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Greek Language and Culture March 2012 OMILO Newsletter

Dear OMILO friends,
Here we are again! Alive and kicking! We would like to thank you for your messages, phone calls, articles and facebook comments expressing your concerns as well as support for the OMILO school and the financial crisis in Greece. OMILO is fine and will organize, as every year, every course or program mentioned on the website. We are lucky there are so many motivated and enthusiastic learners of the Greek Language all over the world. Because of your enthusiasm and love for Greece, the OMILO staff and teachers find the energy to work even harder this year and promise to give you the best Greek language course you can find in Greece! And not only that….. if your mind is too tired this year to learn even more Greek words and struggles when using the “paratatikos, ypersindelikos, parakeinemos or aoristos”, you could also try our “cultural walks” in Athens or “dancing, cooking and painting lessons” on the island of Andros! In the meantime life in Greece continues, with ups and downs….Since you hear a lot about the “downs” through the media in your countries, we prefer to write a bit more about the “ups” and the different positive ideas starting to find their way. In this Newsletter we write about : 1. The Greek Potato Revolution 2. Give Greece a Chance 3. Greek Film Director Theo Angelopoulos dies 4. New 6th Benaki building opens in Athens 5. Painting with OMILO on the island of Andros 6. Greek Orthodox Easter : Food & Traditions +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

1. The Greek Potato Revolution
Despite the crisis, the cost of living is still rising in Greece. The goods with the biggest annual rise last month were heating oil (25.1 percent), natural gas (23.6 percent), electricity (13.9 percent), road toll rates (9.7 percent), gasoline (8.6 percent) and fresh fruit (7.8 percent). As more and more Greeks every day have to cope with financial

difficulties, a new initiative has sprung up, aimed at saving some money. It's a simple idea - selling potatoes directly from producer to consumer, thus by avoiding the middleman, slashing prices in half. The craze, which some are already starting to call the “Potato Revolution,” began in the northern town of Katerini a month ago. A group of local activists, the Pieria Volunteer Action Team, set up a website to allow people to order potatoes directly from local farmers. Customers pre-order the quantity of potatoes they want. After paying, they're given a receipt, which they then present to the farmers in the parking lots, who hand them the right number of sacks. Their project was an instant hit. In two weeks, they had already sold 100 tons of potatoes, and inspired agricultural students in Thessaloniki to launch a similar program. Dozens more cities across Greece are planning to follow suit. The farmers get to sell their potatoes for a higher price than they would to distributors – but for less than what supermarkets charge customers – so both farmers and customers win. All sorts of people go to buy the potatoes – some of them are poor or unemployed; some are betteroff, but wanted to help support the initiative. The farmers were selling their potatoes at 0,15 cents to the middleman, but can now sell potatoes for 0,25 cents a kilo – this is still nearly three times less than they cost in the supermarkets! So both farmers and customers benefit. It is a fast moving story and has led to supermarkets slashing their prices A funny thing happened – as soon as people starting buying these cheap potatoes, all the local supermarkets started making potato “offers” where they slashed their prices from 0,70 cents a kilo to just 0,35 cents… But that’s still more expensive than what we’re offering. The demand is huge and olive oil, olives, meat, wheat and rice are set to be the next products made available. As we had mentioned in our previous Newsletter, a financial crisis gives the opportunity for creative ideas and new ways of thinking. Greece definitely needs a “change in mentality” in how to do business and promote local products. We are looking forward to hear from the next creative business or volunteering idea! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Not only Greek individuals are creative and try to find positive solutions, also big companies decided to work together and start a campaign to “save Greece”.

2. Give Greece a Chance
More than 20 of Greece’s biggest businesses joined forces to take out full page advertisements in several European newspapers calling on readers and politicians to “Give Greece a Chance” . The ads ran in the Financial Times, International Herald Tribune and the Wall Street Journal’s European edition as well as German, French and Dutch newspapers. The campaign, which is accompanied by the www.greeceischanging.com website, outlines the tough austerity measures that Greece has accepted as part of its bailouts and the efforts that are being made to conduct structural reforms. On their website you can read the following: -------------------------------------------Campaign Greece has committed to the toughest austerity program in modern history. Hefty tax hikes, pension and wage cuts have reduced the primary budget deficit from € 24,7 billion to € 5,2 billion in just two

