Interactions with the Locals | #3

This past week was the last week of my first language class in Greece. I  received a new language teacher for the week, and I liked her teaching style much more than the previous teacher’s. I felt less pressured in the class and after loosing my love of learning Greek the previous week, I know have regained it. I finished level three of my language class, which I am really glad about it! I know so much more grammar and can begin to learn even more. After a ton of hard work, I finally reached the small end goal of finishing the class (the larger goal being learning Greek).

This week during my research, I was alone for the first time since my professor is back in the U.S. The research went great, and I had no issues. I began digitizing the letters to and from Eva Palmer Sikelianos. I organized them in an excel sheet based on their date, cities of origin and destination, contents, and any defining features of the written words. It is definitely rewarding to see how far the project is coming. The best part is finding something interesting that has been written, whether it be about the love for a lover or the unhappiness in one’s life. It makes me realize just how similar people were in the early 1900s to how they are now. The human condition and emotions is still very much the same.

On Friday I went into a Greek shop at Plaka and became friends with the locals who owned it! They expect me to visit them often and improve my Greek every time I come there. I am excited over this friendship because Greece is finally becoming what I imagined it to be. Before I came to Greece, I expected shops to be right next to my apartment and for me to see the same locals everyday and become friends with them. However, my apartment is around a five minute walk from the nearest street or center with owner-run stores. This is not much, but this definitely prevents me from seeing locals everyday, because I usually don’t pass by the stores.

I also live in a non-tourist part of Greece, and I can definitely see a difference with the locals there than the locals in Plaka or Monastiraki (the tourist parts). Most of the times the locals in my non-tourist area think I’m Greek born, so we begin speaking in Greek; however, sometimes when I can no longer keep up the conversation in Greek and they realize I am American, a sudden distance grows between us and they are not as friendly anymore. Although, this only happens with some of them, as others have been very nice, just like in America where some are nice and some aren’t. In the tourist area, however, almost all the locals are extremely nice, open, friendly, and are very interested in getting to know you as a person. After meeting the family in the Greek shop and becoming friends with them, I am finally starting to see some of that stereotypical Greek hospitality. It is also nice that now the locals whose businesses I walk past everyday (in the tourist area) to go to my research recognize me as a regular person, so it has begun to feel more welcome and friendly.

That Friday night, I went to Syntagma Square and saw the beautiful fountain in front of the Greek Parliament.

On Saturday I went to the Parthenon, and what an amazing, breathtaking work of art, especially when you realize how long it’s been standing (over 2000 years)! The views from the Acropolis were incredible and simply gorgeous. It’s amazing to see the city below and other renowned monuments from a high view.

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