My first day in Greece – North vs South

Hello everyone!

Today I’m gonna be talking about all the differences between the Northern and Southern European countries I managed to spot during the first day of my residence in Greece. It is not a hate post – I accept all the cultures, I just want to share my experiences. And trust me, there’s already a lot of them!

Let’s begin with an introduction. I come from Slovakia, but I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Netherlands, so I know the Northern culture from many aspects.

Starting off with yesterday evening, the first thing I dare to point out is the temperament: Southerner are flamboyant, vivid, loud, open, friendly. So many people tried to talk to me! I’m naturally a very shy person so this party we went to wasn’t really my cup of tea, but here it seems like literally no one is shy.

Second thing, while Northerners live mostly during the day and end the day with dinner at 6pm, here the dinner party begins at 9pm, or later. Sleep is….unnecessary.

The funny thing is, the Southerners absolutely don’t know how to drink. They get drunk from a sip of wine, while majority of the Northerners….well, we won’t get drunk so easily. Lol. I also noticed that the most favourite alcoholic beverage here is either wine or beer, while in the North is hard alcohol prefered. Plus. When we were in a pub I noticed, that we couldn’t order meals for just ourselves, the dish always comes in a table size and the price is quartered later.

In the morning the first thing I realised was how late everything begins. While in Slovakia I get up at 6am and start school at 7:40am, here I had my alarm clock set for 7:35am. We arrived to school at 8:10 AND! This is probably the most peculiar thing I’ve ever seen: at 8:30 began a praying ceremony with compulsory attendance of every student. People are really religious here. I’m not saying that it’s different in the North, but you can definitely find some irreligious groups in the North, while here….I doubt that.

Not to mention, the traffic is just crazy here! No one respects any rules and road signs, sometimes not even the traffic lights. And the pedestrian crossing? Huh, what is that? I feel like…well, the Northerners don’t follow all the rules neither, but it’s DEFINITELY not as crazy as here, in Thessaloniki.

Let’s move further and talk about….the Turkish toilets. This was definitely the biggest culture shock for me since I’ve seen such toilets only in pictures before. I had absolutely no idea how it works for the first time. I mean, it has some advantages, there’s certainly a lower risk of acquiring some kind of disease, but still….it feels weird for me.

Now let’s talk about the personalities a little bit. I feel like the Northerners get cautious by the slightest hint of cold weather and try to stay the warmest they possible can. While here….it was -3°C, and while I had on my winter anorak and a cotton sweater underneath, people were walking around in skirts, blouses, mild jackets with words: “it’s okay, I don’t care, it’s gonna get warmer anyway”. How??

Since I wanted to end this article with something positive, now I want to talk about how incredibly generous the Greek are to me. All the Southerners, to be more particular. While in the North the relationships are more cold, here I got paid for my lunch just absolutely randomly and they didn’t want to hear anything about me returning something back. It was so nice!

Well, that was all for my today’s diary post! I got an idea to talk about such topic already in the morning, and I’ve been summarizing the information the entire day. Otherwise I’m doing great, I’m impressed by this country and its culture, everything is so different. It’s been an interesting day today so far, after school we got some souvlaki – pieces of marinated chicken breasts on a stick in a pita bread with fries (those are not necessary). It was delicious, I’m kinda starting to fall for this cuisine!

Later on we went to the Town Hall, where I discovered to most amazing Greek candies ever, and since then I’m just relaxing.

Right now I’m preparing for a dinner in some local Greek bistro and crunching these….I actually have no idea what that is. But it’s very tasty!

That’s it for today, I’ll connect with you again tomorrow – also with some updates about the dinner tonight!

Also, I managed to take some photos of the local architecture even though I didn’t spend much time outside since it was freezing cold and very cloudy – enjoy! It’s supposed to be warm and sunny tomorrow so I’ll try to take more of them later. Have a great day!

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