years… but with a dramatic impact on the life of every Greek. A new set of measures was recently voted in by the Greek Parliament. With a focus on structural reform, we have a chance to create a new Greece. A modern, productive and creative Greece with a sustainable future in Europe. Further hardship is inevitable. Unemployment has already reached 21%. This is a high price to pay and it should not go in vain. We are entering the fifth year of recession. Our European partners have stood by us. But we need continued support and the breathing space to get out of this vicious cycle. And we deserve to know that there is a fair chance of success. We are hardworking, taxpaying citizens unfairly labeled with stereotypes so easily handed out to Greeks today. We are Europeans who aspire to a constructive role within Europe. We will deliver on our commitment. We have already made sacrifices. We are ready to do more. We are betting our future on this. All we are saying is give Greece a chance. Source: www.greeceischanging.com --------------------------------------------------------------------The businesses involved include Aegean Airlines, Cosmote, Costa Navarino, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Eurobank, Piraeus Bank , OTE telecoms, Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) and many others… OMILO also agrees with the above, but is too small to be included in the list of “big businesses”! Some remarks: The last months more and more articles in the international press are also “defending” Greece and writing about various “political and financial decisions” within the EU , International Banks, European Governments, etc…that were not always so correct and not in favor of Greece at all. We are happy that also this kind of news is now available to European citizens, so they can get a better opinion of the “political and financial games” world-wide. However, every Greek knows that “Greece itself” is also to blame. Too many things are not working as they “are supposed to” work…… Unfortunately it seems that a crisis was needed to be able to make changes and build something better. Unfortunately the bill is paid by those that were profiting the least all the previous years. But we hope things will change and something positive will be the outcome. Greeks living and working abroad all adapt perfectly and have their careers. It is not “being Greek” that is the problem, but the “system”! We hope that “Greece will get a chance” and will use that chance to built something better indeed. Here below pictures and text of Peter Economidis, businessman, also doing major efforts to Brand (market) Greece. The pictures can be copied and used for your facebook Timeline Profile. His facebookpage is http://www.facebook.com/#!/economidespeter

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ We all know Greece has amazing artists, musicians, politicians , philosophers, actors, etc.. but also film directors. Unfortunately one of those big names became now “history” again. His films though will live for ever!

3. Greek Film Director Theo Angelopoulos dies while working on his latest movie.
Theo Angelopoulos was known for his slow and dream-like directing style and had enough stamina at 76 to be working on his latest movie. But unfortunately the award-winning Greek filmmaker was killed close to a movie set in Piraeus in February 2012 after being hit by a motorcycle while working on his upcoming movie “The Other Sea.” Angelopoulos had won numerous awards for his movies, mostly at European film festivals, during a career that spanned more than 40 years. In 1995, he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for “Ulysses’ Gaze”. Three years later, he won the main prize at the festival, the Palme d’Or, for “Eternity and a Day”. “The atmosphere, symbolism and historical context of his cinematic storytelling went beyond the art form that he worked in and inspired young filmmakers,” said Greek President Karolos Papoulias . “His death occurred at a time when he was extremely creative and Greece was in need of his insight, making his absence all the more painful.” Born in Athens in 1935, Angelopoulos lived through the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II and the ensuing 1946-49 Greek civil war — recurring themes in his early films. He studied law at Athens University, but eventually lost interest and moved to France where he studied film at the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies in Paris. After returning to Greece, he started to make films during Greece’s 1967-74 dictatorship.

Described as mild-mannered but uncompromising, Angelopoulos’ often sad and slow-moving films mostly dealt with issues from Greece’s turbulent recent history: war, exile, immigration and political division. The movie he was working at this year was about the impact of the crisis in everyday life. Have a look at the small video to get an idea of his famous “filming style”. Of course, it would be better to see his movies on a big screen! Scene from his movie Trilogy: The Weeping Meadow (2004) Trilogia: To livadi pou dakryzei (original title) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DEuIq6uQ1Q This is the first film of Theo Angelopoulos' trilogy. The story starts in 1919 with some Greek refugees from Odessa arriving somewhere near Thessaloniki. Among these people are two small kids, Alexis and Eleni. Eleni is an orphan and she is also taken care by Alexis' family. The refugees build a small village somewhere near a river and we watch as the kids grow up and fall in love. But difficult times of dictatorship and war are coming... The music is by Angelopoulos' long time collaborator, Eleni Karaindrou. Her music is not a background accompaniment, but a dramatic element, a living component of the story, an actor adding some words that had not been spoken. Here you see a video with some of her beautiful and very known music, while playing the piano herself. Relax and take your time to listen to it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o-4twsaxDY&feature=related

