Quality of Life in Greece

Life is short - enjoy yr coffee in Greece

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LeavingCairo_2012 Blogging A-Z Challenge

My very first post for the 2012 A-Z Blogging  Challenge was about Athens and why I choose to live here, not just Athens, but Greece.

You see, as my “I” post indicated, Greece has been receiving a lot of negative press.  Yes, Greece has been going through really bad times, but you know what?  The quality of life here still rivals that of Northern Europe.

Talking to my Greek friends, we all realise that people still talk to each other on public transport, young people are still polite to the elderly and the elderly aren’t afraid of young people.  Athens is a busy city, but it’s NOT rush rush rush, not in comparison to London.  I can STILL exit my apartment and be greeted with a ‘Kali Mera!’ by strangers.

Food

This is a major difference in Greece too.  It’s a way of life, not just a means to sate the appetite.  A meal can take anything from 3 – 4 hours, even at a friend’s house (be prepared for a long evening, even if just popping by for pasta).  And the restaurants are not in a hurry to turf you out once you’ve finished.

This applies to coffee drinking too.

People in the UK who are ignorant of such issues often comment to me “Well no WONDER the Greeks are bankrupt if they spend all their money on coffees!”  Check out the Comments section to my post about coffee culture in Greece (and I will write another post about this soon).  You’ll see really useful feedback as to how we spend about 3 hours over one coffee, thus not actually spending a lot of money (notice how I refer to myself as ‘we’ – I am truly embracing myself as a Greek, albeit an adopted one).  Also, what would you rather see: Greeks sitting around chatting merrily over coffee, or Brits and Germans staggering around, drunk as anything and spoiling for a fight?

 In Greece they know how to LIVE life…without having to get drunk to let go.

In spite of (or maybe because of) Greece’s difficulties, it serves to bind a nation and people always make do… Greece has been through hell in the past and has survived.  There is almost a fatalistic attitude to life which I find I fit into quite nicely – so I think I’ll stay for the time being thanks.  I’ve learned to take one day at a time, to talk to my neighbours (and strangers), to acknowledge that old lady sitting next to me on the bus or trolley – oh, and to love the fact it’s sunny 90% of the year.  Where would you rather be?  The rigidity of 9-5 Mon to Fri is not for me…I’m happiest teaching and writing in the sun, with people around who look out for me.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Years ago, on my fist visit to Athens, I had picked out something in a second-hand shop and reached under my shirt for my money belt. The proprietor, almost offended, said “you don’t need that in Greece”. I said I wasn’t worried about Greeks, I was worried about foreigners, which he indicated was a more acceptable reason.

  2. Ah the slow society – I love it, real food and time to enjoy. I have it now I am retired – we call it ‘retirement time’ – I guess the UK is not ready for it – shame.

    Thanks for dropping by – and happy A-Zing

  3. Alas I fear for the ‘slow’ way of life, and the culture of this country. They way that other countries and institutions are intervening, there’s a steady ‘Germanization’ of Europe taking place and the coffee/know your neighbour culture will dissipate. I hope Greece is strong enough to keep her traditions and culture alive.

  4. Hello Bex. I’m so glad you reposted this so I got to meet you! I’ve been worried about Greece lately with all the news every day. I travel a lot but have always missed out on Greece for some reason – fires, earthquakes or demonstrations. But I still want to visit one day before too long.

    I love the sound of the Greek culture. Three hours on a coffee? Suits me! With some of those sweet Greek treats.

    Denise

  5. Great that I’ve managed to convert people to wanting to come and visit here!
    Hope you all enjoyed the Challenge, both partaking and reading others.

    :0)

  6. Popped in from L’Aussie’s blog. I like the way you describe Greece. Some of those elements remind me why we love British Columbia compared with Europe…young & old get along and respect each other, and living life without falling over drunk.

  7. Nice to meet you. I have no doubt Greece will survive one way or another and may actually teach the rest of the world a lesson or two. I have not been to Greece, but my daughter went there for her honeymoon. I loved the pictures of blazing blue sky and sunshine.

  8. It’s great to see this blog reaching the other side of the ‘Pond’ and attracting people to this beautiful country, either in person or from the armchair.
    Yes, the quality of light here is such that I don’t even need to wear my glasses anymore.
    Thanks for all your comments.

    • Thanks Lisa. Yes, it is definitely my kind of culture! There is a good Greek saying; “You can’t rush a good meal” – hence I have really learned to slow my lifestyle down here. Whilst it can be frustrating at times, it is also liberating

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