Sunday, 23 February 2014

If you say you can Teach Art, then prove it.

As an Art Teacher I am keen to take every opportunity to see the work of others and share in ideas and experiences. I love visiting other classrooms and watching how they engage the kids, and it's not long before I'm sitting alongside a few children and helping them and discovering what they enjoy. So when my dear friend Maria invited me into her little primary school in the centre of Kefalos I was delighted. We sat and chatted as best we could, what with her English and my Greek conversation then not as good as it is today. This was some years ago now. As we sat and drank coffee Papou arrived with flowers for Maria's office and it was just so relaxed , not at all like the strict security rules our schools are under today.

So imagine how I felt when she dropped the bombshell."The children are really excited about you coming into today and waiting for their Art Lesson". she said. Oops, Nearly spilt the coffee. It's amazing how quickly you can think on your feet, and I found myself walking across the playground to the eagerly awaiting children. Ron remained with Maria and Papou drinking coffee.

OMG. What to do? 'Kalimera' went down rather well, followed by "Κάτσε κάτω",
not bad, but now what? Not so scary really as I had been given a small group of the most talented English speakers to help me, which is all well and good if your greek language guide book gave you all the words you needed for an Art Lesson. Anyway with simple instructions, mime, play acting and drawing we managed. In fact we had fun. I was able to tap into all the resources I use when teaching a class something I know absolutely nothing about. It was challenging, but what an opportunity.

Would I do it again? You bet and when I've moved to Kefalos I'd like to volunteer more often. The children were so friendly and eager to show how well they were trying and for quite some days after would stop and say hello when I met them in the village.

Just think one session with me could have coloured their view of Art forever . So apologies if it put you off.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Sunny, Blue and cold. Role on Summer

Kamari Bay I love you whatever the season

Weddings and Dancing


If you ever get the chance to go to a Greek wedding then go and if you are close enough to attend the dressing then it’s an honour. Recently attending Popi and Gianni’s wedding I had the pleasure of listening to Aunty Evangelia and Maria sing to the bride as she got ready, it was a really special moment. The drive to the church involves a lot of noise and horn blowing and it’s an exciting time. Once inside the church I love the contrast of respect and religion, mingled with the apparent informality of standing around in church, coming and going and in some cases chatting. Despite the apparent to-ing and fro-ing everyone is totally absorbed in the ceremony. Coming from a background of sitting down, getting up again to pray or sing, and for the rest of the time sitting in absolute silence this seems a bit strange . I understand however that you get used to standing after a while. The smallest attendants can get a bit restless but it’s lovely to see them right at the front of the church watching and waiting for the priests to tell them what and when to do it.

The thing I like most about the Greek people is that no matter what age they all join in with the traditions and are brought up with them .The young people embrace their culture, unlike some in the UK who remove themselves as far from their heritage as they can. This doesn’t mean that young Greeks aren’t
en- trend or fashionable, but that they accept and enjoy the traditions.

The words ‘Be afraid, be very afraid, when you start to dance like your father’, just don’t seem to apply and no matter what age, my friends on Kos know how to and want to do the Greek dancing. It seems strange at a wedding not to have variety of 60’s-present day popular music where different generations take it in turn to boogie. In Greece they all get up and dance.