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Greek Language and Culture

Dear OMILO friends,

Here the December Newsletter. Just on time to wish you pleasant Christmas days and Happy Holidays! This week we are finishing our last group lessons and we will start with new group courses again from January 14th, 2013. The OMILO teachers and staff will have a holiday break, visit family and relatives in various parts in Greece as well as outside Greece. However, we will not disappear! Our Facebook page www.facebook.com/omilohellas will be “alive and kicking” over the holidays and emails will be answered every 2nd day. In this Newspaper we will write about: 1. The Lagarde List! 2. Carpool away! 3. Useful Christmas gifts 4. Greek traditional Christmas decorations **********************************************

1. The Greek Journalist Arrested for Publishing the 'Lagarde List’
During October and November , one of the stories that made it to international headlines was the one of Kostas Vaxevakis, a well-known Greek investigative reporter. Vaxenavis throughout his career had made many significant reports leading to October, 2012 when in his magazine, ‘Hot Doc’, after weeks of careful investigation, he posted the ‘Lagarde list’ – a list given to former Greek finance minister in October of 2010. This list has names of over 2,000 wealthy Greeks with bank accounts in the Swiss bank HSBC. The list had since then been hidden from Greek public and its publication caused a huge uproar as it directly proved the corruption in Greece. “What this reveals," according to Vaxevanis, "is that the elite of Greek society are not contributing their fair share during this time of crisis by paying taxes. Instead they are depositing their money overseas, which is something the public has long suspected but could not prove.” Ironically immediately after the publication of the list, Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested as being guilty of invasion of privacy. Within days he was then brought to court and found not guilty. Soon after , the prosecutor’s office appealed the court’s decision. As a court official told Reuters, “The prosecutor believes that the decision in favor of the journalist is legally wrong”. His lawyer said "He's been accused without reason. The principles of a fair trial are not being followed." Similarly Vaxevanis said, "They not only acted illegally, resorting to violence when I was arrested

last month, they not only ridiculed Greece internationally trying to censor the press, when I am found innocent they want to overturn the judgment, doing whatever they can to get the result that they want." Additionally he stated that he is not guilty of invading privacy as he only published the names of the individuals owning a bank account in HSBC. Invading privacy would imply publishing the account numbers and the money in them. So far, even after the list’s publication in October, there hasn’t been any response by the government in convicting individuals on the list for disobeying tax evasion laws. "There's a huge problem in Greece,” stated Vaxevanis in an interview with the Guardian, “a problem of democracy. The country is governed by a poisonous combination of politicians, businessmen and journalists who cover one another's backs. Every day laws are changed, or new laws are voted in, to legitimize illegal deeds. Had it not been for the foreign media taking such an interest in my own story, it would have been buried." Yes indeed, the laws are still changing every day! It is impossible to get bored in this country! ********************************************

2. Carpool Away!
You all like traveling and visiting places, especially in Greece. Right? Well, maybe you could combine travelling in Greece with “practicing speaking Greek”? As mentioned many times in previous Newsletters, a crisis brings new, creative ideas. And with petrol prices hitting the roof in Greece, combined with expensive domestic flight tickets, the carpooling found its way in Greece. Something that did not exist in the “Greek mentality” some years ago, now is possible! The network pamemazi.gr, powered by the global leading carpooling platform carpooling.com, connects people who can share a ride and the corresponding expenses! Pamemazi.gr offers rides within major cities like Athens and Thessaloniki, but also includes itineraries between different cities or even regions. The platform is really easy to use: you create an account and then you can either search for preferred routes or register your itinerary along with details such the time of departure, meeting point and the cost for each prospective carpooler. So why not trying it and make new Greek friends and share experiences! You want to visit a traditional Greek mountain village during your Christmas break or come to our courses in Nafplion or Lefkada? It might work out and your Greek will improve for sure! Enjoy your trip! “Kalo taksidi”! ***********************************************

3. Useful Christmas gifts for people loving Greece!
Snow arrived in Greece, mountain tops are white and since two weeks the heating in the Greek houses is turned on! Time to get into the Christmas atmosphere! And time to think about gifts again! Just in case you do not have any inspiration for Christmas gifts, here some ideas! a. OMILO has created a birthday calendar with 12 beautiful photos from Greece. Ideal to remember birthdays and name days, while

looking at those pictures and dreaming about a holiday in Greece! Special Holiday Price : 8 euro’s (postal charge not included) b. Would you like to introduce your friends or children to a Greek boardgame? For example "Tavli" (lessons possibe with Marina!) or Scrabble? You want to introduce your friends or children to the Greek alphabet? Playing with Greek words and using your brain! It is not easy, but it is fun!

Το classical scrabble game - Greek version, for 2 to 4 persons, from 8 years old. A traditional boardgame for the whole family and friends. You can find it in most of the bookstores or toy-stores in Greece. c. What about a Greek cooking lesson in Athens? After the success of the Greek cooking lessons during our Greek Cultural Week, now it is also possible to have a 2-hour cooking lesson with OMILO in Athens. Would you like to learn how to cook your favorite Greek dish and impress family or friends back home? Or you would like your partner to learn something very useful, while you are visiting museums or having Greek lessons? The price for a 2-hour lesson ranges between 60 and 80 euro, depending on the dishes you want to cook. Of course you can eat and enjoy your self-cooked meal after the lesson, even together with your partner. For more information or gift vouchers, please write us an email at info@omilo.com d. And last but not least….. treat yourself for Christmas with a Greek Language Holiday in 2013. All the dates of the OMILO 1- and 2-week courses in 2013 are online. Just click here! ************************************************

4. Greek traditional Christmas decorations
Do you prefer a Christmas tree or a Christmas boat? The decoration of the Christmas tree is not a Greek habit. It is said that the first Christmas

tree in Greece was decorated by the Bavarian king Otto in 1833. In Greece, according to the tradition, we decorate a boat, mainly on the islands. The boat symbolizes the maritime identity of the country. Greeks, a seafaring nation, of course combined the celebration of Christmas with the sea. The decoration of the ship was also a kind of honor and welcome to the sailors returning home to celebrate Christmas with their families. Children used to make their own boat, using wood and paper and then decorate them with colorful fabrics, cotton and twigs. On Christmas Eve, many groups of children were singing carols from house to house, having with them the handmade boats and filling them with the treats they received. Unfortunately, this custom disappeared over the years and the tree replaced it. However, in recent years, we see that the boat becomes popular again for a Christmas decoration, on the islands as well as in Athens and Maroussi!

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We wish a very happy , healthy, positive and beautiful 2013
With love from Athens The OMILO team!

OMILO, PO Box 61070, 15101 MAROUSSI, ATHENS Tel. (0030)210-612.28.96 email: info@omilo.com