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10 Things I've Learned About Greece

Recently I spent a month living in Chania Crete, Greece and these are the top ten things I've learned from being there.

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1. Everyone will know you are a foreigner and they will stare

stevannoronha.com

No matter how much you think you’re blending in, you’re really not. Whether it’s the way to you look, what you wear, how you speak, how fast you walk, etc. the locals will know you don’t belong and they will stare. They don't do it to be rude, but it is something you just have to get used to.

2. Knowing the letters on a Frat house will NOT help you know Greek

Katie Strickler

It’s veta not theta, mi not mu, pee not pi, and so many others. My freshman year at college was a lie! So many lies from so many frat houses...

3. Cats and dogs are EVERYWHERE

No matter where you are, you’ll probably see a cat or a dog lurking somewhere (both strays and pets). However, even though these animals are everywhere, they are treated pretty poorly. In Greece (at least in Chania), cat’s and dog’s lives are not viewed as highly as they are in America (a cat’s life if usually valued the same as a rat’s). If a pet has babies, but the owner doesn’t want them, they usually put the babies out on the street. Once on the street, animals get kicked, hit by cars (sometimes purposely, sometimes not), and in extreme cases, sometimes poison is left for the animals to eat/drink. And although most Greeks do not like the overpopulation of animals, they still do not believe in neutering their animals. Luckily there is a woman trying to save these animals and you can check out her website/donate at http://animalscare.gr/ or http://www.actionforanimals.org/pages/volunteer_info.htm

4. Everyone has a motorbike and they might just hit you with it

Katie Strickler

It seems everyone is riding some sort of motorbike–teenagers, parents with their kids, old men going to the grocery store, delivery boys–and most of them drive pretty recklessly (at least in my opinion). People on motorbikes weave in and out of traffic, speed way over the speed limit, and sometimes even start driving on the sidewalk! The majority of people driving the bikes won’t move out of the way or stop for those that are walking; most of the time it’s the pedestrians trying to avoid the bikes rather than the other way around.

5. The Difference Between a Gyro and Souvlaki

They both have meat, they both have pita, they both have tomato, yogurt sauce, onions, and fries. So what they hell is the difference?! It literally took me about two weeks to figure it out. The only real difference is the way the meat is cooked. In gyros, the meat is on a vertical rotisserie and consists of strips and small slices of meat (apparently the word “gyro” means “going around” in Greek). In souvlakis, the meat is cooked on a skewer, similar to a kebab, and consists of bigger chunks of meat (apparently the word “souvlaki” means “small skewer” in Greek). All in all, they are both super delicious and I believe you have not fully lived until you have tried them at least once. Which brings me to my next point.....

6. Greek food is the best food. Ever.

I can honestly say I have never had a bad Greek meal. Gyros, souvlaki, lamb, moussaka, tomato balls, dakos, baklava, etc.–they’re all so good! I never had Greek food before but now I can honestly say it’s my favorite!

7. Greeks run on their own time

Via honestpublishing.com

Walking is to be done at a moderately slow pace, otherwise you’re considered running; getting coffee at a cafe can take about three hours; if someone is about 5-10 minutes late, they are still one time. Greeks tend to take everything slower, which is a good thing. They tend to take their time and enjoy whatever activity they’re doing (even if it is just walking down the street), unlike Americans who want the quickest way possible.

8. Do NOT put toilet paper in the toilet

Katie Strickler

Throwing toilet paper in the toilet actually clogs the toilet. Instead you are supposed to wipe and then throw your used toilet paper in a little trashcan that is placed conveniently next to the toilet. To this day, I still find this to be pretty gross, but when in Greece…..

9. Most of the time, wine is cheaper than soda (or about the same price)

Katie Strickler

So you might as well drink up! In Greece, wine and alcohol is just a part of their culture-- most people drink wine with dinner pretty much every night-- so they don’t feel the need the jack up the prices.

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