It’s All Greek to Me…..Literally

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So I have wrapped up my first week as an intern in Thessaloniki, Greece and a lot has happened! Mainly getting to know the lovely seaside cit of Thess, moving into my first “big girl apartment” and trying to put the seven words of Greek that I can speak to good use. This first week included a lot of meandering around the city. I have a trick to finding my way in a new place: get as lost as possible. Then at that point, when you look up at the street sign and realize you have no idea where you are, you pull out a map and try to get home. There is no prouder feeling than making it back to where you started!

Strolling on the Paralia (waterfront)
Strolling on the Paralia (waterfront)

One minor detail: everything is written in Greek letters. Therefore I cannot simply point to a map and ask someone how to get to any street. Instead, I’m lost and looking for a street that begins with a triangle, followed by a squiggly line, then an M then a circle with a line through it. Suddenly, everything is a lot harder. Thanks to Iowa State Greek life, I have been taught all of the pronunciations of the Greek letters SO if I stare at a street sign for 3-4 minutes sounding out each individual letter like a kindergartner, I am able to figure it out after a little while!

Here is a quick run-down of what I have learned about Thessaloniki so far:

  • The gyros come with French Fries in them, which means they’re my new favorite food.
  • Highway lane lines are merely suggestions
  • …as are stop lights
  • …….and parking spots for that matter
  • Therefore, say a prayer before crossing any street at any time
  • Everyone can speak at least a little English. So…keep your thoughts about the cute boy on the bus to yourself because he will laugh and say “Thank You”.
  • Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding was right: all words stem from Greek words.
  • The seafood is super duper fresh–even raw!


  • Nothing is what it seems.
    • Cheese with a goat on the front? Must be goat cheese! Nope, Feta.
    • A medium sized fruit with an orange peel? Must be an orange! Nope, grapefruit.
    • A bottle labeled “Wash and Go!”? Must be body wash! Nope, conditioner (although my skin is very soft now)
I haven't had much time to work on my tan...
I haven’t had much time to work on my tan…

I am really excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store. I have been reaching out to make a few new friends and have been trying to learn some Greek! Luckily the men and women I work with speak English very well and are very dedicated to teaching me! I will fill in more about my work when I get a little more settled with the job. Until then, yasas!

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4 Replies to “It’s All Greek to Me…..Literally”

  1. How exciting, love reading about your adventures. Thanks for sharing. When we finally get to Greek Town for dinner you will have to order. Be safe, love.

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