September 19, 2007

Siesta

Posted in Pace of life tagged , , , , at 4:19 pm by expatdiane

The first thing you will find is just how different the pace of life is in Greece, compared to that in the states. Like in many countries that run along the Mediterranean, the Greeks like to observe an afternoon siesta, and the business day includes a two to three hour lunch break for this very reason. Different parts of Greece may vary when it comes to the hours of siesta time. For Example, local business hours are as follows: On Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, most businesses open at 9:00 AM and close at 3:00 PM for rest of the day. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, most businesses open at 9:00 AM, close at 3:00 PM and then reopen at 5:30 PM and close at 9:00 PM. Sundays are a day of rest. Supermarkets, restaurants and taverns stay open throughout the day. Also, during the months of July and August all merchants stores are closed on Saturdays due to vacation time here in Greece.

There are a number of reasons why siesta time may have been put in place. It has been said that Greeks are family oriented and use this break in the middle of day to spend time with family. Greece also has a huge night life and those who go out take the the opportunity to rest up for their long evening ahead. The majority of businesses in Greece are privately owned and operated and as such, the break is set aside to rest in order to be able to return to finish out the work day. Whatever it was that has brought on the siesta, it doesn’t seem to effect some parts of Greece like it does in others.

Housing

Posted in Housing tagged , , , , at 4:16 pm by expatdiane

In cities here in Greece, people live over each other and not spread out. The majority of people live in rather small apartments and it is not likely that you would find wall to wall carpeting in any home. Instead, you will find area carpets used during the winter months. Tile floors are the norm throughout a Greek home, with wooden floors in the bedrooms. Stairs are very popular in home buildings and are usually made of Marble (Greece is rich in marble). Having small homes, which, even if they are not ancient, seem to be in constant need of some sort of enhancement. The drive to make more and more space out of tiny living areas is a national mania and that doesn’t stop inside the house. Gardening is also an obsession for Greeks, who have raised the practice of creating small gardens on their balconys that are usually not even large enough to place a table and chairs on.

In Greece, people don’t bother much with exteriors; there isn’t much exterior to a Greek home. The entire property, yard (if any) and all, is most often enclosed behind a tall brick wall that presents a blank face to the public street. The street may be dirty and rutted, but inside, there is a tidy little courtyard planted with flowers and plants. It makes no sense to most Greeks to toil away attempting to make a little bit of the outside world pleasant and clean. It’s an uphill battle for one thing, and for another, it’s the inside that matters.