Select Page
Greek Time
June 21, 2011

Time–I’m totally out of synch with the Greek world. Vurtually everyone sleeps in. Bakeries are pretty much the only shops open before 10:00. Locals grab a hand-held spinach pie or pastry for breakfast which they consume as they rush down the street mid-morning. Lunch is around 2 or 3 and then dinner is at 9 or 10 when I’m ready to for bed. Typically, folks are expected to be rather quiet in apartment buildings between 2 and 5 in the afternoon for siesta, but running a jackhammer at 11:00 at night ouside my open bedroom window is perfectly acceptable.

Restaurants are empty at 7:00 P.M. and packed at 11:00 P.M. If we didn’t live smack dab in the middle of the Plaka, an area designed for tourists, we’d never find dinner at 7:00. It’s common to see a family with little kids arriving for dinner as we are leaving.

My school building is completely locked up until at least 9:00 in the morning. If my internet is failing or I wish to do some early morning homework in the computer lab–forget it! The keys do not arrive before 9-ish and the staff seems to start rolling in after 10:00. My first day of class I arrived in the room about 10 minutes before start time and the place was deserted. Thinking I was surely in the wrong room, I went down the three flights of stairs to check the bulletin board where the room assignments were posted. Right room. The other two Americans arrived soon and my Greek classmates ended up being the small group of young people sitting out on the bench in front of our building smoking until about 5 minutes past start time. They rolled in and then the professors soon after. I am always the first one in my classroom and I’ve learned to show up right on the dot.

One of my professors asked me if I visited the museum the day I hiked to the top of the Acropolis. I explained that I did not because it was getting late. She looked at me confused and said “it’s open until midnight.” It’s foreign to her that when she’s having her after-dinner drink, I’m in my second REM sleep.

Time passes and I struggle to remember what day of the week it is and numeric dates completley escape me. Oddly, it’s as if I’ve lost a month of “real life” but gained experiences adventures that cannot be defined in days or months, even years. I just arrived, yet I’ve used an entire full-sized bar of Zest soap, changed out my contact lenses for a new set, and opened a fresh toothbrush. I’m feeling settled, the acclamation that one claims only over time. I can walk by the homeless man without looking, there are shop keepers who waive when I walk by and I’ve had return visits to my favorite restaurants. I have new friends. I’ve turned in my first response paper. My stay here is half spent. July is looming. I can’t wait for BF to join me, but I don’t want my class to be over. I look forward to sharing Athens with him and traveling to Crete, but then my stay in Athens will be finished. Time is moving on.

I’m an avid T-shirt reader and the sound bites that people display on their chests amuse me. One day a young, handsome, Greek male student arrived late for class–even Greek late, like 30 minutes. His T-shirt boldly displayed the message: “Fuck the Clock.” I thought to myself, “okay, now I get it.”

Greek Time.

Share The Love

Subscribe For Updates

Subscription Form

1 Comment

  1. I have to wonder if the Greeks have less stress? Keep writing … I love this …


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

Search By Year

Stay updated on new blog posts

Subscription Form