Philosophically speaking, better forget about even trying to piss off a Greek for a long time. Especially one from the islands. You can make a Greek proud, though.
Perhaps it is the sun or the essence of “Job’s patience” we carry, or perhaps the vastness of our sea. Who really knows? it works. We do not actually start wars, but we take a stand when it is needed in order to fight for the right thing.
Chances are if you try to piss off a Greek – and if you are lucky- you will both end up drinking beers, Ouzo or Raki, and savoring “mezedes”, or they will share their oranges with you, or both (come on… you know what I am talking about). But how to really make a Greek proud and have a friend for life?
1. Greeks are a lot about family
Perhaps the closest race to Greeks, are Italians. We love our mother and our father. Why not? They have worked hard to provide us with all that is needed to walk through life. They love us and, yes, they are OK to stay with them until we stand on our own feet (sometimes they welcome it more than needed, though) and they don’t throw us out of the house to make a new gym out of our room. They have the tradition to buy their daughters a house when they get married and this tells a lot about what they think of pride and provision. Say something nice to a Greek about his family, his ancestors, his mother, and father, and his children. For Greeks family is still valuable.
2. We shared our light of wisdom with the Western Civilization
Like it or not, we did. We have perhaps tripped some steps along the way and lost our orientation and part of our roots, but -Thou Not Be Fooled- they are there. They are in our essence and not in the form of a far-right extremist. These phenomena come and go but our essence stays, no matter if ‘some” try to remove this light. We get mislead but never forget. Greek language and history are taught in universities all around the world. While you are in some area, learn about its history and discuss this with a Greek. They feel great, especially in these times where everyone seems to pock them nastily.
Greeks feel proud of their civilization and not of their wars!
3. We are part of the world’s Out-Οf-Τhe-Box Thinkers and Doers club
Where other nations go by the book and do not bend at all in their work life , Greeks jump in, connect “this and that” and provide a solution. That is the reason Greeks thrive (mostly outside of their country). They think differently, they act differently and they find a “good field” to plow through, without being restricted by thousands of rules. Greek state has thousands of laws and rules, but Greeks are simpler as persons and creative in their nature, don’t you agree? See our architectural, medicine, philosophy achievements. Next time you are in Greece allow a Greek to solve an issue you may have. You will be surprised. There are no difficult problems for a Greek, only challenges and then some fun.
Then, perhaps some even more fun.
4. We love with a passion!
How many nations haven’t been in this country to experience the sun and sea and freedom and… love. Millions came here over all these years. Especially nations of the north like to visit Greek islands, who vibrate from eroticism and mysticism. Mykonos, Santorini, Koufonissia, Zakynthos, Samothraki to name a few, along with the libation to Dionysus and all kinds of music. Mild or wild festivities happen all the time, like Panigiria, Phallic festivities, Carnivals, River & Waterfall happenings. We even have a different word for Eros and Love, as for us these are two different things.
All, celebrating life in a country where the God of Light Apollo had his Temple!
5. Work to live and not live to work
We believe in that with passion. It is our way of thinking and thus the many celebrations. This is one of the reasons people come to this country. We are not lazy – perhaps a bit dis-organized- but we work the hella-out when we love and believe to something.
6. We hug and kiss and pinch cheeks
I met a guy in Miami, USA and he told me “I do not shake hands, I hug people”. He was from Germany, living in the USA and I felt him like a fellow Greek. It is the most heartfelt thing: to give a hug to someone you just met. We are proud of our openness, our hospitality, and “pat on the back”. We “pat” people to show they are our friends and not an enemy. While a handshake keeps a distance between 2 people, next time try to sincerely hug a Greek or anyone else. He/she will feel the difference. We are proud of that too.
7. Olympic Games were born here but they were never “Games”
We are proud not to call them “Games”, but “Agones” which means a noble way to compete and fight to achieve a goal. “Games” is not the proper work and is used for anything, even deck card games and any kinder-garden child games. No, it is “Agones” and this is what we created. This is one of the important things we gave to humanity and we oppose to those who want to transform the nobility of “Agones”, into the generic term of “Games”. Hostilities among nations stopped during Olympic Agones which never happens now. They had a deeper meaning and we are proud to know that.
8. We are proud of the quality of our seas and forests
Rarely or never in the history of Greece, someone got eaten by a shark while he was enjoying the sea or windsurfing. You will see all kinds of fishes and mammals but not sharks eating people. Dolphins play with people here. Our forests have the least poisonous plantation. Try a few other forests and jungles in the world where almost everything can kill you, not to name the seashores of many.
9. Almost everything that grows can cure or feed you in Greece
Where to even start with the humongous variety of herbs and roots, either in Pilio or Agrafa, or Mainalo, or Olympus or Kissavos or any other mountain area of Greece. This wealth of natural medicine is worldwide known. We say “tea” and we usually refer to green mountain tea which can cure a zillion of things, unlikely to plain flavor tea. Our mothers and grandmothers cured us with freshly picked oregano, green tea, thyme, and thousands of different herbs that passed on our nutrition, salads, and cooked food.
10. We are proud to be a small country full of people with big hearts
Sometimes we envy the neighbor’s new car but -at the same time- we jump in to help in sickness and need of the same person. This is a peculiarity of our race. We may fight over some football game or political difference but when things come to a point where definitive action, sympathy and empathy is needed, it simply arises. This is proven even in these times of crisis, with the multitude self-organized helping services. Ask a Greek for instructions to go to some place and he will go out of his way to guide you there.
11. We have been around for several thousands of years and this means a lot
We speak loud, laugh loud and smile big.
We are part of this world and a necessary ingredient, a counter-balance to the industrial lack of empathy and global tention for human exploitation.
Maybe you disagree. That is your right and we respect that since we invented and applied Democracy. But, dear reader, to better complete the picture simply imagine not the beaches, or the sun, or the food but imagine Greece without Greeks. So, where is the actual “salt and pepper” of this country?
Can you really import that too?
(Photo credits: Éole Wind).