Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I am waiting to receive pictures from various people I have traveled with before writing posts about the trips, in the mean time, I realize that I should probably say... Something. So I am picking one really cool thing that happened to be a few weeks ago, to make people like my mom happy.

Changing of the guards

So, I believe I mentioned my guard friend Nick. We have actually become relatively good friends, considering that all efforts to hang out somewhere other than the side of the road when he is on duty have been foiled. I also have met many of the guards, and am beginning to understand some of the inside- Greek army jokes (the secondary meanings of the words they have me say are amusing for the 12 year old boys among us). Helpful hint: if you want to see the real person within the uniform, go to the national gardens at 2 in the morning. At this time, everyone is chillin. The guards, unless they are newbees, are not forced to stand at attention for hours on end, they kick back, relax, and joke with the officials, policemen, pet the dogs. During these "down times" Nick and the other characters teach me how to walk like a guard, hold a gun, and tell me stories about army life, and constantly remind me of how long they have left to serve before Mykonos(!). Most of the time the Greek mentality of "hey Whatever, Thavma (fantastic/amazing)" comes out, but at other times they try to make me understand what it is like to be proud to be a guard, be the best of the soldiers and truly want to do what they are doing... Which is still some thing I dont quite understand. ok, so my story.
One night I was walking home from school around 10pm, passing the guards as always and I saw Nick. We talked for a while; the street was fairly quite. Then he says, "so, you've seen the changing of the guards a lot now?" and I said, well yes, of course, several times a day. And he said to me, "ok then, do you think you can do it?" And I jokingly, I said of course I could. But then he took off his hat, put it on my head, and pointed to his watch. "Well, its time, Liz, change them." Yes, I got to change the guards in front of the President's house in Athens. Me! It was so cool. Basically, you stand across from the two central guards with your feet together, lift your right foot up and stand shoulder width apart, hands held behind your back. Then you puff up your chest, salute, and when you put your hand down they all start moving. I was pretty stoked, and Nick said I did a great job, he was going to go on a coffee break because I had it all under control. "Just kidding."
Another note about the guards.... During they day, when they have to be... More professional... I have a special system, where when a guard recognizes me, two blinks mean hello, and then I wave and say kalimera, Yorvo! Eisai kala? Anyway, its fun. All for now, hopeful Halloween pics next post.


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