Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Greek’

Not Quite Resolutions

Image From http://therichkidwannabe.blogspot.com/2011/01/resolutions-for-new-year.htmlI’ve never much believed in New Years Resolutions, mainly because the turning of the year is no more likely to get me on a treadmill than bikini season or my gym instructor’s scornful “I haven’t seen you here in months” eyes. So just to be clear these are not resolutions. It’s two weeks into 2012, so we can agree that I’ve definitely missed the resolution making portion of the year.

These are not so much ways to improve myself, and lets face it why would I want to (don’t answer that) but instead, more ways to ensure I don’t reach 2013 without a single thing to show for myself aside from that increasing Jack Daniels dependency. And shoes, far, far too many shoes.

1. Get a job, one which pays more than the most minimum of wages. As much as I love my mum, I can’t spend the next 27 years living at home, which incidentally is how long it would take me to put a deposit on the very shittiest of flats with my current salary.

2. Sky dive, or bungee jump, or take up aerobatic flying lessons or pretty much anything in this general category that is guaranteed to make me pee my pants a little bit. You’re never going to be amazed in life, unless you do some things, which are a little bit amazing.

3. Succeed in getting George Michaels “Faith” out of my head. It’s been stuck there for approximately 3 years, and whilst before it was bad, now it also comes with the accompanying dance moves compliments of J.D. No not the liquor, the character, in Scrubs.

4. Visit a county, where the rain is warm. Or perhaps before I get ahead of myself, I should aim to visit a country which is not Cypriot, Greek, Greek-Cypriot or any other variation which results in me eating Feta in the village tavern owned by Stelios.

5. Slow dance. Not jokingly. Not with my God-sister while drunk. Not with my dog (who for the record does an excellent Waltz) and not with my fingers on the steering wheel whilst bored in traffic.

The list could go on. A result of a very unproductive 2011 no doubt, I am left with a million and one things I was always meant to, but never quite got around to doing. I guess I could add teaching my dad how to text to the list and losing that last pound that just won’t budge from my thighs, but like I said these’s aren’t resolutions, and I am not a miracle worker.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’ve lived in London my whole life. I was born over here so I suppose that makes me, if not English, then British at least. So what separates me from all my English friends? Because despite the fact we all went to the same school, watched the same cartoons growing up and all now live within about a 2mile radius of each other, there is a definite difference.

It’s our families, and while my classmates were all bought up with some level of normalcy, I was raised by a man who herded sheep as a child and the woman who chose to marry him. On face value we might seem the same as every other Londoner, but once you know how to read the signs, you’ll notice that you can actually spot us as mile off…

1. You know you’re dealing with someone who has foreign parents when it takes them 10 minutes to explain to the Fed Ex guy how to spell their surname. “No… an.. as..iou… iou… no just one iou… here let me just write if for you!” Because apparently even spell-check can’t help you out with Athanasiou.

2. It doesn’t matter if she’s 26, while she’s living at home, if you’re picking her up for a date, the chances are you’re going to have to wait around the corner.

3. Also, once they do move out, it’s of no consequence how many years they’ve been living away from home, if they’re going to visit their parents, they will be coming back with a clean basket of laundry and 6 assorted Sainsbury’s carrier bags. This is has nothing to do with being spoilt, this is just how our mothers show us love.

Quiet Sunday Dinner...

4. Cooking for Sunday dinner doesn’t involve a quiet meal for 4. No, it involves peeling potatoes until your arm goes numb; after all it’s rude to cook and not invite the whole family over. And even if the whole family isn’t coming, it’s best to cook for them anyway… just in case. Don’t worry this isn’t wasteful, what doesn’t get eaten today will be re-heated four times and eaten every night next week.

5. If while cooking together you pass them the wooden spoon and they duck, I promise this is completely normal. It’s a reflex deeply ingrained in them from the age of about 10 when they brought home their first bad report card and in turn got their first beating. Other such painful memory triggers include: slippers, brooms and their mums hand.

6. This one may be Cypriot specific but, we don’t say turn ‘on the lights’, we say ‘open the lights’. And no, despite being corrected several million times, we still don’t care that it doesn’t make any sense.

7. We have all at some point in our lives received a lecture which is a variation on the classic: “I came to this country with only two pounds in my pocket and I worked hard to build all this for you so you and your sister could have everything…” This may have something to do with the fact our parents believe we don’t recognise hard work due to the fact we have never ploughed a field.

8. “I’m going on holiday to see my family” tends to mean “see you in 5 weeks. I may have a twinge to my accent upon return and if all goes to plan I will be almost black”.

9. Despite being born over here, and having cultivated just about every British tradition going,  we still refer to everyone else as: “English People“.

Souvla Sunday...

10. Again, this may be a Cypriot specific adaptation, derived from the days where public transport was called Laki The Donkey, or perhaps it’s a result of our families missing the village days where everything you ever needed was a 3 minute walk away. Either way we all live pretty much down the same road, or at a push a couple of roads over. This essentially saves money on phone calls because you don’t need to call everyone to invite them to a Sunday BBQ, you just put the meat on and wait for them to smell it.

