare euros and wondering where the money goes every month, we might as well sing and dance about it.

We may be broke but we're happy, and at least there are still some free beaches in Athens!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Onwards and Upwards

So it's over. Words I never want to hear again:

  1. boubounieres
  2. decorations
  3. bride
  4. invitations
  5. anything to do with one thing matching the other

Things I organised via the internet:

  1. the wedding dress designed by me and created in the Home Country, which was made so lightly for the heat that I carried it around in a handbag.

  2. the invitations in half Greek half English, printed in India and since I typeset them, the Greek part was full of mistakes. But so what. As far as I know no one turned up to the mayor's office at 11pm instead of 11am and that was my biggest error.

  3. starfish charms for the wedding favours

  4. marigold coloured tissue paper for decorating

  5. mini incense and boxed bindis for the henna party favours

  6. floating lotus lanterns for the beach

  7. Maro from MAC on Ermou street, who I discovered via a comment on this blog and who helped me pick a foundation so perfect I looked airbrushed

  8. MAC pigments in sample sizes from
*Things that were not right on the day: Nothing

*My favourite thing about the wedding was: having all my family together for once.

*Now that it's all over I feel: Like I never, ever want to do that again as long as I live. Never. Ever. Ever. I'm so happy to be lounging around in my crappy clothes again, growing out my moustache and letting my fingernails break with abandon.

On the day itself I had a surprisingly good time. Not that I expected to have a bad time, it just was a lot better than I had hoped for.

When you're a bride, people break your balls about absolutely everything. It's worse being a bride who doesn't care much for weddings, because no one believes you when you say you're not into shabang type weddings and think you're just being a boring old fart.

The morning of the wedding was stress free and I was ready nicely ahead of schedule because I booked myself into a hotel and got dressed with my sisters. The rest was like a domino effect. Since the day started well it ended brilliantly with everyone in their swimming gear partying at a beach bar till the early morning.

Halfway through the party my sister and I walked past the bride from the other wedding party going on at the hotel of the beach par and couldn't help but laugh at the contrast. She was looking perfect in her white wedding dress, makeup and hair, and I was in a cotton beach dress, barefaced and barefoot. I had to show a little girl at the beach photos from the morning because she wouldn't believe her mother that I was the bride.

The next day though I was feeling major evil eyes so I burnt some sage and walked all the way through the flat with the windows and doors open, passing the smoke in every corner and all the cupboards. No jokes people, the evils were super bad. I got up at one point the night after the wedding and felt such a big weight press on me that I fell to the floor like a dead weight and couldn't get back up again. Mr Zeus heard the thud and had to come pick me off the floor because my legs had turned to jelly. You might say lack of sleep/low blood pressure, but it was evils I tells ya!

I will not give any advice for the bride, since it will all be useless anyway, except don't bother with diets. You will go through your own crash diet in the days before the wedding as the stress blow-torches the bumps and lumps away.

I will however advise you if you are a friend of a bride/groom to be:
  1. Do not offer advice. Just listen

  2. The bride will turn into a total bitch before the wedding. This has nothing to do with you. It's because she's sick of being asked unimportant questions and people freaking out around her about stupid details. Don't pay too much attention to the things she says when she's having a psychotic episode. She only means about half of them.

  3. If you say you are going to do something, do it. The biggest disappointment for me when I was buckling under the stress was all the people who said they would help who then disappeared and turned up later to have a good time.

  4. Do whatever the couple asks you to do, and don't complain about it. If you think you're tired you have no idea how exhausted they are.

  5. In the days immediately before the wedding, take some food over. Otherwise the couple won't eat.

  6. Take the initiative and fix any problems that you can fix yourself.

That's about it! I had a wedding day full of colours and happiness with the people I love all in one room. I would not do it again and I'm glad it's over, but I am equally happy that I had such a nice time. The mayor's speech before we signed the papers was very short but wonderfully to the point about respecting and lifting each other up and building a happy and secure environment for ourselves and our children. Many of the guests agreed that it was the nicest political marriage they had seen. So all's well that ends well.

ps. Al in Athens has left a comment here saying she wish she could have done more. I met Al through this blog, and we have since become good friends. Her gift to me were the flower decorations at the mayor's office, and there could not have been a better gift than the breathtaking job she did. Al, I could not possibly have asked for more than what you did as it was perfection.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Reminder

Don't forget to buy this Sunday's Kyriakatiki Eleutherotypia for DVD 2 in it's current 4 DVD Bollywood series. The first movie was Veer Zara, the second is an epic and a favourite of mine, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.

