“Are you Greek?” I shake my head. “is your husband Greek?” Again I shake my head. “Your parents?” “Όχι” (no) I respond. “How do you know how to speak Greek?” asks the man working behind the coffee cart. He is making me a φραπέ, an iced coffee drink with condensed milk and Nescafe. “I learned Greek for this vacation. It is a hobby of mine.” He whistles through his teeth and adds a complementary cookie to my order. He winks at me as he hands me my change.
Learning a language and then going on a vacation to a place where that language is spoken has been my hobby for the past eight years. I am not a linguist, just a geek. I love to talk, so adding more languages just seemed to be a natural extension of my gregarious nature. In June of 2009, on the day that the Euro hit an all time low and Greece was in the midst of beginning of the debt crisis, my family traveled to Greece. For twelve months prior to our departure, I taught myself Greek.