A Greece related update.

I’m kinda having a rubbish week. I’ve had a headache behind my right eye for two days now. I don’t know if it’s cause I am doing so much Greek and studying or because my eyes are not well. I went into the eye doctor about two weeks ago, after waiting a whole month, wanted her to look and make sure my eyes were healthy, etc, but apparently the health insurance system has changed again, and as in everything here, the burden lies on me to inform myself. Well I tried to insist on an eye testing, but she said it cost money and I need to think it over because I shouldn’t drive 4 hours afterwards. But what was the appointment about then?? They wouldn’t even offer up how much money it would cost. I stood there in shock at them basically kicking me out and then made them explain to me that the rules had changed again!

So frustrating. I have really bad vision. It’s not some superficial beauty treatment. Everyone I see about contacts or glasses reminds me how I have to go in every year. But what little good that does, when they won’t even do what I ask them to. I guess it’s good at least that everyone here has to do the same thing, but it also might be why everyone pushes and shoves around here. Maybe they are all coming and going from bureaucratic nightmares and getting the short end of the stick because they didn’t inform themselves well enough. I’ve come to realize that people here present their opinions like they’re gospel truth all the time and you should trust them like basically never, but always go with your gut instinct and not be afraid of being a pain in the butt until you get what you need. Cause if you don’t get it done when you are there the first time, it means double the work for you.

Oh Germany, you are so exhausting. As a citizen here, you have to find out everything, you are expected to keep track of any of the changes. And even in this “efficient country” they are capable of doing stupid shit. Case in point, for years now, people have been paying a quarterly co-pay, when they need to see the doctor, but then they can go as much as they want til the next quarter, they just need to take the form with them. It’s a bit of a pain, but we’ve all gotten used to it. But hey guess what guys, we’ve got an election coming up and grandma and grandpa hate this extra cost, cause it means they have to put a limit on their hypochondriac ways, which is actually VERY good for the health system overall Apparently I read that they had “too much money” and didn’t know what to do with it. Oh what a problem Germany. After you’ve been taking away the services health insurance provides for years and years. Such a bs excuse. If that’s really the case they can put it toward the Dr’s salaries, which like every other one in Germany has been stagnate for decades, or they could use it to take off some of the extra costs not covered by the main insurance. I’d rather pay a co-pay than have my eye doctor refuse to look at my eyes. Oh and all these changes that have been made, that’s up to the normal patient to figure it out, oh and yeah health insurance costs went up this year too. It’s like a shell game. Which one’s the money hidden under?

At least it’s interesting. And I’m used to it so it’s more of a minor meh, than a real complaint.

But my headaches seem to have the perfect timing, whenever I have chunks of time set aside for writing my essays. I took a nap for an hour, which helped, but I had to cancel my evening German lesson, cause it wasn’t going to happen. Tomorrow I am working in the pub, so I needed to make sure it goes away for real tonight.

Oh but a bit of positive news: I’m going to be spending 3 weeks in Greece, sort of randomly. I love being at Uni again. Well the first week I am going to Crete with the bf and I am so excited to just be able to be somewhere with him where my to-do list can’t follow me and we can just hold hands and walk on the beach, and yes I know it’s sooooooo romantic and I should shut up. Oh I don’t care. I have a Greek boyfriend, who is so macho that after I found a great word, that means “tender” that for some reason I really enjoyed and so I called him it, that he got so incensed that he went on to make fun of himself in an over-the-top manner for 1/2 an hour about how he is tender and therefore a softie and totally not a man and gay. All the while I’m sitting listening in disbelief, with my face in my palm. Whatever you say dear, so the poem texts you send me are Greek and manly and not at all about love. Sure. Yeah, when he’s in Greece though, he becomes even more Greek, which can be good and bad. The good is that he is super protective of me and can allow himself to be a bit more emotional. In Germany he scolds me for drinking coffee, but in Greece after I’ve reached my coffee allowance he’ll have gotten me another frappe, just because he talked to the waiter. I love this even more than getting presents from him. And the best is how relaxed he is. The odd identity of living somewhere your whole life and still being an outsider is gone. He still gets annoyed about Greeks who talk about him as a German, but for the most part, he speaks the language, has the culture and fits in, so no one asks and so he is more relaxed and smiles constantly and sings Greek love songs to me, which I love almost as much as the coffee thing!

Never mind that I love the feeling of being spoken to by the Greeks as being welcome in their country. All the personal pronouns, all the pride that reflects back in their eyes when I tell them I love Greece. No one speaks to me in Germany in a way that makes me feel I belong. And I actually really like my life here!! It’s always about where I come from and after 4 straight years of being only here, it’s really not relevant to talk about America day-in and day-out. And even if nowadays many Germans realize that America can’t offer the same quality of life as I can find here, they never bridge that gap of us vs them. Sometimes the Greek tribalism is a bit extreme and comes back to bite you, but when you are described to others as “one of us” (diki mas), it’s a special privilege you cherish.

Yeah well we booked a week in a beautiful part of Crete. Then I got an email about being invited to join the seminar sponsored by the Erasmus program. I had previously applied, but the spots had been filled pretty quickly and as an American they weren’t sure I could come. I thought because of what I had just booked that it wouldn’t work but then I looked at the dates again and realized if I left Crete a bit early, I could still make it to the program on time. Re-booking the trip was not worth the money. So the bf has a day and half without me and I am a bit bummed to be robbed of my time on that island and my time with him. Aegean even pushed up the flight after I booked it, so I have 3 hours less than I planned. I am sure I will be a wreck on the plane saying goodbye. But it’s a brilliant opportunity. The class is paid for and even covers flight and travel expenses getting there and back to Germany. I just have to cover lunch and dinner. Ok so pinch me I feel so lucky. And the bf is happy for me too. All this week I’ve been doing 3++ hours of Greek a day to cram it all in so that I can speak as much as possible while there. Once you are there it’ll be too much for your brain, so you might as well start it ahead of time to get yourself used to it. It’s a bit distracting from the papers I need to write that I am slowly getting worried about, but they’ll get done too.

I was trying to figure out if I was missing the US or Greece more, but even though I’ve been to Greece more recently, it still won. My heart is there, my heart is always there. I miss Greece, well lets not go crazy, but I think the bf and my love for Greece is as great as our love for each other and I think it’s a longing that we share. In America it’s easy to explain my Greek identity, but in Europe the way my life has turned out (accidentally) makes me seem like a Greece stalker. And if there isn’t enough opportunity to explain it all, I don’t bother. At least now I can say that my bf is Greek and that’s enough for most curious questions, but he didn’t cause my passion for the Greek language nor did he need to introduce me to a culture I’ve been familiar with since childhood. Funny how I never wanted to marry a Greek man and now it seems silly to think I ever could do anything but!

I could say more, but I’ll stop there. I’m sorry this is so disorganized. I hope you’re all doing well.


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