All four movies in this series are in fact extremely good choices. You could buy the DVD's for less on Menandrou street, but I believe by supporting ET in this endeavour, I am taking one step closer to the day that Bollywood movies will show in Greek cinemas.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Greek 101

Now that I have reached a level where I can communicate in Greek, even with my terrible grammar, it amazes me just how pointless and restrictive most of the Greek we were taught was. We were never taught any slang or anything particularly useful and applicable to survival in Greece, such as:

* Go f*ck yourself you f*cking f*ck!
* Who lets all these bloody grandpas onto the roads on the weekend?
* It wasn't my fault
* Sometimes you make me so angry I want to break something
* I'm really not interested in going out with you
* But the meter says EUR 4.50, so I won't pay you a penny over that
* Two tzatzikis, four kebabs, three chips and ten beers. No, just us two.
* If you don't behave I'll break all your bones
* I'd like to speak to your supervisor.
* Anything to do with talking on the phone.

Instead, I can recall spectacularly useless modules where the characters sit politely around a table wondering what they will order, instead of the bloodbath that usually ensues when hungry Greeks order at a restaurant, and another where a customer goes to the DEH electricity office and meets an unrealistically helpful staff member.

What would have been much more useful and realistic was to start basic Greek classes with a handful of swearwords, which constitute roughly 50% of a conversation. Furthermore, Greek classes should have been held in the same room as another language class, or with three teachers who all talk at you at the same time to give a more realistic sensation of the way communication takes place here. You develop an amazing ability to track three separate conversations at the same time, and this is not something taught.

Also, I hate using my Greek on the phone, so a few classes dedicated to that would have been good, such as getting us to call the tourist office infront of the whole class or something.

Perhaps the most pointless phrase I was ever taught was to ask if there is a bakery nearby. You will always find a bakery in Greece, just walk 5 minutes in any direction. They're as plentiful as churches.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Lovin'

As I type this, I am turning into jelly. Seriously, this life of not doing much at all is taking its toll. Gone are the days when I survived on a diet of pure garbage and had nothing to show for it. Time's a-moving on and at 27, the weight has now started to stick in places that previously had a Teflon-like ability to deflect fat.

A few days ago I got it into my head that taking the dog for runs would a) help me get fit and b) stop the dog being such a total asshole all the time. This project was unsuccessful because it is too hot to do anything, I am by nature a completely lazy person and the dog is by nature an asshole, and laziness and assholiness are not properties easily conditioned out.

I have also never been a fan of gyms. All those fit people being fit are far too intimidating to me. It's much less embarrassing to cough and splutter after two minutes of running with only my dog as a witness than an entire gym.

Other projects that have gone to seed are waking up extra early and going to the beach for a refreshing swim. It's so hot in the city right now that there were news reports of families sleeping on the beach last night because of the heat. I don't particularly mind the heat, except being without a car means running errands becomes a lot harder in this heat.

Tomorrow I plan on going to the much media maligned Menandrou street to buy mangoes, but let's see if the heat cancels out my drive to eat mangoes. I don't get the media horror stories. I go to Menandrou street all the time all on my own and no one has ever bothered me there. In fact, I only ever tend to see the police kicking up a fuss down there. I feel more uncomfortable in the snooty shops of Kolonaki than I do in Menandrou.

On more refreshing and sweet smelling news, Greece is now 10 days into a smoking ban that I would never have believed if I wasn't witnessing myself. On Saturday I enjoyed my first smoke-free night out in Athens and it was wonderful. I hope people keep up the pace, because no matter how much people here hate being told what to do, smoking is not good for you and as lazy as I am, I object to being forced to inhale a substance that I do not willingly put inside my lungs. My decision to poison myself on alcohol on Saturday was entirely mine and mine alone.

Finally, don't forget to buy this Sunday's Kyriakatiki Eleftherotypia for a DVD of 4 Bollywood movies. Count 'em, FOUR! Get yourself down to Menandrou street, buy a box of mangoes and enjoy a Bollyfest of unseen proportions in Greece!