Thursday, July 9, 2015

Of Fake Grass and Fresh Produce and Language Barriers

Our project this week is to teach Bella how to pee on one of those fake grass dog potties, so when she wakes up at 2AM and wants to pee, we don't have to go through three sets of locked doors, a flight of stairs, and across the street to the park.

When you first start to think about these dog potty things, they seem kind of gross. It's basically a piece of astroturf suspended by plastic over a tray that catches all the stuff. Then you realize how practical it could be, so you spend a lot of money on one. Then you think about it again and feel even more gross than you did previously, but it's too late because the thing's already here.

Ultimately, what happens is that your dog refuses to pee on a fake piece of grass on a balcony, and uses it like a rug. A thirty dollar dog rug.


Where'd you get that cool rug, Bella?

Oh, some sap bought it for you? Looks really nice. 

I successfully navigated our neighborhood laiki today. If you don't know what that is, or forgot what it is, you have to start over from the beginning of this blog and work your way all the way up to today. Nobody help!

It was a little bit stressful. By stressful, I mean I was terrified. I just want to say again that everyone who tells you that most people in Greece speak English is an awful liar. Luckily, I recently learned how to say, "Excuse me, I'm sorry, I don't understand Greek. Do you speak English?" in my Mango Languages lessons this week. I sound like a freaking buffoon when I say it, but at least I can say it. I met a lot of confusion, but also some very kind and helpful people. One older woman called her husband over so he could translate what the seller what saying to me. Every seller printed out a little receipt, and most had to point to those to tell me what I owed them. The guy who sold me kiwis and bananas came out from behind his stand, handed me my change, and patted me on the back as if to say, "There, there, idiot. You're doing just fine." It was comforting. 

I managed to get some good food. It was easier than I thought, but still terrifying. Trying new things is hard. 

The spoils of my efforts. I got all this for about 9USD.

When you don't know what people are saying to you, you have no idea how to interpret what's happening around you. Sometimes it's nice, like when you can tune out 13 year old boys. Other times, it's scary. Yesterday on the street, some older guy started jabbering at me, then wrapped his arm around my shoulders and tried to steer me somewhere. I tried to shrug him off, but he tightened his grip. Prior to that, I didn't know what to think. As soon as he tightened down, my mind jumped to: "Well, now I'm going to have to kill this old bastard." I pushed away from him, and he didn't follow me.

This morning, I stopped in the shade to check my map, and heard someone yelling. They kept yelling and yelling. Finally, I turned around and saw three giant dogs circling my tiny dog. I realized the yelling guy was yelling at me, and finally yelled back, "I don't understand Greek." He instantly switched into English. "You can't stand in that shade! Those dogs will attack! I know! They've attacked my dog before!" So...that was a close call.

Here's to hitting the books and learning more Greek so I can buy fruit, avoid dog-death, and threaten to kill harassers on the street. Until then, I'm going to settle down with a kiwi the size of my fist and watch Bella enjoy her new rug. 
-jj


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