Sunday, January 20, 2013

Greek Life

Super delicious Greek dessert!!!

Picnic by the sea~

Too. much. yum. 
Orange cake from our favorite cafe!

General life in Athens takes its own slow tempo. Eleni told us how “Greeks enjoy their free time,” and at the end of our trip I can definitely say that Julie and I get it. Meals, for instance, easily last 2-3 hours. It isn’t about being slow eaters, but about taking the time to enjoy the meal and more importantly, the company. As a terrifyingly fast eater (imagine a raptor preying on baby dinosaurs and you pretty much have me at the dinner table) coming from a family of fast eaters, I’ve come to appreciate my meals in Athens. No one is rushing to get from point A to point B, rather everyone is enjoying the block of time that they have in between, when they aren’t working two jobs to make ends meet. I love it. I love that waiters do not rush you or passive aggressively clear your table to get you to leave. I love how dessert is offered for free. I love how kind owners will give you free desserts or free shots just because they are friendly (and during such an economically hard time). Oh, and on a side note, being vegetarian in Greece has been the best.
The same principles apply to café shops. After a few hours of walking around, Julie and I will pop into the nearest and cutest looking café to rest our legs and enjoy some tea. We’ll end up spending a couple hours in the same spot. Logistically, this life style may be more expensive if you add up how many cups of drinks you buy. And maybe on paper, it sounds like a humdrum way to live. But Julie and I both agreed that our time spent in Athens has been, albeit slower than Istanbul, pleasant in its own Athens-esque way. We made friends with the café workers at a place called Kimolia (chalk) Art Café (perhaps we are touristic “regulars”), ate traditional foods, met so many new friends by being super extroverted and friendly, and got to really learn how to enjoy our free time. It will be weird adjusting when we return to Berkeley, the land of Rush To the Library and Waste None Of The Time. I definitely do not miss that culture, where I feel like minutes of time spent with people are measured by how much time that could be spent “being productive.” I wish we had a culture that put more value in interactions, in setting side the time to thoroughly enjoy people’s presence and making simple gatherings very personal. But we will cross that bridge when we fly back to the States. 

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