Read Full Post »

Me in 5 Years?

I actually picked up 20p off the floor today. It’s come to that.

Before you judge me, let it be known I gave it a hand sanitiser bath before popping it into my purse next to that losing lottery ticket I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw away.

Who knew you can’t get a loan for a Masters? Not me. Hats off to NatWest really for allowing me an overdraft the size of Brazil. Not that I’m worried about it or anything, I love a good challenge, and digging my self out of that one, is going to be just that.

I remember earning some money somewhere along the way, but since the only thing I ever invested in was my feet, we’re back to square one. My maths is rusty at best, so correct me if I’m wrong, but with the help of my blackberry’s calculator I worked out that over the years, I’ve spent approximately £3000 on shoes.

My next pair perhaps?

Now, I didn’t want to have to whip out the finger of blame, but I’m convinced that my parents have been encouraging this unfortunate obsession on the basis that without savings I’d be forced to live with them until the age of 35.

To any other culture this would seem an inprobable explanation, but us Greeks like our kids where we can see them. Where we can ensure they are eating four square meals a day, and only bringing home acceptable suitors (wealthy bankers who grown their own tomato plants and are in possession of a stereotypically Mediterranean  long baby finger nail).

“Love grows” my Grandma tells me, “what you need is stability”. They may as well give up this pretence of happiness altogether and nudge me down the aisle, to Abba’s Money Money Money proving my fellow students right once and for all.

I should elaborate. Way back when in sixth form, I had been voted “Most Likely To Marry For Money”. I personally don’t know where they got such an idea.

Yes I’d like to be rich, who wouldn’t? (Walk in wardrobe’s don’t build themselves you know). And yes it’s probably going to take me a while (because as I’ve discovered, working in the media industry involves a lot of working for free). And okay, if I were the “sleep your way to the top” type of girl I’d probably get there a lot faster. But damn it my morals are always getting in the way of an easy life.

So until success busts a groove over to my ends, London keep dropping those 20p’s and I’ll keep picking them up. And one day, when I can spare them, perhaps I’ll drop a few back.

Read Full Post »

I’m a girl who likes her meat.

Don’t look at me like that, as a Cypriot I was brought up believing two things. The first is that anything edible can and should be barbequed. The second is that nothing compliments meat, like another side of meat.

You can imagine my concern therefore upon up-taking a two week vegetarian challenge, that the burger cravings might kill me. There was an honest moment of panic where I seriously considered carrying chicken slices around in my purse for emergencies, (I was however dissuaded by the prospect of hungry dogs chasing me down the street).

I also decided to document my progress as I went along, so my story would live on if I did not survive the challenge:

Day 1: To be honest I don’t see what all the panic was about. Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, fried eggs… my solution to a vegetarian life. And I am happy in the knowledge that my lunch is only a fertilisation away from being real meat.

Day 4: Drove past KFC today. A little part of me wanted to do a head drive through their front window and live happily ever after with a bucket of chicken wings.

Day 5: My parents made steak for Sunday dinner. Twenty-one years of Sunday dinner and I don’t once remember seeing a steak. A blatantly tactical move to make me suffer. They bought me quorn. It tasted a little like breaded cardboard, but one jug of gravy later and I was a Yorkshire pudding away from a Sunday Roast.

Day 6: Started work experience at London Greek Radio in Finchley. I work oposite Nandos, McDonalds and Chimi Changa. My mouth could be having a chicken enduced party right now. Instead I’m eating a cheese salad sandwhich from the Cafe next door.

Day 8: I dreamt of burgers last night. No, seriously, I did.

Day 11: I accidentally burnt everyone’s dinner. They ate blackened lasagne and suddenly my little quorn burgers are looking very appealing to them. Unintentional revenge. Ha.

Day 13: Went for a curry with my girls. Now for the record, curry without meat is just vegetables with sauce. I’m just saying if I wanted mushy potatoes blended with onions and peas, I could have saved myself twenty quid and eaten processed baby food.

Day 14: Eggs, Peanut butter, pasta, bread, cheese, chocolate and about fifteen teas a day are what got me this far. There is a strong possibility that a permanent vegetarian lifestyle would be a short stop away from obesity for me. And having lived in the body of a chubby teenager I can confirm the double-chin look does very little for me.

Two weeks later and I’m just about ready for an onion-smothered hot dog.

Do I feel bad for eating meat? When I was younger I used to, I can’t say that I do any more. If I had a pet cow or sheep I don’t doubt I’d change my mind again, but seeing as my garden isn’t big enough for either, that’s not an immediate issue of mine.

As for my experience, what can I say…

Do I think I could live without meat? Yes.

Do I want to? No.

Read Full Post »

Image by Miranda Athanasiou 2010

My parents came back from Cyprus yesterday with two suitcases full of food. They seem to think you can’t buy limes and halloumi cheese in England.

It’s all part of being Cypriot you see. Sainsbury’s: culture at your doorstep, so you’d think… but no no, why buy olives when you can take a mere four hour flight to the Cypriot mountains and pick them fresh from your own trees.

Then of course comes the olive oil. With that many olives, you can’t not make olive oil.