4. New 6th Benaki building opens in Athens
The Benaki Museum ranks among the major institutions that have enriched the material assets of the Greek state. It is also the oldest museum in Greece operating as a Foundation under Private Law. Through its extensive collections that cover several different cultural fields, the Benaki Museum is perhaps the only institution within the broader network of museum foundations in Greece. Everybody living in Athens and all our students in Maroussi have heard of and/or visited one of the Benaki Museums. Since there is something for every visitor, from ancient Greek art to byzantine art , Islamic art and even contemporary art, the Benaki Collections should be on everybody’s list of “things to do in Athens”! Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery The unexpectedly good news, a positive note with regard to local cultural affairs hard hit by the ongoing crisis, is that the sixth annex of the Benaki Museum and former residence of prominent Greek artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, is scheduled to open its doors to the public in early April. It will showcase the Ghika Gallery as well as the Interwar and 1930s Museum. The building was donated to the Benaki Museum by the artist himself. The new Benaki wing, developed thanks to the persistent efforts of the museum’s director Angelos Delivorrias, offers a panorama of leading examples of modern Greek culture, beginning in the 1920s and continuing up to the 1970s. The building at 3 Kriezotou Street, close to Sintagma square, belonged to the artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika who donated it to the Benaki Museum during his lifetime. The original structure, commissioned by Alexander Hadjikyriakos around 1932, comprised a ground floor and

five upper floors. It was a typical example of an interwar apartment block. In the mid-1950s, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika decided to live in the building, which belonged to his family, on a permanent basis. For this purpose a further storey was added. The artist lived on the fifth floor of the building, using the unusually spacious and well-lit space on the sixth floor as a studio and library. He lived and worked there continuously for almost forty years until his death in September 1994. After his death these areas were preserved as they had been decorated and arranged during the artist’s lifetime. For more information on the six different Benaki museums, have a look at http://www.benaki.gr/index.asp?lang=gr&id=402

5. Painting with OMILO on the island of Andros: “Greek Cultural Week”
Inspired by the efforts of the Benaki Museum, also OMILO decided to offer something for the artistic students around! During our “Greek Cultural Week” from 29/7 till 3/8 on the island of Andros, apart from cooking-, dancing- and Greek lessons, we now also offer painting lessons! Greece is renowned for its good light, so what better place to learn or improve how to paint, combined with a great holiday in a stunning location. The 5 day course will take you on a journey to explore your creative self. Inspired by the magnificent surroundings of Andros, from the blues of the Mediterranean, to the greens of the landscape, and the colours of the wild flowers and wonderful local fruit and vegetables, you will have the opportunity to express yourself through colour. Whether you want to paint the landscape you see or release your imagination. Each individual will follow a unique journey through art. The aim is to understand the basic concepts of drawing, and then progress to working with pastels, watercolours, acrylics on canvas, mixed media, and oils on canvas (though some of you may choose to focus on one medium for the full week). The course is for everybody, from complete beginners to advanced, whether you are 8 or 80!! All materials will be provided, and the aim is to send you all home with at least 3 works of art!!! For all the information about the “Greek Cultural Week”, have a look at: http://omilo.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=38&lang=en

6. Greek Orthodox Easter : Food & Traditions
The Greek Orthodox Pascha (Easter) season starts with The Great Lent, beginning on a Monday (Ash Monday) seven weeks before Easter Sunday. The Greek Orthodox faith follows a modified Julian calendar to establish the date of Easter each year. Fasting Greek Orthodox Lent is a time of fasting, which means abstaining from foods that contain animals with red blood (meats, poultry, game) and products from animals with red blood (milk, cheese, eggs, etc.), and fish and seafood with backbones. Olive oil and wine are also restricted. The number of meals on each day is also limited. The purpose of fasting is to cleanse the body as well as the spirit in preparation for accepting the Resurrection at Easter, which is the most sacred of all observances in the Greek Orthodox faith. The above is the “theory” but in practice few people really follow all the “guidelines”. However, in every shop, including bakeries and patisseries you will find various foods, labeled

