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Many have made Greece their perennial (or permanent) destination and can now get around pretty well. But you can only be considered a true Greece expert and earn the title of local if you have done these 13 things.
Let’s be honest, Greek is not an easy language to learn, especially for first-time new language students. But understanding and speaking the local language is essential. Of course, we’re not saying you should be fluent in Greek, but you should at least be able to find your way around and comfortably hold a conversation in Greece.
We are not going to lie: Greek bureaucracy is harsh. Office hours are non-existent, and people are often forced to spend hours waiting in line before facing a not-so-helpful public servant. But if you have managed to survive the ordeal, then you really have what it takes to live in Greece.
Perhaps one of the best holidays to spend in Greece, Orthodox Easter is full of traditions, family time and great food. From the midnight services to the traditional dishes and the quirky local customs, it is a time when you can definitely get a glimpse into Greek culture.
Besides ‘oxi’, there is another, non-verbal way to say no in Greek: raising an eyebrow while clicking your tongue. Some masters simply raise their eyebrow when asked a question. Once you understand that and all the other non-verbal cues, it means you are a true local.
And we mean celebrities in Greece, not just internationally known celebs. Bonus points if you are up to date with all the latest gossip about them.
Greeks are big on socializing, so they don’t shy away from having a three-hour-long coffee with their parea or staying at the table hours after dinner is done. It doesn’t even occur to the waiter to ask them to leave, and nobody feels guilty of hogging a table.
Greeks are specialists when it comes to seasonal greetings, and so it’s not surprising to hear locals spontaneously wish a ‘good month’ (‘kalo mina’) to anyone they meet on the first day of the month.
At the beginning, you almost choked down your coffee when you saw it, or maybe you were unlucky enough to be in a taxi when the driver actually pressed on the accelerator pedal when the light turned orange. Today, however, you are no longer surprised. Even worse, you do it yourself when you dare to drive.
Greeks are serious about their name days, so make sure to wish a good name day to all the Marias, Giorgoses and Dimitris – even Charalamboses – in your phone book.
You may have once rolled your eyes every time you saw the amount of oil in Greek salad or been surprised when you saw locals sprinkle their meat with lemon juice. Now, you use olive oil for everything yourself and add a little oregano to homemade fries.
You’re perfectly familiar with the national holidays: Independence Day and Labour Day. In fact, you know the Greek calendar so well, you’re not even surprised to stumble upon a protest in the streets or to witness a 24-hour public transport strike.
You have been living here for a while, so you’ve become accustomed to the seasons. Even on sunny days in April, you still wear long sleeves until the temperature rises above 30°C (86°F). Same goes for late September, when you’ve started wearing jeans and light jackets while tourists are still donning shorts and t-shirts.
Being an expert of Greece means knowing more than just Athens and a few islands here and there. The country has a few underrated gems such as Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Kavala, Kalamata as well as smaller towns and villages like Kastoria, Monemvasia, Preveza, Nafplio or Xanthi. There’s no knowing Greece without exploring it.