Ναυσικά Νικολαΐδου: Greece
Ναυσικά works as an Applied Theatre practitioner and a schoolteacher in Athens. She spoke to Soobie about her impressions and experience of the Greek Islands and about being a mainlander.
N - Hi my name is Ναυσικά Νικολαΐδου and I am from Athens, Greece.
S. Have you visited any of the islands in Greece as well? What would you say they are famous for, or what would you associate with them?
N. Sea, the sea, the small houses and small buildings in general. And the colours of the buildings. I think they’re very specific. And the food, probably.
S. Okay, so is the food very different to the food you'd have in Athens?
N. Yeh, so it’s better in quality, because they have, you know, their gardens, their animals so it’s fresher..
S. If you had to describe it, the islands, using three colours, what would they be?
N. Ah the Greek islands, Okay. The three colours would be blue, white, and yellow.
S. Okay, what would be the white, the blue’s the sea is it?
N. Just the white houses, and the yellow is sand.
S. What would you say, would you say you notice any difference in the people who live on the mainland, as opposed to people who live on islands?
N. The first difference is that for me, and I have discussed this with other people also, it’s interesting, is that the Mainlanders, like me, feel that if we are on an island somewhere, it’s claustrophobic. Because the sea’s all around you, you cannot escape, you’re trapped by the sea. Many people that come from islands, maybe for them the sea is like..um... it has their mind, you know, that it’s a way of everyday life, but for me it's different.
S. Culturally and physically where would you say you draw your identity from, as a mainlander as someone from Athens?
N. Yeh, from Athens a whole lot I think, not even the whole of Greece. That was also the case when I was in the UK. Yeh and also that thing that, you know, it’s a city that never sleeps for me, Athens, because even during, for example Mondays or Wednesdays, people are out until late at night, food stores are open late at night. So I'm also used to being outside all the time, having a drink or... Yeah, I suppose, the difference with the Greek islands, the reasons they are different, they are very slow in everything, relaxed. You know, in the islands lots of people don’t have, they speak slowly, they don’t have this rush that I’m used to have
S. What cultural traditions, would you like to,an events, would you like to preserve? Or maybe there's some you'd like to get rid of, that you think and you don't want to keep, you don't want to pass them on?
N. You know, even though Athens is a big city you can find they are very often friendly people and mostly that we share things, like family from the city, like food or even money. We exchange things very easily. So that's something that I like to keep. I think I don’t want to pass on at all, is the way that people from Athens drive [ laughter] because we have so many accidents. It is basically, very usual, they are inclusive in Athens, multicultural, political and I'm very much involved in this, so I would like to, you know, try to involve other people in my discussion, because I agree that it's good to have all these discussions, in all different places and outdoor squares, or..
S. That’s something that we probably don’t have as much over here - that open air debate, discussion forum is much ..
N. Everything in Greece is concentrated in Athens unfortunately so the other cities and islands, even more because they are isolated, are excluded from many, many things.
N.I mean, even from basic things. For example they send the teacher in a primary school that can have only five children, they’ll send the new teacher there in December it turns out! So, the government doesn't care at all. So you know people are much, you know, behind the mainland and they're not connected with new things and..
S. What about traditions then? Things like how you celebrate Christmas, and is that very different?
N. We have a different thing which is that we, um, that the traditional thing is not the tree - it’s a ship, that you put you know some..
S. A sheep did you say?
N. A ship (indicates the sea with her hands) yeh..
S. Oh a ship!
N. Yeah, not the animal!
S. (laughing) I thought you meant an animal!
N. No, no, I saw this done for Christmas but not many people do this.
S. Alright, so it's not such a big thing decorate for Christmas
S. Okay, so what would, what would be important, what would be an important festival?
N. Okay, so it is the 15th of August, that it is the birth of Christ's mother.
S. Oh yeh, Mary?
N. Mary. So, this is a huge event, especially in the islands.
S. So, a lot of the folktales or the narratives around the islands, would be religiously based around saints, particular saints or particular Bible stories?