Since 2015, Taalhuis Amsterdam has been travelling to Athens to teach intensive Modern Greek courses at the Netherlands Institute at Athens.
These courses are designed for students who come to Greece for (archeological) research or field work, and others who are looking for a place to seriously work on their Greek. Last November was the first time we (Maro, Georgia, and Myrte) got to visit the beautiful institute for lessons on location again! We were with 10 students divided over 3 levels (Greek 1, for the absolute beginners, Greek 3 for intermediates and Greek 5 for the very advanced).
Our Greek 1 students learned how to talk about themselves and each other, tell time, ask directions, talk about their daily activities, do groceries and order at a restaurant. Greek 3 focussed on verbs, passive sentences and past tenses (aorist and paratatikos). Greek 5 immersed themselves in Alki Zei’s book ‘Το Καπλάνι της Βιτρίνας’ and learned to sing along the title song while watching the eponymous series.
Our afternoons and evenings were spent practicing Greek ‘outside the classroom’ and admiring the military guard on top of the Acropolis (ánd the view from the Acropolis):
We met Faresha Amiri who, together with her sister Parwana Amiri (and others), works at Waves of Hope for the Future, a network of self-organized schools in five refugee camps across Greece. Two of them are just outside of Athens: Malakasa and Ritsona. Have a look at this beautiful video to learn more about Parwana and her activities:
We watched ‘America Square’ (Πλατεία Αμερικής) about Athens and her diverse inhabitants, we walked through Psirri and Exarchia, guided by Nicholas Karachalis, to discover Athenian graffiti.
Of course, we practised our food and wine vocabulary at our beloved restaurant Οινομαγειρείο της Αλεξάνδρας by ordering παντζάρια (beetroot), κρέας (meat), κολοκυθοκεφτέδες (zucchini balls) and ένα (και δύο και τρία) κιλό κρασί: 1 (or 2 or 3) kilos of wine. (Yes, in Greek we talk about kilos wine instead of liters). We also practiced shopping at the Athenian Agora.
And we cooked τραχανά με χωριάτικο λουκάνικο (trachana with traditional sausage) with guidance of Maria!
At the theatre, we watched the comedy ‘Όποιος θέλει να χωρίσει να σηκώσει το χέρι του’ (‘Who wants to divorce, may raise his hand’) by Giorgos Kapoutzidis, starring actress Marylou Katsafadou. We went prepared and made sure we read parts of part the script in advance and learned all about Greek baptism and marriage customs (and when to use the interesting verb form απεταξάμην).
Filled with Greek inspiration, vocabulary, literature, songs and (yes, let’s say it again) food and wine we went home, already looking forward to the next course in March 2022.
Thank you Ed, Ischa, Eva, Marieke, Davide, Sharon, Kathrin, Yun, Caroline, Jamilla and Hans. And thank you Jaap for helping us to keep the Greek spirit alive with this video!!