Tuesday, January 4, 2011


A1: Did  Jenny have her baby?

Me: Yes

A1: What did she have?

Me: Another boy.

A1: Poor Jenny!

Me: Why?

A1: Cause daughters are way more caring.

Me:  That's a very sexist thing to say.

A1:  Daughters take better care of their parents and they don't leave.

A2:  Daughters are "stolidia" (Greek for ornaments/decorations).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two days in a row of dealing with Greek bureaucracy and getting nothing done

Monday: Trying to get my credit from OTE
Conn-X TV installed Nov 2009, did not work until April 2010 and I had been forced to pay for it or else my phone would be cut off
-tried calling first, found that my phgone line was not working (again)
-headed to their office OTEShop, and waited in line to speak to an OTE rep,  waited for around 30min before someone could help me
-their computer terminals stopped working so they could not help me, took down my number said she would look into my matter and call me back

Tuesday: Making a simple change at the EFORIA (tax department)

I have been teaching English for a company associated with LAEK-OAED which is a

I need to register the service of teaching onto my existing business

Tax office needs the declaration that I have paid my OAEE, and VAT

VAT, I need to pay off all at once, and need to fill out form

OAEE have to go there and get a proof from them that my insurance payments are up to date

Can't pay VAT partially, or online, once got payment returned from bank because I filed the day it was due

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Too much of a "good" thing?

Last night I went to a get together for some people that had decided to leave beautiful Greece.  One of them was Susana, an artist in Greece that had been living in Athens for the past seven years or so, the other was Gerry  who had been living in Greece for the past 18 months, working as a financial reporter at a shipping firm.

Susana had decided to leave Greece because she had 'had enough' after 7 years. Gerry's  reasons were a little more elaborate.

The Greek Tax office: Eforia, η Εφορία
The first was the economic problem that the country was facing.  Gerry was not very optimistic about Greece getting it's act together, and that it was very likely that it would be defaulting on its loans from the IMF.  He was so convinced of this and the impending collapse of the entire Greek financial system that he was withdrawing all funds he had from here.  (This action by the way had to go through the usual channels of bureaucracy that bog down any financial actions in this country, namely the tax department or what is know as the EFORIA.)

The second reason he gave is that he did not think Greeks were very nice people.  He did not trust them.  He felt they were not very friendly, and he felt they were very difficult to work with. Gerry was of the belief that Greeks would not change their ways.  He went on to say that he would probably do the same thing if he was a Greek too.

Beautiful women or γκομενάκια
The third reason he gave really struck a chord with me though.  He said that after one and a half years he was basically tired of just living the Greek lifestyle.  The 'going out' every night to bars or cafes or going to the islands.  He was bored with it.

I'm bored with it too.  Don't get me wrong I like sunny beaches, enjoying a meal on a table by the sea, and seeing pretty women walking around.  Who wouldn't?  If that's all that there is to do though, you would eventually get sick of it.

Pastitsio photo by Robert KindermannIt's like making your favourite food,  the staple of your diet.

Say you love pastitsio, and that's all you eat for the rest of your life!  Eventually you will get a build up of  plaque in your circulatory system leading to atherosclerosis which may lead to a stroke that leaves you as a paralysed drooling incoherent mess.  This in a country in which the health care system is based on the "fakelaki".

I can see Gerry's point.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Adult Children of Greece

About a week ago I received a call from one of our tenants, let's call him Aris, complaining to me about one of the other tenants, let's call him Akis. Akis was apparently blocking  Aris' parking spot.  Aris asked me to speak to Akis as he feels that he would not be able to speak to him without saying something regrettable.

Akis is a farmer who has recently rented an apartment with his wife in town.  He has a small Datsun pick-up truck, that according to Aris, he sometimes parks haphazardly that according to him makes it nearly impossible for him to get out of his spot.  

Now Aris probably in his 70s, retired and according to him with him some recent health issues that involved some kind of surgery.  I didn't ask, I was already too deeply involved.

I asked Aris if he had spoken to Akis, Aris said "No, I haven't"
I said " why not?"
"because I'm not the type of person to go knocking on someone's door to complain, I just don't do that"
I replied " I think it would be better if you tell him about your problem yourself"
He disagreed and in an effort to comfort him I agreed to speak to Akis myself.

This is just the kind of behaviour that is common in this country, refusing to take responsibility for anything when it involves some type of temporary discomfort .  Had this been from someone of a much younger age maybe I could have said it was simply immaturity, but Aris is in his 70s, and I would think that he would have known by now.

But that's what this country is full of, adult children.  When a small child gets into some kind of difficulty, they look to their parents for help, and when their parents take actions or tell them something they don't like kids will usually pout, cry or throw some kind of a tantrum.  If the parents do their job, the kids learn from these experiences and  grow up to be mature somewhat adjusted adults.  If they don't you may end up with narcissistic middle aged brats that have no understanding whatsoever about the responsibilities involved with adulthood.

In Greece unfortunately these adult kids are way too plentiful.  Just take a look at PAME!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Greece defeats Nigeria 2-1 at FIFA World Cup, why so blue still Vasili?

The Greek football squad managed to reach two milestones today as they scored their first goal, and won their first match ever in a FIFA World Cup final. Despite a questionable start that seemed to be a repeat performance of the type seen against South Korea last Saturday, the Greek squad persevered.

After falling behind 1-0 to the Nigerians early in the first half the Greek squad seemed to be falling apart like a poorly put together gyros. Luckily, the gods were finally ready to show them some mercy as a straight red card for Sani Kaita just after the half-hour left the Nigerian team with one player short.

The Greek squad took on a whole new lease on life after that, and managed to tie the score before the end of the first half, and then go on to win the match with a second goal in the second half.

This was a great moment for Greek football.

At the end of the match, one of the scorers for Greece Vasileios Torosidis was asked about what he thought about the match. Of course he was happy that they had won the match, and that information itself would have sufficed to complete the interview.

This concept of "enough" is very significant in this situation. An analogy would be making yoghurt (in Greek its called yah-oor-tee: γιαούρτι).  Once you heat up the sheep's milk to the perfect temperature, that is you get just enough heat, that's when you remove it from the heat, otherwise you over heat the milk denaturing the milk protein structure and ruining the whole thing.

This is what Vasili did, he fucked up the yah-oor-tee (γιαούρτι).

In the process of explaining how he was supposedly elated about the outcome, Vasili managed to also say:
 "I don't care if we advance, I only care that the team is happy right now" he also said "many people in Greece don't love us" and "we dedicate this win to those who love us, and no one else".

Now was that really necessary Vasili?  Is the heat of the pressure really that much Vasili?  Are you like yah-oor-tee and  worried about your proteins becoming denatured Vasilaki?

This is just the type of thing that is all too common in this nation.  The attitude.  I may sound like I am generalising, I'm not.  There is an abundance of straight up people in this country who have tact and a smile on their face every day no matter what.  And then there an abundance of people like Vasili.  People who despite the fact that they have what seems to be everything one could hope for just can't maintain a certain minimal calibre of grace under a slight amount of pressure. These are the ones that keep fucking up my yah-oor-tee.

Metro on strike again

-because the last government hired an XS amount of employees in Metro as rousfetia, and this cause the metro to opertate with a larger deficit.
-Metro refuses to renew their contracts, so they went on strike and Athens is without Metro for two days now

Doing "business"

-called one of my suppliers today, their phone lines are out
-OSE going bankrupt