Friday, February 15, 2008

Greeks Everywhere...

My post today is more of a request really. What I'd like is information. I'm doing some research on Greeks who live abroad. My main aim is to get feedback from Greeks who live in other countries, their thoughts on their homeland, and the reasons they stayed or stay where they are and do not return. I'd like to know your thoughts on the Greek system, the way of life. What are the things that would attract you to returning to your homeland or the land of your parents? What would you change? I'm really interested in getting all this information together, so please send me your thoughts at allgreek1@gmail.com.

Thanks a lot....

13 comments:

Λύσιππος said...

Η Ελλάδα χρειάζεται αναποδογύρισμα, τίναγμα να πέσουν όλα τα κίβδηλα τιμαλφή και ανασυγκρότηση. Χρειάζεται χτίσιμο εκ του μηδενός με σχέδια που να προγραμματίζουν την πορεία για μερικές δεκαετίες, όχι για κουτσές πολιτικές τετραετίες.

Sia said...

I was born in Australia... and so were my parents. But i was always taught to say 'I am Greek' and never to say that 'I am Australian'.

It's a little weird how Greek Australians associate themselves with Greece and being Greek but wouldn't consider living there.

I am heading to Greece very soon (this year) for a holiday, but you never know... i might not decide to go home :-)

GreekGoddess said...

Hi Gia. You may remember me; I e-mailed you a while ago (I have a blog now at The Apple Drawer on Blogger.com). I am a teacher of ESL in Melbourne and have just finished up a year contract. I am coming with my parents to Greece next week. Parents are staying for 2 months and I thought I was too but, like Sia, if I find I can work and live there, I will stay. All I need is to find a relatively good teaching job in Kalamata that will pay my bills. As for my dad, who's from there, he longs for Greece every waking moment but his main concern is the health and palliative care system, which he couldn't live under. However, he says that if we win the lottery, he'll be in Greece in a second. I know most others his age stay abroad because they're helping to raise their grandkids, since their kids are all working. I hope this is helpful.

GreekGoddess said...

I forgot to state my reasons for wanting to live in Greece (for awhile). These are my thoughts as they are at present, hence not educated opinions, but more fanciful ones: I want to eat healthier food, I want more fresh air, I want to meet more Europeans, I want to be closer to my immediate relatives, I want to experience the feeling of truly belonging somewhere and being accepted without question, I want to count to people, I want a more simple life that doesn't always revolve around spending money, I want to swim more than once in the summer, I want to lose weight, I want to LIVE LIVE LIVE my single life to the fullest. Final note: Melbourne is wonderful for families or couples but the worst place on earth for single, Greek women from poor families! Excuse the rattling on and I hope this helps!

Λύσιππος said...

Greetings from Florida/USA.

Greek Goddess, not trying to clip your wings but here are some facts about Greece of today.

Greece has become a very expensive place to be on vacation or live permanently at. I was born in Greece 40 years ago and I've been living in the US for the past 10 years. My first visit to Greece occurred 7 years after my move to the US and I cried, witnessing the overwhelming invasion of the cars parked on every single spot of the sidewalks, parks and public areas.

Greeks have become rude, unnecessarily aggressive, selfish and arrogant. They've become lazy, overfed and unable to separate quality from quantity. Fifty percent of the population lives in two cities, Athens and Thessaloniki. The mainland has been deserted, the villages are dying with 10-20 people staying behind, aging while their children never return. The farms are being taken care of by Albanian immigrants, who also do all the dirty tasks and manual labor. Greeks consider themselves too good to do such work. Males consider the obligatory military service of 12 months to be a pain and they try their best to avoid serving. I served for 19 months and consider it a personality-strengthening experience.

Homeless people are a common sight nowadays. In my 30 years of living in Greece, I never saw a single person wandering in the streets with their entire life's belongings stuffed in a supermarket cart. I saw such homeless people only here in the US.

People's behavior is horrible, both to eachother and to strangers. Noone greets eachother with "kalimera". Grumpy faces, with married couples sitting across from eachother not saying a word while eating at restaurants. Having kids is a luxury. There is no education about STD's and no family planning. There are 250,000 abortions every year and families that somehow have 3 kids get special funds from the state (it used to be 4 and up when I was growing up).

Sure, if you have money things are different. Imagine this, an apartment (flat) in Athens of 1,200 sq.ft (about 120 sq. meters) can cost 500,000 euro to buy. That's almost $750,000 and that much money buys you a 3,000 sq.ft. villa in Florida.

