27 January 2007

I like living in Greece more than you #3

First off, plaudits and gratitude to the seditious one for providing such a wonderful catch-all title for all manner of posts.

My fix of brown-nosing over, to business, and this is such a marvelous scenario I hope I can do justice.

Scenario: our Greek lessons are at week 41 of 50 and glimmers of parlance are showing through, thanks to the lovely Joanne who chivvies and bullies, cajoles and caresses her bovine herd of pupils along.

When we started, we were a motley bunch - still are - and very defensive and antagonistic.

We're all here under different pretences and pressures. I still don't know all their real names but I know precisely who we all are and how we see each other:

  • Yours Truly - fluting lord fauntleroy (but with convincing accent; pity about dismal vocab). Anyway, basically an arrogant lighweight.
  • Mother of Fluter (to whose apron strings he is clearly and pathetically attached - losah): 30 years in Corfu, nice lady, too fluent to need to be in the class. Ah, forgot - sonny boy can't be out alone.
  • Dai the Chin: tough working class Welsh bloke, no nonsense, retired out here, no idea what's going on. Better learn the lingo, bach.
  • Marina Bill and Billette: Sailed the world, arrived in Kerkira, liked it and are staying. Better gen up on how to order pie and mash.
  • Dowager Duquesa: distressed gentle Italian folkette, wants to bring tour groups over from the land of Caesar.
  • Lucca and his bird: Loudmouth Italian yob whom we hate for his youth (early 20s) and his totally hot chick with the inviting smile
  • Lonely Lavinia: Single Brit lady of uncertain age, meek and mild
  • Russian Ivor and his bosomy ladies: Sinister hulk, says little and what he does say is in caricature KGB intonation

    You get the drift ('We do, we do. Get on with it' - Ed)

    So, lovely Joanne has us read aloud and practise dialogues, which we at first hated but had to get used to over the weeks.

    Context: what we read has names and places filled in so we don't use our own names.

    OK, cut to the chase.

    There's only one main supermarket the foreigners shop at - German "Lidl" - and we've spotted each other there in the past but ignored each other.

    The other day - now vaguely proficient in clasroom Greek, remember, if not able to converse with the natives - a bunch of us found ourselves cruising the aisles and ending up queing with the locals at the checkout counters at the same time.

    My fault. I cheekily greeted 'Mousy Red-head' with the very first word we learned, "Yeia sas!" Hello!

    What followed was pure Pavlovian verbal slapsticks and I wish I'd had my camera to clock the expressions of the natives.

    Imagine this in perfect Greek but excruciating pronunciation, each of us chiming in with the next bit from the lessons book as we realised what was happening:

  • "Yeia sas! Hi!"
  • Yeia sas! How are you?"
  • I am well. And you?
  • I am buying a vegetable
  • What joyous weather. My name is Yanni Maratos. And you?
  • I am named Maria Karagianni
  • From where do you come?
  • I come from Mexico. Kai eseis?
  • I am from Austria. Where in Mexico?
  • Madrid
  • Oreia! Bravo! And you? Where in Austria?
  • Palestine. Loipon! So! What business do you do?
  • I am a teacher
  • Very good. And you?
  • I am a mechanic
  • That is good

    At this point, the locals are agape.

    "Do you like living in Greece?

  • I lust for life here. And you?
  • I like dogs
  • Since how long are you here in Greece?
  • Since 4:30
  • ??
  • I apologise. Since the fourth of yesterday
  • Are you married?
  • My husband is good looking
  • Do you know a good dentist? I want to buy some oranges
  • The weather has turned cloudy
  • Truly, this is my daughter
  • She is very handsome.
  • All this in absolute staight-faced exchange from line to line.

    The expressions on everyone around was classic.

    When we got out to our cars we just fell into each other's arms in laughter and high 5's.

    Good times out of nowhere.


    Elise said...

    Hi-larious. I can't stop laughing. Everyone in the family is saying "What's with Mom?" Thanks for all the links back to the UK, the arcane bits of info and charming, witty, poignant glimpses into your world. You really *could* write that book.
    Thanks, too, for the compliment. I'd love to be fanciable, but even those who love me most describe me as matronly.
    I'll try to come up with some news of Bainbridge that would entertain you as well, but we don't get out much here, and are so serious-minded when we do. Stay well.

    Busker said...

    Ah, la belle Elise responds. 'Charming, witty, poignant ...' - i love compliments, worth at least a further 3 postings even with absolutely nothing to say.

    And have you noticed how the foxy ones are always so modest? "Matronly" indeed! Bah! Don't give me that. A transparent ploy to keep the lechers at bay.