Category Archives: Greece

Me make comeback one day

Found somewhere on the internet, credits to the genius who came up with it
Found somewhere on the internet, credits to the genius who came up with it

Dear Sticky Notes reader,

I know it’s been a while since my last post and also a while since I last made this a regular thing. Forgive me for that as my FOMO has kept me running around enough to lose track of my writing. A few amongst you urged me to get back into it and I ashamedly agreed I should do without actually doing anything about it. It’s not that I just procrastinated (although I did finish Breaking Bad, OITNB and have almost managed to re-watch 9 seasons of the X-Files, any minute now!).

It’s just that so many things happened in a short space of time and I needed time to process and distil them into something I can take a sip of that doesn’t make me drunk and crazy like absinthe. Maybe one day I can tell you all about it.

If you’re wondering what’s been going on in my life, I can give you the gist of it: Continue reading Me make comeback one day

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On fish, family and summer

This post began to write itself a few months ago after a visit to the fish counter at my local supermarket. There wasn’t any progress for months until yesterday’s crisp and sunny Monday morning. Walking to work with the latest episode of  This American Life’s, my body found warmth through the sounds, memories and feelings evoked by these stories with the beach as their common denominator. It was time to go back and write on how I feel really about fish…

Continue reading On fish, family and summer

Blink and you’ll miss it

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Say you were born during the mid-eighties in Athens (or most of Greece for that matter). Say that like most of the kids of the same age, growing up you probably had not only one but two television sets in the house – those bulky TVs that took up almost as much space as a small piece of furniture (I remember ours had gum stuck on the door of the compartment where the control buttons were). The chances are that anything you watched that wasn’t Greek was most probably American. The chances also are that almost all of it was either filmed or set in New York.

Continue reading Blink and you’ll miss it

Dogtooth and uncle Oscar

The news spread today that Dogtooth has been nominated for an Academy Award and that has filled me with joy for two reasons: first of all, because the film is Greek. And secondly, because my first ever Sticky Note (if you don’t count the introduction) was written about it.

You can read the post here. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, you should definitely give it a go although you should be warned that the themes can be disturbing at times.

I love the fact that this particular film is nominated as it’s certainly a very different cultural product to be exported from our troubled little country. It’s time to show that despite everything, there is talent and potential in Greece and it’s not simply Eurovision singers and long-haired football players. Let’s hope that the publicity that this nomination has brought is going to be positive for Lanthimos but also for a young generation of film makers that might want to follow in his footsteps. Maybe this will be the opportunity for the country to develop a film industry of its own instead of providing only a backdrop for Hollywood’s ‘escape-in-the-sun’ extravaganzas. No, I didn’t like Mamma Mia.

Mother of arts/And Eloquence

Written on an Athenian wall

As I read about the election results in my troubled hometown, my feelings are mixed. I struggle to remember who I voted for the last time round but this memory eludes me at this moment. Perhaps it’s been suppressed by the feeling of disappointment I was experiencing a bit before I left. My once beloved Athens was beginning to feel like a place I didn’t long to be in. It was time to go.

Continue reading Mother of arts/And Eloquence

The Big Blue(s)

Summer: warmest season of the year, between spring and autumn. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is usually defined as the period between the summer solstice (year’s longest day), June 21 or 22, and the autumnal equinox (day and night equal in length). Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online

My very own definition of summer has varied over the years somewhere in between the one mentioned above and a personally constructed one based NOT on geographical and climatic conditions; the beginning of summer was almost always undoubtedly marked by the arrival at the port of Piraeus. The day when the luggage was loaded onto the car while my dad was complaining about how heavy they were, asking repeatedly if we needed every single thing that was in the bags. The day when we’d get into the car with a mixture of anticipation and sleepiness; it seems like our parents always preferred the early departures which meant we usually had to be on the road well before 7 to avoid the hordes of Athenians that were escaping to the islands as we were about to do.

