I can’t say this is something I ever thought I’d hear myself say, but I went to a Greek high school dance party! The school had one to celebrate the beginning of the school year, and we actually had a really good time. (“We” being me and the school interns, who are from Florida, Connecticut and Kentucky.) It was more like just an organized gathering; in the center of the room, there were games and an emcee with a microphone, and around the edges people were singing and dancing. The music was very, very loud and almost everyone seemed to know the lyrics to every song (some Greek, some American); when the DJ (a student) would play a new one, everyone would cheer and start singing with their friends.
One of the games they played was something I had never seen before. They did separate rounds for boys and girls, and each time, about 10-12 kids would form a circle and join arms at the elbow, holding on to one another’s wrists to form strong links. Then two or three other kids would stand on the outside and try to pull someone out of the circle. They would grab their waists, their feet… whatever they could hold on to and pull hard on! During the girls’ rounds, often the shirt of the girl being pulled out would get pulled down in the front and their bras would be hanging out, and it was no big deal–the boys in the audience stood on their chairs to see, but no one stopped the game. It was funny to think how Americans would totally freak out in that situation. Me and two of the interns played a round, and it was really wild; I was so excited/on edge that I found myself actually yelling the lyrics to that stupid Ke$ha song that’s so popular in the States (which is a hilarious image if you know me well, as your friendly neighborhood indie kid/music snob!).
I’ve found since my first go at teaching that most of the students are quite friendly. When I pass them, I usually greet them in Greek or English, and some of them will venture a “How are you?” and other short greetings in English. Some of them are really interested in the States and/or Canada, and speak English very well–they’re quite confident with their conversation skills and ask a lot of questions about the USA.
For the most part, they remind me of American teens. One big difference is that friends are more physically affectionate with one another (in a completely platonic way); girls who are friends will hold hands while walking down the street, and boys will sit very close to one another and even rest their heads in one another’s laps while sitting down. It’s made me think a lot about how homophobic America is, even for those of us who don’t consider ourselves to be homophobic.
Their fashion is similar in most ways to students in the USA, with a few exceptions:
- Many of them wear really colorful, fancy-looking sneakers–very flashy, shiny/sparkly/neon tennis shoes with several different colors on them are very common. I like them a lot!
- Fanny packs are in, baby!!
- Their hair is, in general, more styled than in the States. The vast majority of the boys gel their hair, many of them into mohawks or other more ostentacious do’s. I’ve also seen several mullets and rat-tails, but less so among the teenagers; more for older people or younger kids.
- Many of their t-shirts are in English, but it’s English that isn’t always English you’d find on t-shirts in America. These are my favorites thus far:
- On a t-shirt with a gorilla: “Banana Smile”
- On a t-shirt: “My game is tighter than frog’s a**!”
- On a bag: “I (heart) BAGS”
- On a t-shirt: “F*** ME, I’M FAMOUS”
- On a Nike t-shirt: “Big Sun of Your Life”
I don’t know what it is about them, but I find these t-shirts incredibly funny. They totally make my day while walking around campus. I’ll try to keep a list of my favorites & post them here when I see good ones!