Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Archive for July, 2007

You know you’re NOT Greek if…

easter.jpg© Copyrighted image from my private collection
Easter dinner/dance 2003 inside the Evzone camp of Athens

You know you’re a foreigner in Greece when:

1. No one ever asks you to hold the white handkerchief while Greek dancing

2. You thought Greek salad had lettuce in it

3. You don’t know how to use a κομπολóγοι

4. You went to the Acropolis by choice, not because your school forced you to go on a field trip

5. You never tell people “Πήρες κάποια κιλά” (you’ve gained some weight) upon greeting them
(corrected from: “πυρες καποια κιλα” — left in place until three plagiarism claims are resolved)

6. There are no religious icons in your home or car

7. You call it Diet Coke like the rest of the world, not Coke Light

8. No one asks what village you’re from

9. You call them the green and red team, not Panathinaikos and Olympiakos

10. Your name has a ‘b,’ ‘c,’ ‘g,’ ‘j’ or ‘w’ in it

11. You and your family have no olive trees

12. You don’t know the difference between tzatziki and tzitziki

13. You eat dinner before 21:00

14. You don’t know any jokes about Turks

15. You don’t spend any part of New Year’s Eve with your parents

16. You remember the days of using a checkbook and paying bills by mail

17. The donkey you’ve been photographed with doesn’t belong to you or anyone you know

18. You’ve never ordered a Greek Mac at McDonald’s (for those abroad, it’s a pita wrapped around a breaded questionable meat patty, lettuce and dressing)

19. You say ‘thank you’ on a regular basis and think it’s normal

20. Your name doesn’t end in ‘opoulos,’ ‘os,’ ‘as’ or ‘is.’

21. You know what personal space or a silent voice is

22. You have actually tasted authentic cuisine from other countries, not just Greek food or ethnic food that’s been “Greeked” (i.e. Gyros pizza from Domino’s, pork teriyaki sushi hand roll, bruschetta with feta cheese)

23. You’ve never bribed anyone

24. You know that Nescafé is not real coffee

25. You don’t make the sign of a cross every time you pass a church

26. You’re a male under 30 (or 50) and know how to do your own laundry

27. Not everything you cook has olive oil in it.

28. You think public transportation is a perfectly good environmentally friendly way to get around, it’s not just for students, immigrants, soldiers and other “poor people”

29. You mind the queue

30. You don’t say things like “We Americans are everywhere,” as if there were no other nationalities that are everywhere

31. You think people are calling you a squid when they say “Kalimera”

32. You finished your degree in 4 years, instead of 10, and probably financed it yourself

33. All of your friends are named something different, there aren’t 10 Nikos, 5 Giorgos, 10 Yannis, 5 Katerinas and 7 Marias in your life

34. You vacation somewhere other than Greece and think it’s better

35. You don’t b!tch about expensive last-minute prices because you made vacation plans in advance

36. You say ‘I don’t know’ instead of making something up when you don’t know the answer to a question

37. You show up early or on time for appointments because you respect other people’s time

38. Not every surface in your house is covered by a white cloth with needlepoint or plastic

39. You drive the speed limit most of the time

40. You’re a woman and don’t think foreigners are trying to “steal your men”

41. Easter is not the most important holiday of the year

42. You don’t order your filet mignon ‘well done’ or at least don’t make faces or launch into a lecture about bacteria and blood if someone else likes ‘medium rare’

43. Your cousins are not all named after your grandmother or grandfather

44. An entourage doesn’t meet you at the airport

45. You don’t think all Albanians are thieves

46. You say “turn on/off the lights,” and your Greek friends don’t understand you

47. You moved out of your parents’ house before age 25 and not because they gave you property or because you got married

48. When you travel, you make friends with everyone not just people from your own country

49. You don’t make references to what your country did hundreds of years ago and then take credit for it

50. You complain about the public sector and don’t want a job in it

51. You feel nothing when Macedonia is mentioned

52. You’re OK with eating off separate plates, not a community one

53. You’ve never been hit in the head with a παντουφλα or κουταλα

54. You don’t get upset if someone says Istanbul instead of Constantinople

55. You don’t buy out the whole supermarket when it’s about to close for a 24-hour holiday

56. You don’t still refer to prices in drachmas

57. You know the Interamerican in Athens is a very short building

58. You think that many things taste fine without bread and lemon

59. You had no clue about Metsovo, halloumi, anthotiro or kefalotyri, thinking feta was the only cheese from Greece. And also had no clue there were so many different types of feta.

60. People point it out for you all the time by calling you ξενος, Amerikanida, the guy from Munich or anything else that’s not your name

* 🙂 I created this list to poke fun at myself and other foreigners in Greece. It is not a copied list from somewhere else, and it (for the most part) pertains to Greeks living in the patrida not Greeks abroad.

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The Author

Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”

  • was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
  • @LivinginGreece is a Twitter feed curated from recognized Greek and international news agencies to provide breaking news about Greece, plus real-time updates and insider tips mined from 15 years experience.

Please note my copyright policy and be aware that plagiarism and copyright violations will be pursued.

How to get a Greek driver’s license

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Drivers considered normally resident in Greece are required to get an άδεια οδήγησης/adeia odigisis (AO) — also called δίπλωμα οδήγησης/diploma odigisis or driver’s license/permit — by taking lessons at a driving school and passing written and practical tests, if not already in possession of an unexpired license issued by an EU/EEA member state.

Anyone with an unexpired license issued by an EU/EEA member state may drive in Greece without restriction, as long as the class/category matches the vehicle being driven.

*Article last updated January 30, 2015, with a major revision on May 7, 2014 from real-life experience. One update pending.


Article covers:

  • Who is exempt
  • Residency requirement
  • Lessons and documents
  • How much it costs
  • Processing time

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Overstaying a visa in Greece

immigration.gifPhoto from

Whether you are a non-EU citizen with a Schengen or national visa for Greece, you are expected to:

a) leave the country before it expires;
b) secure a visa extension under special circumstances, if you are staying temporarily as a tourist or business traveler (directions below); or
c) apply for the proper Greek permit within 30 days of arrival or apply for Greek citizenship if you are staying permanently.

A non-EU citizen with plans to immigrate and/or be resident in Greece (stay past 90 days) should not be looking at this post. The proper post is, “How non-EU citizens can move, live and work in Greece.” This also applies if you are a non-EU citizen of Greek origin/descent without dual citizenship with the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

This article is updated regularly to reflect new laws and regulations. I encourage everyone to be patient in reading this article and its comments, as they offer answers and suggestions to common questions and a full explanation not available anywhere else.

*Article last updated January 2, 2015

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