In the car, us kids on the back seat with our travel bags packed with magazines, books, walkmans or discmans (depending on the year), would listen to our mum talking to herself ‘Did I get the tickets?’ while she would frantically go through her purse only to find them a minute later. Our dad would be on the phone calling to see if the rest of the pack was at the port and we’d shout ‘hellos’ to our friends who were in different cars stuck in traffic in some other part of the city.

The excitement was always indescribable when we’d finally meet outside the ship anxiously waiting to get on it and wave goodbye to the port which was always busy as hell. That used to be the first day of summer for me, when I would hear the anchor being rolled up and I would see the port becoming all the more distant and everyone would run off to the ship’s balconies to watch while our hometown got smaller and smaller and all we could see was the white trail the ship left on its path. There, getting a whiff of the sea which had salted every inch of the banisters, my hair all tangled up in the breeze, summer was finally something more than the warm season, it was my favourite time of the year.

2 or 3 weeks later – depending on the family’s finances that year – I would get out on the balcony reluctantly as the white trail the ship left behind would mean we were heading back home, to the summer heat in the city, to the mundane reality of school and other obligations. Every year I’d be hit by an unfathomable melancholy while looking at the sea from the same balcony that had brought me such enthusiasm only a few weeks ago. The summer was over even if it was still mid-August. For me, it was over. Not the warmest season of the year, but that escape from home to exciting new worlds that existed outside our city, in small villages and towns on the islands I was visiting for the first time. I had to go back to the year’s routine, in the linear reality of school where things resembled ‘Groundhog Day‘ a bit.

This year, the melancholy hit me on the plane. It was the exact same feeling almost like having a deja vu of my childhood and adolescence but with no wind to mess up my hair and not the salty texture of the sea breeze in my mouth. I was sitting in my seat looking outside the window at the blue sea that I was leaving behind to go back to the year’s routine, not a carefree student any more but a full-fledged wage-earning adult.

Oh crap, how it sucks being a grown-up. Especially when the summer is over.

Out of office automatic reply

http://www.cinefilip.gr/gr_epikairotita_001.htm

This sign was a common and seasonal sight where I grew up. Every summer, our local cinema would put a similar one on the preface of the building and announce that the winter season was over. ‘We’ll meet again in September’ and that’s how we knew it was time to catch up on anything we’d missed during winter in the summer cinema under the stars.

Continue reading Out of office automatic reply

It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train…

I’ll be honest with you. I’m not one of those Greeks who goes on complaining about English weather all the time. I actually don’t mind not having to bear the heatwaves when you get to work and you’re dripping with sweat and your boss (who is a cheap bastard) doesn’t turn the air-con on because he says it affects the electrical circuit (?! – what he really means is that he doesn’t want to pay the bill).

I do miss the food though. I can be found describing several dishes to my friends and I feel that I can almost taste the tastes in my mouth. Stuffed peppers and tomatoes with bulgur wheat that my mum makes with a huge chunk of nice salty feta. And bread. Bread that comes from the baker where they bake it in the morning from a batch they made there and didn’t just get out of the freezer. Bread that doesn’t crumble into a thousand pieces when you try to cut it with the knife and has a nice thick crust and a good solid centre.

When people usually ask me if I miss home (they tend to ask that especially on a crappy, rainy day), I usually say not that much. And I am honest. There’s many things I don’t miss about home. And I’m pretty content where I am and I don’t mind carrying an umbrella with me because, yes, England IS the only place in the world where you can experience all 4 seasons in one day.

But yesterday night, after a day out with beloved Greek friends who make me laugh even when the skies are grey, I came home shivering and I wrapped myself in my pink blanket. I turned on the TV and My Big Fat Greek Wedding was playing. My face lit up inexplicably.  I had just missed my favourite scene where the groom’s family brings over a bundt cake which causes great confusion to the Greek mothers and grandmothers. (You can watch the scene here.)

Continue reading It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train…