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Sunday, April 09, 2006 

Les (Grecques) Miserables

Ti kaneis, Cosette?

Ti kaneis?/How are you?

I remember the time I could ask that question and hear a simple "kala/fine" response or 'mia hara/great". Lately, I noticed it's been quite awhile since I heard anyone tell me they're doing great. So much so that I've become wary of even asking the question in case I don't have enough time to hear the litany of complaints from people.

Parents bemoan the fact that their sons and daughters can't find jobs. It's the rare person who tells me that their kids are doing just fine in the job market.

Business people tell me that they're thinking of closing their businesses unless they've closed them already which, in that case, means I will hear how much money they lost last year and the effect it had on their families.

University graduates tell me that they're going to Chicago/London/Toronto to go live with a relative there in the hopes of getting a job.

Relatives have told me that after 5 years of studying abroad, their kids won't be coming back to Greece since they've found better jobs in other countries.

Greeks from abroad can't remember why they moved here in the first place.

For every immigrant that has just arrived, it seems I know two more who left.

I hear these complaints at my stores, at parties, in the lineups at the tax or health fund offices, and from our friends.

The most common question I'm asked when people hear my accent is "Where are you from?" followed immediately by "Why would you leave Canada for Greece?"

There was a time when my stories of romance, great weather, beautiful scenery and love of Greek history would meet with approval. Now, if I mention those things in response to their question they will tell me that I can't live off scenery and history and it's time I start thinking about my son's future if I don't care about my own.

Is it just a case of the winter blues or are people really that miserable? Or maybe I hear more from disillusioned Greeks than the average person by virtue of my foreigner status or because I ask this question a hundred times a week, it stands to reason that the percentage of negative responses are that much higher than if I was working in an office cubicle?

Maybe I just need to change my greeting to a simple "yeia sas/hi" so I can take a break from the doom and gloom conversations that emanate from "ti kanete". If I don't, then I might just be inspired enought to write the Greek version of Les Miserables.

You know... I think it's still a case of the grass being greener on the other side. Romanians always used to ask me why I'd left heavenly Canada for horrible Romania. They couldn't understand it. On the other hand we'd meet Romanians who had immigrated to Canada and had come back to Romania because they hated life in Canada. Sometimes you can't win!




traveller...Some things really are greener on the other side though traveller. Education definitely is. But I'm sure if I go back to Canada to live, I'll hear Canadians telling me how stupid I was to leave beautiful Greece for 6 months of snow and Stephen Harper. LOL

Hi Seawitch. When you asked the question "Is it just a case of the winter blues or are people really that miserable?"
I think people are really that miserable. Most of my Greek friends are anyway. Money problems, worries about their kids education, the future? For those of us who have made the big move once, I am convinced that there is a restless spirit that is awakened that will not go back to sleep. We know there is a possibility of other things, other adventures. I know that I will question my choices of where to live for the rest of my life because I know there is always somewhere else. Good or bad or just different.

Diva...Hey you! I guess it just isn't me noticing this...people really are that miserable...unless we both share the same circle of friends. LOL
I know what you mean about questioning your decision to move. I've done it a thousand times over myself in the last couple of years. I find myself spinning the globe again thinking Latvia might be nice this time of year. I've never been there. Like you say...other places might not be better but different. And different suits me just fine. When you've already left 'home' and family once (in my case twice), then Big Moves aren't really that big anymore.

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