The public sector and healthcare are horrible. Major hospitals lack public toilets and treatment of the sick gives priority to those who know a person of importance, such as a politician or a doctor. People still pay money under the table to be treated for their ailments.

Nightlife is packed with extortion and protection rings, prostitution and hard drugs like cocaine. Most alcoholic beverages are tainted and should be avoided (except for beer).

Greeks never learn from their past mistakes and have assumed the attitude that they should somehow inherit the world without any effort. Twenty+ years ago, the mayor of Athens at that time, Antonis Tritsis, said that we show our civilization by the way we treat women's public bathrooms: a simply disgusting sight.

While the world moves forward, Greeks consume eachother's flesh and bones refusing to work for a common cause, refusing to contribute or volunteer.

The most common word in Greek is "malakas". Kids seem to use it since they learn to speak. The educators have long given up trying to teach children proper use of the language; the parents fail to instill good qualities - how could this be possible when they do not spend time with the children as they both work? The kids don't spend time with grandparents anymore, they are raised by eastern European nannies.

The media, namely television and the daily newspapers appear to control people's minds. The morning shows are full of talentless people seeking attention and 15 minutes of fame - not because they are talented but because they are vain. Do not confuse vanity with ambition! Newspapers launch smear campaigns against each political party and promote scandals and insinuate untrue situations.

Meanwhile, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is lobbying to change their name to the world as "Macedonia". The Greeks are in deep sleep. The politicians are powerless pawns. There is no national strategy, no planning against disasters. Greece was badly burnt last summer and more than 60 people died from the various fires. The state watched unable to offer immediate assistance.

You mentioned clean air, pollution in the big cities is horrendous, a slow killer to everyday pedestrians. Greeks smoke like chimneys, a pack+ a day. They know that it will kill them some day, causing cancer or emphysema but they do not seem to care - their response is "it's one of the few pleasures left".

To enjoy a trip to Greece one should be prepared for the worst and carefully plan for the best.

Be safe and enjoy the four elements, the rocks, the sea, the wind and the heat of the summer.

GreekGoddess said...

Thanks for that Lysippos. Perhaps I'll change my plans and go to Italy instead!

GreekGoddess said...

On another note, I don't think Greece can change by itself anymore. The EU is too involved in its workings and too many Greek politicians are expected to kiss ass to get anything done (e.g. Macedonia issue). We have diplomatised ourselves into the ground. The only hope now is, un-very-fortunately, integration with the rest of the EU, which will bring about a loss of traditions, culture, identity, language and religion and result in homogeneity and brainwashing of the youth. I think the powers that be know this and they're just waiting for the older folks to die out so they can start afresh with the younger generation. We will probably see rich Germans and Brits moving into little villas in the villages and sourcing food grown on farms tended by Romanians and Bulgarians (the Albanians may move up to small shops and businesses). Smarter entrepreneurs will start up B&Bs and hotels up in the more picturesque villages and opportunities will abound for tour guides and agritourism experts etc. So I think someone will always benefit but that will not be the common man with his little olive grove and donkey. We have to understand that true Greece today has moved on to the diaspora countries and will soon be consumed there too, with the increase in intermarriage and waning power of the Greek Orthodox church. 'Greek' will eventually become an interesting thing to say about your past as an ice-breaker, as in, "My mother's ancestors were Greek," kind of similar to saying "My grandfather used to own a shoe shop." Something to add flavour to a conversation, nothing more.

I believe there are enough Greek people in the world who care about their heritage to do something to change this impending situation. But no matter how strong you are, you cannot fight against your own and it's our own people who are fighting against us on this. They are standing in the way blocking the door because the doorman who employs them is paying them well. Today there is one truth in the world and that is money. It doesn't matter if we disagree with this. We are just sailors flexing our muscles on the shore while the mile-high tsunami crashes towards us. It's not a matter of truth but logistics. Realistically, we are being consumed because what is inside of us is no longer strong enough to hold at bay what is closing in around us. Forgive me for theologising but it would take a miracle of God to save Greece today. And how many Greeks have you run into today who have raised their eyes to heaven and prayed to God for anything? If I had a dollar for each time they mention the devil, I wouldn't be here typing this; I wouldn't care, just like the rich of the world don't care and don't listen. There comes a time when the oil just runs out and the flame must burn out. You would think we would have learnt something, having discovered so much mathematics. If you could only know how sad I feel as I write this.

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