When I left campus, I decided I wanted to take a taxi back to my apartment. I asked my RA how to say the address and then I was off!
I was very timid when I entered the taxi. It was only me and I did not want to pronounce the address wrong. He asked me the address and I did my best. He turned to me very surprised and asked if I spoke Greek. He was not the only one surprised at that moment.
He started to drive and I asked him how his day was. It was a full conversation the rest of the way! I learned that he did not want to be a taxi driver, but a farmer with cows. He also shared that he was 40 years old so that dream may have died. Then we discussed what I wanted to do after college.
After a while, we started discussing Greek culture especially the language. Before I knew it, he was giving me a crash course in Greek. He taught me how to communicate with taxi drivers who do not speak a word of English. I also learned how to give directions (right and left) and to always put street names before numbers.
But there was something else he taught me. To embrace the conversation and listen to every word closely. After he would teach me a word or phrase, he would look at my face to see if I comprehended what he said. If he knew I was struggling he would always say, “Just ask me!” There were a couple of pauses in the conversation where I could sense the disconnect but then we just continued the conversation.
No, I do not know his name but I would know his taxi anywhere. I hope his dream does come true, but if it doesn’t, he is a great taxi driver. Now there is a whole new meaning to “buckle up” and the continuation to that is “and get ready to learn!”
Tia Dacquisto is an international relations major at the University of Iowa. She will be spending the academic year in northern Greece at the American College of Thessaloniki.
Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.