When kids go to school at 4 a.m.

4 Oct

I awoke last night to the usual shouts in Greek. The difference yesterday was that they didn’t fade away into the night, as generally happens to the joyous bellows of hipster Kolonaki bar-goers. When I finally dragged myself out of bed, it was about 4:30 a.m. There was what looked like a bunch of teens hanging out on the stairs of the high school opposite our apartment, being obnoxious, oblivious to the attempts of others to sleep in peace.  So I decided to yell at them, and then call the police when that didn’t work. This is a familiar scenario as I regularly call the police on obnoxious teens waking us up in the middle of the night in Modiin.

The lights were on in the school and kids were milling about as if it were midday. It was so bizarre; I wasn’t sure what to think. Granted, I was in a bad mood, as my sleep deprivation has recently reached new heights. Amitai is a great sleeper but when Bubby first arrived in Athens, he thought her jet lag was an all-night party and none of us slept! When I finally found the number of the police after looking through the Greek phonebook which I can’t read, the police came and the kids left.

What ensued was a restless night of perplexing dreams. Because the situation I had witnessed was so surreal, I’m not sure what was real and what wasn’t. A lot of images of the school and kids running around. Yehudit Ravitz singing a commiserative song a cappella in a nearby Athenian square was definitely not real, and neither was my encounter with my husband’s doctorate advisor in a northern suburb (whom I’ve never met, but is responsible for bringing us to this chaotic place!).

When I woke up for good, I discovered that the kids had “taken over” the school and had imposed a lockout on the teachers at the 8:30 am morning bell. Apparently there was a wave of takeovers last night, and some 600 schools have been occupied this way of late in Greece.  Our landlady tells us the move is against the new reform to high schools and she applauds them. The security guard at Aharon’s school said it’s something that has always been done in Greece, and it’s not particularly symptomatic of the current crisis.  I remember that’s how people explained to me that people burned cars every New Year’s eve in France. They just do.

Not sure what tonight will bring but tomorrow the city will be completely shut down. I can’t complain as I work from home, and Amitai goes to a private nursery so we are unaffected. The only change is that my mother and I will have to postpone our food tour of Athens by a day. Earlier this  morning the tour company rep. told me that we needn’t worry because they are in the private sector and the markets won’t close down. Later in the day she called to say they had to cancel the tour because the ferries will be on strike and none of the participants will make it to Athens. Oh well. The souvlaki will have to wait. Yesterday, my mother couldn’t do the hop-on, hop-off bus tour she had planned because students had laid down on roads near Syntagma Square in downtown Athens, blocking all traffic. 

BBC and CNN tell us the pressure is on the Greek prime minister to abide by the austerity measures and remain in the Eurozone at all costs. But the street tells us otherwise.



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