“It’s just a goat head”: Changing concepts of normalcy at the three-month mark

Well, folks, it’s been three months since I arrived in Greece. It’s hard to believe that my time here is almost a third over. So much has happened and changed. While talking with a friend the other day about my ever-evolving concept of “normal,” I decided it was time to take stock of those changes. There are some things that are a part of my every day life here that I wouldn’t have ever dreamed would be!

These are all things that are now within my concept of what is “normal.” Some of them are quite literally a part of my everyday life here!

  • Not being able to understand the vast majority of what is said around me all day long.
  • Public transportation trips that last for an hour or more.
  • Using the international alphabet panel on my Mac.
  • Ordering something in a restaurant without knowing exactly what it is.
  • Eating feta cheese every day.
  • Running past a vineyard, cows and greenhouses.
  • Sweeping my floor every day, as it’s a light blue linoleum and I have approximately 1.2 tons of hair.
  • Analyzing the verb tenses of my native language. I don’t know about you, but I hadn’t ever heard of “future continuous.”
  • Getting stared at.
  • Classes in which the majority of kids haven’t even touched their homework.
  • Saying “Bravo!” (The Greeks use it both the way we do, as a way to say “Good job!”, and as synonym for “Correct.” I felt so good about myself for the first month or so when people would say “Bravo!” after I asked simple questions!)
  • Getting dressed in the dark, as I still don’t have curtains on my big ground-floor glass doors that are right beside my bed. This strategy of trying to get dressed while not being seen through the doors has only backfired once, and of all the skirts that could have possibly been put on backwards, at least this one didn’t have back pockets.
  • Hearing Greek Orthodox prayers, and seeing everyone around you cross themselves while passing a church on the bus.
  • The dull (or not-so-dull) thud of Balkan pop music bass through my walls.
  • Sleeping with ear plugs in.
  • Throwing toilet paper away instead of flushing it; the pipes here are too small to flush it without causing blockage.
  • Air-drying clothes–we now have automatic washers and dryers, but I got so used to air-drying things that I sometimes do it anyway now!
  • Answering to “Kiria” (what you call a female teacher in Greek).
  • Dressing in a teacherly fashion. I’m working on a post about this; you guys will be amazed at how much my style has changed since I left, and not just while I’m teaching!
  • 60- or 70-degree weather in December. (Yeah. That’s gonna hurt when I get off the plane for Christmas break in Montana.)
  • Staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning. I think I’m slowly becoming Balkan.
  • Using an adapter and converter for electronics.
  • And yes, goat heads. On goat days in the school cafeteria, one lucky plate gets the head on top of its pile of rice!

All in the spirit of observing, practicing, and becoming. Here’s to the next three months; may it include as much adventure, growth, and fun as the last!



About wrap me in phyllo dough

travel addict. greece-obsessed. grad student. bottomless pit.
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3 Responses to “It’s just a goat head”: Changing concepts of normalcy at the three-month mark

  1. Pingback: The Wrap Me in Phyllo Dough 100th Post Spectacular! | wrap me in phyllo dough

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