Tuesday, 2 May 2006


The Dutch are known for bringing all kinds of food on holidays. Afraid that they will not find the things they have at home, they bring potatoes, butter, mayonnaise, washing powder and God knows what else. But that they now also bring their own weather, I think is not so nice.

Friday the 14th the first charter arrived on the island. Last Friday It really started with a mass of charters and it was as if all those Dutch people brought the bad weather with them. The beautiful warm spring was finished on the island. I must admit that the weather did not get as bad as it was in Holland with loads of rain and cold. The tears that fell from heaven on Saturday and Sunday could barely be called rain. So the farmers already complain that it is too dry. But out of the wind it is very pleasant on the island, especially coming from Holland.

The cold Northeastern wind and all the clouds mean that the kalokairo is still a long time away. Kalokairi, say it like kalokèri, means good weather, which is the Greek word for summer. Kalo kalokairi means: a good summer.

Yesterday it was the first of May and that is a national holiday in Greece. Labour Day and the day of the flowers. On that day the people do not wish you a good summer but a good month: kalo mina. They do that however on every first day of all the twelve months of the year. Yesterday I also heard people congratulating each other: Chronia pola. The whole day through I was wondering why. Later I heard it was still a belated Easter wish. Also they say: Ke to chrono, which means: see you next year.

There are many welcome sayings. Ti kanis? How are you? Kala? Good? If you walk out of a local minimarket like Timoli's, the best minimarket in Molyvos on the street that enters the village at the olive press, than you learn a great variety of sayings, because Timolis is a specialist in different sayings. He probably got streetwise by saying so many hellos and goodbyes on the same day. Kalo efdomada, have a good week, kalimera, goodmorning, kalo vradi, good evening, although you say this only when you leave and not when you arrive. Then you say kalispera, which also means a good evening, only that a spera starts after 12 o'clock AM. There is also a word for the late afternoon, apojevma, and this word took me years to learn. It is mostly used for appointments or things you do in the late afternoon, because I never had somebody wish me a kalo apojevma. Although I am sure you can say that, because you have no idea how much wish-well-saying the Greeks have.

Kalo Paska (a good Easter), Kalo chimonas (a good winter), kalo risico (good luck when you have something new, including a baby), kalo dromo and surprise, surprise: kali strata (both: have a good way), kalo taxidi (have a good journey), and then there are many that I now forget or just did not understand that well. But it is often enough that your mind is racing like hell in order to know what to say back. Happily enough there is one simple word that can save you from those situations and you can even say it when you have no clue what they wished you (and pray that they wished you something good): epices. Which means: the same to you.

The weather also has a lot of sayings. But when you watch the Greek weather forecasts you only learn one thing: vadmous, which means degrees. The Greek news and weather reporters talk that fast that this is a course for advanced pupils. But you can learn the more important words: chioni, snow and vrochi, rain. However the verb for rain does have one letter difference: vrechi.

From the rain to an umbrella is easy: umbèla, which can also mean a sun umbrella. Don't ask me if the Greeks got the word from the English or the other way around. And then there is the most important word for the weather that interests everybody most: ilios. Those who want to smuggle the ilios off of the island, beware! This is the sunny island, even if it didn't seem to be this last week. But at least the vadmous stayed above 15°C!

Copyright © Smitaki 2006

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