eíste mia maïmoú! (part three!)

Just catching up? Here is part one and part two of the saga!

A typical day during our time in Greece started out with the eventful bus rides over to the boy’s side of town, where we would convene for some pep talks, organization pow-wows, and just general chit chat. Most of us had not done much travelling overseas at this point, and for the first week we were all still a bit shell shocked at how different everything was. For starters, people were so…relaxed! The mediterranean lifestyle is very laidback, people coming and going as they please, taking naps in the heat of the mid-afternoon. Life is about enjoyment, about taking in the moments. If you missed your bus? So what? Go have a coffee and come back for the next one. Work can wait another forty minutes. No big deal. In the U.S, we are more structured, not as fluid in our plans. So talk about a wake up call when we tried to host our first camp! Being the typical Americans that we are, we went out with a pretty in depth plan. Not saying this was a bad move, because, of course, you have to plan SOMETHING, people! Otherwise…there would be chaos! However, the Greeks weren’t exactly privy to OUR plan. They had one of their own: it was called the “maybe-I’ll-show-up-maybe-I-won’t” plan. So imagine our inital dismay when we arrived at the park only to find an empty lot. Our fearless leaders, Joy and Seth, knew this would happen, though, and set out to quell the “nobody likes me!” complexes from overtaking our poor little souls. Don’t have kids to play the games with? Play them yourselves! Besides…everyone knows that mobs are started with just one person shouting, “SAAAAANNTA!!” (try this next Christmas and see what happens…;)). So we played our games and practiced our soccer and volleyball drills on ourselves. The first couple of days we were out there ALL day, and yet, not a soul came by to see what we were doing. The doubt started to creep in. Why were we there? What were we thinking? Once again, Joy and Seth reassured us that things would change, and since they had guided us all safely thus far, we believed them. And then it happened. One afternoon, as the sun started to have an effect on our emotions and the amount of sweat dripping from our skin, two little heads popped out around the broken fence of the park. Then two more….Slowly, kids started filtering into the field, their eyes showing their curiousity and amusement at what was playing out before them. Oh my goodness! It was working! We just might have a camp! “Want to play?” we asked, not too excitedly, because, heaven forbid we scare them away! Of course, they couldn’t understand our words, but as soon as a ball was tossed in their direction, it was as if a spark ignited their limbs. An impromptu soccer game exploded out of nowhere. Kids and adults alike ran around like mad, laughing and shouting, English and Greek mixing together like a beautiful song. We didn’t need our words to communicate. The translation was in the action. We played for hours that afternoon, our trio of boys growing into a small gang of dark haired, doe-eyed youngsters. It was amazing. As the sun started to set, we finally gave in to our rapidly beating hearts, and stopped the game in order to finally meet our energetic new friends. Friendships were born that day, and the group that came that first day would end up coming almost the entire time we were there, bringing friends and family with them. They showed us cool tricks with the soccer ball, while we showed them proper technique and form. They taught us words and phrases in Greek (eíste mia maïmoú! Yes, I was called a monkey MANY times…sad), while we helped them with their American slang (wassssup? was a favorite…). They even proved to be quite loyal, literally following us to another park one day when the Greek Orthodox church decided to kick us out of our current one. Yup, with bags of cones, soccer balls and volleyballs, we trooped around the city like vagabonds in search of another playing field. It was the oddest parade you could have seen. Tall, light skinned (and turning brown, thanks sun!!), fair haired Americans in front, followed by small little dark haired, tanned skinned boys and girls….and the random grandparent, dutifully on babysitting duty that day. Glorious.

After that first day of madness, we started trying to implement a more routine structure to our camp, bringing in drills and lessons into the mix of games and “play time”. The kids responded well, and I feel like during our time there, they really started to grow. At the end of the day, we’d have a reflection period, built in to our time as a way to get to know the kids, to understand their lives and how they lived. We shared our own stories with them, through a translator, and although they were hesitant to hear us at first, by the end, it was as if I had 20 adopted children of my own. I wish I could have taken them back with me!

Our days weren’t always about the camps, though, and we were fortunate to have the opportunity to sight-see, attend concerts, play in actual soccer and volleyball matches with some of the Greek nationals, and much more…

To be continued…

hearts and child-like hugs,



  1. the no appointments thing is odd. its so hard to imagine life that’s not as structured as ours! we had kids come from Poland for a camp in 2004 and “wasssup?” was their favorite phrase!! that was around the time of those budwiser commercials. too funny.

    • I know..I’m so used to scheduled life…even my weekends have a schedule! ugh. that needs to change! Haha yeah, they LOVED American slang! They also liked “how you doin?” a la joey from friends…. 🙂


  1. […] Just catching up? Here is part one, part two and part three! […]

  2. […] all the others? Here is part one, part two, part three, and part […]

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