- Become friends with fellow football fans.
- Accept invitation to a Super Bowl party.
- Make a traditional Greek meza dish called χτυπητή (htipiti) and homemade olive oil and sea salt pita chips. (See below for recipe!)
- Turn off all notifications on your phone so you don’t hear the game results.
- Go to bed early.
- Wake up early.
- Check the time on your phone. Accidentally see the game results. Frown. #thePatriotswonagain
- Leave for the Super Bowl party which starts at “American” 9:00AM (meaning the party actually starts at 9:00AM). Vow not to reveal that you know who won the game.
- As soon as the door closes, realize you have the wrong set of keys.
- Take in the fact that you are now locked OUT of your house while simultaneously being locked INSIDE your courtyard.
- Melt down. You are tired because you stayed awake talking to Blake instead of going to bed early (see #5). The Super Bowl matters a lot to John. You have no data on your phone and there is no WiFi in the courtyard. You can’t call for help. You have no idea how to solve this problem. You don’t live in the best part of town. You don’t know enough Greek to ask for help. You have the recording of the football game. The party starts at “American” 9:00AM. IF you get out of the courtyard, you WILL be late.
- Watch John attempt to break the lock on the courtyard gate with a rock.
- Climb the courtyard gate. Pray you don’t hurt yourself. You aren’t as young as you used to be, and you need to be 10 cm taller to make this comfortable.
- Walk 1 km to the hardware store.
- Praise God the owner’s son speaks English and that John has frequented his store over the last 90 days. They are friends.
- Pet the owner’s cat while you wait. You can’t just look around and get what you need. This is a relational culture. You are in the owner’s store. His son will help you when he is free. Shake your head that the cat is welcome inside the store. Wonder if the cat is really theirs or if it is just a stray. Shake your head again. The cat which may or may not be a stray is INSIDE the store.
- Walk 1 km home in gratitude. The store owner LOANED you his bolt cutters so that you can break out of your courtyard.
- Watch John cut the chain. Thank God you don’t have to climb over the gate again.
- Get in your car and go to the Super Bowl party. You can’t do anything about getting back inside the house. This is a relational culture. Little happens in a hurry. It will wait.
- Eat good food. Learn how to break into a Greek door. Apparently getting locked out of your house isn’t unusual. Doors are heavy, close easily, and lock automatically. Hang out with the kids. Talk to your friends. Laugh at T-Mobile commercials. Sort of watch the game. #thePatriotswonitnolongermatters
- Try to figure out if you can help clean. Your hosts are Greek AND American. Wonder which culture are you working in. Give up guessing. Help a little but not too much.
- Say goodbye. Hope you get the kissing-cheeks-thing correct. Is it left then right or right then left? Give hugs instead. Thank God people are forgiving.
- Go to your team leader’s apartment. Pick up a spare key. Thank God someone has a spare key.
- Find out John also knew who won the game. Laugh that you didn’t tell each other before the game.
- Rest. It’s been a long day of culture acquisition.
Click the photos to open the gallery. Click the X in the top right corner to exit the gallery.
- Food processor
- 8 oz Feta Cheese, crumbled (2 cups) 256 grams
- 1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped 128 grams
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving 80 ml
- 1 Tb lemon juice 15 ml
- 1/2 tsp cayene pepper (add more if you like a little extra kick) 20 g
- 1/4 tsp black pepper 10 g
- Process feta, red peppers, oil, lemon juice, cayenne, and pepper in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer mixture in serving bowl, drizzle with extra oil to taste and serve. (Dip can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature before serving.)
Amy E Patton
This post originally appeared on February 9, 2019 on Amy’s website.
*Where mentioned names have been changed to honor each person’s story. Photos have been blurred intentionally. Photos are the sole property of John and Amy Patton and cannot be saved or used for any purpose without our permission.