The commoditization of transportation

This whole reading about near-dead languages got me today in this page. Arvanitic is a Tosk-Albanian dialect, still spoken in some places in Greece. Reading about it made me remember my aunt, Stavroula. My aunt Stavroula got married around 1958 to an (ethnic Greek) man. She is a very strong and driven woman, but she had a real hard time at the beginning. Not only she had to marry this man who has only seen once in her life through a pre-arranged marriage, but she moved at his village, where they would ONLY speak Arvanitic! The groom could speak Greek, but his mother and most of his relatives could not. All the surrounding villages would only speak Arvanitic with only children who’ve been to a school (and the priest & teacher of each village) could speak Greek. She managed though, she learned the language pretty fast and she got fluent in it.

Now, you probably think that she got married in a far away land. The truth is, that she got married just 30km away! But these were the times were good roads and cars were difficult to find in that region of Greece, and so she would not come back to visit her parents and siblings more than once a year! And this just makes me think how different our lives are today compared to just 50 years ago. Europeans and Americans won’t understand what I am saying because for them the change between being mostly “static” in one place and easily transporting between places happened 100-150 years ago, not 50. But because for me the change is much more recent, I can see how much different some regions were and how it’s possible to have completely different languages or dialects spoken just a few kilometers away from you.

Heck, until a few years ago, even my mother had never being to Ioanina, one of the biggest cities in Greece, which resides just 90 Khm away from our home. And each time JBQ and I visit Greece and we tell her “today we are going to visit Parga” she replies “ooh, why are you going so far away?”. Parga is a touristic town is just 25 khm away from our home! Want more examples? My father was the only one of his 6 siblings who had a honeymoon. He went with my mother in Lefkada in 1971. An island just 50 khm away! It felt like a new country to my mother (and she hated it btw)!

3 Comments »

Apotheosis wrote on May 22nd, 2007 at 2:10 AM PST:

Why did she hate Lefkada? Granted, not the best place in the world, but neither awful. Just curious.


l3v1 wrote on May 22nd, 2007 at 2:53 AM PST:

Well, how big some changes are is… well, _very_ relative. I mean there are countries in Europe which have been in a worse shape than Greece for long decades. Their jump to today’s world is so big it’s hard to conceive. Take for example one of my grandmothers. She’s been raised in a farmer family (not what Americans would mean by “farmer” but rather what eastern/central Europeans mean by “peasant”), raised 8 children (very well, I might add) and ended up in the States now being in her late eighties. It’s amazing how people like her manage to get through and over such amazing changes in lifestyle and circumstances. For us it’s easier, we have grown up in a world where we needed to adapt more frequently and we are just more easily getting used to larger travels, address changes and so on.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on May 22nd, 2007 at 7:27 AM PST:

>Why did she hate Lefkada?

Because the houses were in Italian/Corfu-style: looking old from the 17th Century some of them. While in UK and elsewhere living in an old house is considered cool and even normal, in mainland Greece if you don’t live in newer houses it’s considered living in a stable. It’s just a matter of perception, enforced by a Darwinian-style enstict that older houses can get easier damaged by an earthquake (earthquakes as you know are aplenty in Greece).

“Παλιόσπιτα”, she said.


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