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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I live in Cyprus, with Greek as its main language, but I’m ashamed to say that after nearly twelve years here it’s still all Greek to me.
All I’ve managed to learn is Kaliméra (good morning) and siga siga (slowly slowly) the latter being almost a national saying as you don’t want to move too fast on a hot summer day.
The problem is virtually all the locals speak English, so I never really get the chance to learn any Greek. One day last week my wife and I were getting petrol from our local garage and she asked what the Greek is for “20 Euros, please.” This is what we usually get every week and it lasts us all week long. Very rarely do we need more. So, we asked and the answer was “Eíkosi Evró Parakaló.”
So now we are fully armed for buying petrol from any petrol station on the island. There is only one problem with this. We always put 20 Euros in at our local petrol station at the beginning of a journey and they know off by heart what we need and hardly bother asking us what we want. And of course the island is so small, we rarely go far enough to warrant getting more petrol for the journey back.
So, now that we have learned how to ask for 20 euros in petrol, which turns out to be useless, we’re scratching our heads to pinpoint a phrase we really need to learn to help us in our daily lives.
If I ever get to grips with the Greek language it will probably mean I’ve managed to live until my 100th birthday. In which case anyone attending this auspicious occasion had better learn the phrase Ekkenóste ta keriá.
I’ll let you, dear reader, work out what that means.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020