with “appropriate for fasting” Spring Cleaning In addition to cleansing the body and spirit, Lent is also a traditional time for spring housecleaning. Houses and walls get new coats of whitewash or paint, and inside, cupboards, closets, and drawers and cleaned and freshened. Again, this is the “theory”, at least in many houses we know! But it is a nice concept and worth it to follow or give it a try! The Holy Week This year the Greek Easter is one week later than the “other” Easter, on Sunday 15/4. The OMILO Greek Easter course takes place in Nafplion from 9/4 till 21/4. Here some more information on what to expect, while learning Greek with OMILO or visiting Greece during the Holy Week! The week before Easter Sunday, the Holy week, begins on Palm Sunday. There are church services everyday commemorating the last week in the life of Jesus Christ. The evening services are the most well attended, except for Wednesday when the Service of the Holy Unction is held in the afternoon. On Thursday morning the service commemorates the Last Supper and the Betrayal of Christ. This is the day that the hard-boiled eggs are dyed red, signifying the blood of Christ, and the Easter bread, called tsoureki, is baked. The evening service on Thursday is a long one and features twelve gospel readings. For our OMILO students and other non-Greek visiting Greece, from Friday it starts to get very interesting! The figure of Christ is taken down from the cross. The epitaphios , decorated with flowers by the girls through the night, is brought into the church. The bells of the church can be heard all over and all the flags in Greece are lowered to half-mast. In the evening a “funeral service” is held and at about 9pm the epitaphios is taken from the church and carried through the streets in a procession. Now everybody follows the epithaphios while carrying “beige” candles. We hope there will be not too much wind, since it needs a major effort to keep your candle lighted, and in case you do not succeed, “you are in trouble”! On Saturday the Orthodox Patriarch breaks the seal of the door of the tomb of Christ in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and emerges with the Holy Fire, which is then flown by Olympic Airways (if there are no strikes!), accompanied by high-ranking priests and government officials to Athens airport where it is met by an honor guard to the small church of Agia Anargyroi in the Plaka. From there the light is distributed to churches all over Attika and the rest of Greece. Meanwhile people are shopping for their Easter gifts and buying their lambs of all sizes for Easter Sunday. Athenians who have family-connections to their islands and villages on the mainland are preparing to leave the city, as well as people with no connections! The OMILO staff and teachers are lucky enough to be already in Nafplion, together with the students! Till last year, by Thursday evening, ferries, flights and the roads leading out of Athens were full. However, nobody really knows what will happen this year. It seems many people will stay in Athens because of lack of money to spend on boat tickets, accommodation, high fuel prices and road tolls. The Resurrection or Anastasis At 11pm on Saturday night pretty much the entire country is in church. The lights are turned off at midnight and the priest announces that Christ has arisen from the dead as candles (this day only white

candles!) are lit. The tiny glow at the front of the church grows and soon the whole room is illuminated by the light of everyone's candles. Exactly at midnight the priest sings the paschal hymn: "Christ has risen from the dead and in so doing has trampled on death and to those in the tombs he has given life". The church bells ring in celebration, fireworks go off, ships sound their sirens and the light and sound makes any European Newyear celebration seem tame in comparison! People greet each other happily with the words Christos Anesti (Christ has arisen) which is replied to with Alithos Anesti (Truly He has arisen). Then everyone heads for home with their lighted candles. Most people either stay home or go to a restaurant for the traditional bowl of margeritsa, a thick green soup made from the intestines of the lamb that will be roasted the next day, breaking their 40 day fast. Gunshots, dynamite and fireworks will be going off for the next 12 hours or more, with every year blowing off a finger or two! Just be careful! Easter Sunday Easter day is most people's favorite day of the year. A lamb is roasted (or baked in the oven) and friends and families get together to eat, drink, talk and dance. And this is what we plan to do as well, together with the OMILO students of course! (For the vegetarians around, do not worry! Greek cuisine has a lot of vegetable dishes as well.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The sun is there, the wildflowers growing everywhere, the trees blossoming and spring is in the air. We are looking forward to start our intensive Athens course on April 2nd and show our students around in various neighborhoods of Athens. On April 9th we will be in Nafplion to welcome the students for the Easter course and guide them through the Greek lessons as well as the Holy Week! Many greetings from all of us, at the time being still in Athens The OMILO team
OMILO, PO Box 61070, 15101 MAROUSSI, ATHENS Tel. (0030)210-612.28.96 email: info@omilo.com