“Spark”notes of Athens

This past week I have been a little unlucky to say the least.  It seems that I quite literally repel technology-and unfortunately my roommates have to deal with the consequences.  One night I was using our communal euro hair straightener and managed to break it-the same night I also semi-broke our communal euro hairdryer.  Then the next night I quietly tiptoed into the kitchen to get some water.  I touched the light switch and seamlessly blew a fuse on that entire side of the apartment.  All of my roommates were sound asleep-not a creature was stirring not even a mouse-well except for the mouse that lives in our quarantined bathroom.

 I was so exhausted that I planned on going to bed and dealing with the fuse in the morning.  Our switchboard is labeled in Greek-as it should be-and I wasn’t about to try and play around with each one until I fixed the fuse.  I can barely read Greek in my language textbook-never mind trying to decipher it on an electrical switchboard at 2am.  I don’t even attempt that stuff when I’m in America and the labels are in English.  So I crawled back into my bed.  But then I thought-wait, the refrigerator is in the kitchen…which means that it isn’t currently working.  I can live in the dark (lets be honest, I pretty much do live in the dark), but I can’t live without food.

 So I got back up and considered waking one of my roommates, Emma, for help.  She fixed the last fuse that I caused (shocker huh? -no pun intended).  But seeing as I have weird anxiety about waking people up, I easily talked myself out of that one.  Looks like it’s just me and the Greek fuse box, duking it out.  Talk about a power struggle.

 Greece is really becoming a catalyst in the development of my problem-solving skills.  The thought of my Greek yogurt, spoon sweets, cheese, and eggs all going bad was egging me on (pun intended) to fix the fridge.  And in other news, apparently I only consume dairy products?  So, I grab my notebook from my Greek Language Class.  I used it to attempt deciphering the Greek words scribbled in pencil under each switch. 

 After about half an hour, I figured out the word for lights and flipped the switch.  It was the right one thankfully and our fridge came back to life!  Well I managed to break three different electronic devices-so I must be at my quota.

 I guess my quota is a little bit more than three though in Greece.  The next day I opened the refrigerator and the light didn’t come on.  Well, shit now it’s really broken and this time it wasn’t from a fuse.  No easy flip of the switch fix here.  We called our housing manager for help.  It was a Saturday-no repairman could be there until Monday.  And lets be honest, even that was a stretch.  No food for the weekend.  Any excuse to buy myself more spanikopitas though is good in my book.  The housing manager said, “don’t worry it will probably fix itself.”  That is a common outlook in Greece.  No one strains themselves-not even refrigerators.  It’s not a laziness thing-it’s a wonderful thing.  All the more acceptable in a culture that takes coffee breaks like it’s a sport.

And you know what?  The fridge did fix itself.  And so did the hair straightener and hair dryer that I broke earlier.  Maybe it was my bad luck.  Or maybe it was just another practical joke Zeus played on me.  Either way I now open my refrigerator with a little bit more caution.  And when that light comes on I have a lot more appreciation.  Greece is a culture founded on old values and ancient ruins-not everything is going to run smoothly all of the time.  Not even modern day electronics or appliances.  Greeks do what they want when they want, that’s for sure.  So it should come to no surprise that my Greek refrigerator does what it wants too-temporarily breaking.  After all, everyone needs a break at some point right?

 It’s not all sunshine and roses here in Athens.  But one things for sure, my fridge is now running-and that is a beautiful thing.

 Love,

 TZEINA

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2 Responses to ““Spark”notes of Athens”

  1. Faye Sotirakis Says:

    My dear TZEINA – This run of bad luck as perceived through my Greek eyes is clearly a case of “evil eye” run amuck. So remember what I taught you to say under your breath when a compliment comes your way. Of course, if you don’t have a drawer-full of Greek protective amulets by now, GO OUT AND GET MORE! No self-respecting Greek woman would be without more than she would every need! By far the best remedy is the magic protection of our own spit. So since I read this entry I have been facing East and spitting three times several times a day. So if you should feel a droplet land on your forehead and there is no rain cloud in sight that would be me doing my part to clear this episode of evil eye. Ahhh, life in the land of old magic. Yassou, with much love, Faye

  2. Faye Sotirakis Says:

    My dear TZEINA – This run of bad luck as perceived through my Greek eyes is clearly a case of “evil eye” run amuck. So remember what I taught you to say under your breath when a compliment comes your way. Of course, if you don’t have a drawer-full of Greek protective amulets by now, GO OUT AND GET MORE! No self-respecting Greek woman would be without more than she would every need! By far the best remedy is the magic protection of our own spit. So since I read this entry I have been facing East and spitting three times several times a day. So if you should feel a droplet land on your forehead and there is no rain cloud in sight that would be me doing my part to clear this episode of evil eye. Ahhh, life in the land of old magic. Yassou, with much love, Faye

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