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Direct translations of our language always make me laugh, and by literally saying "your eyes fourteen", our elders are pre-warning us to be careful.
Our parents' and grandparents' favourite phrase to say to the offspring when they're going on a night out, going on holiday, going for a walk, going on a date, crossing the road, ANYTHING.
Whoever lives in London will know that in particular North London went mental last year when Greece won against the Ivory Coast with a penalty during injury time during the World Cup. They will say you've just closed the 36th year of your life.
"Ekleises kai bikes." (Closed and entered) If you've just turned, in English terms, 35, the Greeks will say you're 36. How many times has my Yiayia told me my fortune by looking at the coffee stains of her 'Eliniko café?
This hand movement is used when it comes to situations where you are explaining yourself to someone, placing emphasis on a point you want to get across and or even when you want to end the conversation. When a particular player or team is doing well, especially when it comes to football, they are our best friends and our gods.
Then you sort of move it away from and back towards your chest.
Ever told your Mama something and told her not to tell the rest of the family? You would come home after work (Yes home to your Mum at age 42 because we never leave home) and your three Thies (aunts) are there and your Gran too and the first thing they ask is, "Who is the new man?
You could be 72, 43 or 21 and you will always be called, the child. The amount of times I've wound my Gran up by telling her that the Greeks didn't create the English language, or Western civilisation or that the Olympics were invented by another country. *in a heavy Greek accent but spoken in English; 'THEE GRIKS CREATED EVERYYYTHING! Oh and before you say anything about the current economic state of Greece, well don't say anything, because if we didn't create the English language you wouldn't be able to say it! (aunt and uncle) There are two types of people in this World. We don't do passion by half measures, and especially not in feeling and expressing the love for our music. Families, especially meddling mothers and granny's try and set up the girls with 'a nice nn Greek boi' since the beginning of womb time! We believe that if someone is envious (in a good or bad way) of you, the evil eye will be cast by him/her, onto you.
My Yiayia still calls my youngest uncle 'to paidi' and I am still referred to as 'the paidi' or 'the mikri' (the little girl) in my family. As a matter of fact, there will always be at least a few Marias in every Greek family. and probably some spinach thrown in; and a stem of a plant they came across and ripped out the ground to plant in their garden at home. Including civilisation, the English language and the Olympics. Greeks living in Greece love Greece so much that they even want to holiday in Greece. Okay, twenty-five is a little excessive but no seriously, we come as tribes. Our Great Grandparents and Grandparents didn't have i Phones, or i Pads or even TV's back then so you know… We have many relatives who aren't actually relatives but everyone is 'Thia' and 'Thio'. We feel every single word with passion, with an ache. Greek songs are almost always about undying passion, or passionate pain, or passionate love. We believe in the power of the evil eye categorically.
Spitting for the Greek culture is a way of detracting any form of evil presence, taking the jinx off something and basically not tempting fate. The action normally follows the words of some form of disbelief.
" Mum to me: "You look so beautiful in that dress" Me: "Ftiseeeeee Maaaaaa! When we have instinct to spit, to 'protect' someone and we don't spit, it doesn't feel right. So careful we have the equivalent of fourteen eyes. In particular, my Gran's favourite move: the thigh slap.