1. You greet someone by calling him “malaka.”
“Where have you been malaka?” or “I missed you malaka.” This word is the equivalent of “bro” or “brother” in English. The difference is that the real meaning and translation is…asshole!
2. You call your mum to take the “evil eye” away.
No matter your age group, gender, or how modern or traditional you are, it’s likely that when you have a headache, you call your mum first to take the “evil eye” away, and only then do you take a painkiller. Ksematiasma — breaking a spell with secret words that release negative energy, is performed with a glass of water and a drop of olive oil. While this highly scientific ritual is performed, your mum yawns. The more she yawns, the more evil eye you had. Go figure.
3. You crave vromiko (aka dirty) street food.
After serious drinking till 5 am, all you want is a sausage or pork sandwich accompanied by any or all of the following accompaniments: lettuce, carrots, cheese, ham, chips, mayo, mustard, ketchup… And you know it only counts as vromiko when it comes from a street canteen rather than a sandwich shop. The dirtier, they say, the yummier!
4. Your eating hours are entirely random.
I’ll never forget when an Asian girl in my dorm asked me, “When someone eats at 5 in the afternoon, is it late lunch or early dinner? Or if it’s 3 am, what then? Late dinner or early breakfast?” When it comes to scheduling, there’s only one general rule that Greeks like to follow: Eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you’re sleepy. Simple as that.
5. You still live with your parents aged 29.
In the dark ages of the financial crisis, it makes perfect sense. Even 40 years olds return to their parents’ houses. But, to be honest, that used to be the case even B.C. (Before Crisis). And you have plenty of relatives who’ve stayed with mum and dad until marriage.
6. You honk at the car in front of you before the light turns green.
It’s no wonder Greeks have recently been voted the rudest drivers in Europe. We are. And we seem to think we’re foreseers who are able to tell when the traffic light will turn green before it does. That’s why we start honking — so that we don’t miss one precious second of our precious time. Right?
7. “Let’s have a quick coffee to catch up” translates into at least 2 hours off your agenda.
We have a lot say. We also love coffee. We also have a lot of sunny days and our country’s beautiful. Simple.
8. Your mum sent you parcels of food while you were studying abroad.
From spanakopita to tiropita and all the delicious pies in between, your care package also included treats like Greek chocolates, coffee, and…condensed milk?! I’ve even heard of frozen burgers being sent as high priority. The only thing that ever made sense in those parcels, and that had real financial value besides the sentimental one, was the tobacco and cigarettes. Thanks mum!
This article was originally published on March 18, 2015.