Ich trink Ouzo, was trinkst du so? – I drink ouzo, what do you drink?

It has been called “The book on the crisis” and “A love letter to Greece”.   The journalist Stella Bettermann has written a real “feel good” book.   Even the longer stories leave a nice taste in your mouth as the author describes her childhood summers with parents and brother every year in  Greece. The magic, the exotic and the violent collide in this unusual holiday she describes in “I drink ouzo, what do you drink? “. The result is a love letter to Greece, the Greek people, to the warmth of her grandmother and an impressive and unusual family that the reader will not quickly forget.

With a fine sense of humor Stella Bettermann tells of the adventurous three-day drive from Munich to Piraeus, dust and heat and the great reception that the lost daughter and her family receives annually on arrival.

The author evokes the scent of anise and cinnamon, the greeting kisses of aunts, uncles, cousins, the joy of his grandfather and the soft hands of the grandmother, the smell of basil.Grandmother and grandfather –  Yiayia and  Pappous – and her  cousin Anna are the most important people in the holiday world of the girl from Germany. The almost blind Yiayia Stella goes every day to the market to buy fruit and vegetables. With Pappous they visit the playground and learn that Greek girls are not allowed to get dirty and are always perfectly presentable. With cousin Anna Stella she has a real adventure, expedition, like those the hear of in the coffee house, the traditional domain of the males.

Stella BettermannAt this point an important warning: Do not read this book on an empty stomach, for the enjoyable and detailed description of the mountains of delicious food, prepared every night by the grandmother will have you reeling. Even Stella’s better ouzo warning will be forgotten by the next summer vacation in Greece: While you drink it, you don’t feel anything, but when you try to get up, your legs give in…

Sensitively and with great humor, the author also deals with the cultural differences between Greeks and Germans, which shape their everyday life and can lead to entertaining misunderstandings.  Greeks  overprotect their children well into their adulthood.  And the Germans? Who let their dogs make piles everywhere, even on the playground. And they do not wash dishes by hand but rinse them with a cloth – how unhygienic!  But they are neat and industrious, the Germans, and what a beautifully green country they have.    Stella’s uncle said Michalis impressive, what is his view typical Greek: “The Greeks have to say just nothing, not even the boss. Where there is no matter whether one is wealthy or influential. That makes no impression on them. The only think: Who are you on, you have me do nothing to command. That’s the problem with Greece – that every little clerk, the instructions of his boss in question. They say, however, Yes, Sir! ” and bow too. And the Germans say, I won ‘work hard and when the chief asked. That is why they have become rich countries. ”

www.luebbe.de ISBN 978-3-404-61666-4 / Publisher: BASTION LÜBBE

Click here for the song from the musical.

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