In my last post I mentioned some places specifically. I nominated that I flew into Athens airport, and that from there I was heading elsewhere. That elsewhere is, obviously, in Greece.
I was vague on purpose.
In my experience, Greeks are lovely people1. All the ones that I have met have been extremely nice to me. There is however a weird pessimism that Greeks seem to have about Greece, and other Greeks. It’s almost like they seem to have a weird hatred for each other. Or so I thought.
At the Athens airport I boarded the train that would take me downtown. Not having a whole lot of confidence, I asked some people near me if I was on the right train. These people, again, were lovely enough. They asked me what I was doing in Greece and I told them the truth: I was going to be working as an education coordinator. That’s true, or at least true enough.
I too have my reservations. And I didn’t tell them the whole truth for a reason.
They took a look at where my hostel was located and warned me that it was in a bad neighborhood. I don’t care. That’s, generally, where hostels fucking are. If they were in nice neighborhoods, they’d charge hotel prices. But at least as far as Europe goes, its never that those neighborhoods are all that bad. They’re mostly just foreign.
When I was getting to the hostel I never felt in danger. Lugging my oversized and overweight travel suitcase behind me, I felt like I was the danger to that idiots not getting out of my way. This again may be a bias, as I look like the kind of person who just may do something about whatever problem you may have with me (I don’t. But I look like I could). If I had to describe the neighborhood in nicer terms, I would call it ‘lived in’. Lots of cheap stores, lots of peddlers selling things on the walk, lots of ‘stand up and eat’ restaurants, lots of bands of men wandering about, and a few roving squadrons of police motorcycles.
I’ll leave that there without too many comments.
I had a great time that night at my hostel in a poor, foreign neighborhood. Enough so that I am more than tempted to go back there. After having a whole lot of drinks there, I was loosened up enough to tell the bartender working that night what it was that I was going to be doing in Greece.
He approved. He thought that other people I would encounter in Greece would approve as well. That wasn’t too much of shock considering the demographic: he was a philosophy major soon going on to a Master’s, and the typical left leaning young person who roles their own cigarettes. And still I wasn’t sure.
The next day I meditated about it on my longer than necessary train ride up to the city I would be working in. The mixed bag is something that mirrored the reaction I got from my parents, one who was supportive of my taking this job, and the other who thought this job was horrific idea. He also had some pretty horrific things to say about the job, and the people I will be working with.
I then I got to the job.
I think it’s an amazing place. In many respects, it feels like this is exactly where I need to be. And thus…
I won’t be talking about it. Or at least, I won’t be going into some specifics. The job has a certain sensitivity to it that I do not want to breach. It’s not a state secret, and astute readers will figure it out pretty quickly. Two clues from this post are:
If you’ve been reading this blog for some you also know that I am an ESL teacher by profession, so you can add that to the list too. Maybe I will bring it up when I leave.
But for right now, it’s going to be ‘The job that shall not be named’.
1This might be the dumbest thing I will ever say. That I think Greeks are lovely people is the purest form of selection bias you can find. This kind of happens a lot with people who travel. They will go to X country and say something to the effect of ‘the X people are so nice.’ Well, you don’t really know that. The ones you spoke to were nice. If you are a foreigner and stand out as such, only a certain open minded demographic is going to speak to you. Of that, only the ones competent in a shared language are going to speak to you. That bias for education as well. This is pretty much selection bias at work.
I am a half ass Greek speaker at best, so this same bias applies. But ‘that minority of the Greek Diaspora I have in my life encountered are lovely people’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.