And then once you make the olive oil you convince yourself if goes with everything. The other day my dad made me a chicken sandwich, only instead of butter he used olive oil. “Really, are we doing this now?”

He looked so proud “you can really taste the olives can’t you”. Well you would hope so George. Two days ago they were still hanging merrily on a tree.

And lets not forget the pitta bread now. Not one or two packets, but twenty. Twenty packets of pitta bread somehow stuffed into their hand luggage and flown over because this particular brand isn’t sold in the UK. And what’s better about this brand? The pitta’s are about three times the size of the ones sold over here, and heaven forbid we eat less, when we have the possibility of eating more.

I’ll give them this, when it comes to Mediterranean eccentricities, my family are top notch. Like having a son- kind of a big deal, to most men I’d assume, but to Cypriot men in particular.

While my dad has always claimed having two daughters is more than enough to deal with, the fact he calls my dog his “son” makes he feel he’s not being entirely honest with us.

My Brother. Image: Athanasiou 2010

So fair enough, he lavishes a little attention on the dog; he treats him like an addition to the family. He makes him eat salad with his barbequed chicken so he stays a ‘healthy boy’; it doesn’t bother me. And I’ll give it to him, Patchy is the better behaved of his three children.

Though I did feel using my £40 shampoo and conditioners to bath my four-legged brother was a step too far. What can I say; nothing is too good for a Cypriot man’s son.

Of course this is all just the tip of the very Greek iceberg.

We talk about seven times louder than other people. Not because we have a problem with our hearing but because we like to talk over each other. Why wait your turn to talk when you can just go right ahead and speak over the person who’s already talking? That’s just wasting valuable eating time.

Don’t get me wrong, I think being Cypriot is kind of fun. It’s helped me master the art of competitive eating (when Sunday lunch consists of 30 people you eat fast or you don’t eat at all). Not to mention the money I’ve managed to con out of my uncles who are always up for a bet: “if I eat these 5 hot chilli’s you give me £40 each”.

Fine so I had my tongue on ice for the rest of that week, but baby I was rich.

Marriage is another biggie. I think my grandma is trying to set me up with a cousin; a second or third cousin, but a cousin all the same. Getting married, having Greek babies, learning to make little filo-pastry pies: all very important on a Cypriot girl’s agenda.

I hope it doesn’t break their hearts when I announce the idea of marriage before I’m 30 (pretty damn scary) and as for babies, we’ll I’ve never been a fan.

Perhaps I should break it to them over a nice spinach and olive pie. You know, to ease the blow.


My Big Fat Greek Wedding: another insight into Cypriot culture.

Read Full Post »

“There’s no such thing as a funny girl”. What. “Girls aren’t funny”. Come again. “They try to be funny but it never works”. Stop now.

All these years I’ve been reassuring myself that I can compensate for all the areas in life which I am lacking, with my good sense of humour. My friends have made no effort to correct my life long belief system that my ability to make people laugh will balance out the fact I am vertically challenged (okay short) and opinionated (mouthy).

Mankind has however decided it is time to put me in my place. Well, actually, just a singular man, but he assures me he is a designated mouthpiece for the male species in general. And the news he has to bear? “Comedy should be left to us men”. That’s right.

And us ladies? We should stick to the areas our intellects can handle…perfecting our polite laugh and mastering a good meatloaf. Now don’t get me wrong, as a Greek girl I understand the importance of managing to look sexy in an apron and being able to make the perfect halloumi sandwich. I just didn’t realise that was all we were meant to do.

The problem now is, I’m going to have to find myself a new niche. Something to help me stand out from the crowd: aside from my apparently piss-poor jokes and curly hair. One of my friends for example can do the chest flex: not impressed? What if I tell you she’s a girl? Now that’s pretty cool, and that right there, is a niche.

So I asked him, this friend of mine, who told me there’s no such thing as a funny girl (and even if there was, no one would want to date her). I asked him what would be a more desirable female quality. After all, I don’t want to make the effort to develop a new talent, only to be told it is also obsolete.

Cooking? Probably not right? That’s what a guy has his mum for. Being champion of Mario Cart’s Rainbow road? Sure, if you want to be one of the lads. Guess that rules out competitive eating too. Which is a shame really, growing up in a family where Sunday lunch consisted of 30 people, the eat-or-have-it-eaten-for-you mentality means I can eat anyone under the table. Quantity and speed.

And then he told me the secret to being desirable, and asked me to pass it on to female-kind.

“The sexiest thing a girl can do, is laugh at my jokes”.

“What if they’re not funny?” I had to ask because, bless his soul, generally they’re not.

“Laugh anyways”. Just like that. The answer to love and all its problems summed up in two simple words.

I’ll get right on that, as soon as I find somewhere to store my dignity for a while. Though, maybe, until I find a big yellow storage for my soul I’ll stick to my average jokes and unladylike sarcasm.

And as for my friend, (and in fact all men that that like the silent-cooking types) perhaps you should invest in a bread-maker and forgo the trouble of a real relationship. I promise, you’re going to save yourself a fortune in texts.

Read Full Post »