I met Amalia at the Thessaloniki Pythess (Python) meetup (at which I gave one awkward english presentation) which had migrated to a lounge under the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. I thought the museum looked pretty cool, so I decided I would go the next day. I propositioned the group to see if anyone else was interested in joining me, Amalia was the only one brave enough to to say so.
We spent a few good hours at the museum and various other historical points of interest around the city. While walking down some buzzing, narrow street Amalia told me a great story about how it is that Greeks came to find themselves in Greece:
After God had created the earth, he told the people that he would be at his office the next day from 7am to 5pm and that they should come by so He could assign a place for them to live. The next morning God came to his office to unlock the door and found the English already waiting for him.
God said to the English: “Since you are so early, I am giving you the best pick of land. It is a large island and you can do with it what you please.”
After God made the final arrangements he escorted the English out of his office and there He found the Germans, right on time.
To the Germans He said: “Since you are first in line, I am giving you a large piece of land. There you will have plenty of space for your industry and farming.”
And so God spent the rest of the day allocating land to the people of the earth. At last 5pm rolled around, and as God was locking his office door the Gypsies arrived.
To God they pleaded: “Please God, give us some land. You won’t believe what happened on the way here. The bus was late, Mother was sick, and there were all sorts of complications. Please, have pity on us.”
God replied to Gypsies: “I have given away all the land. I am sorry you are late but there is nothing I can do for you. From now on you will be the children of the earth. You will not have a land to call home but you will be of the world.”
Satisfied with this answer the Gypsies left God in peace. As God began his walk home, he was approached by the Greeks:
“God, wait! We are here for our land! We are sorry we are late but it’s not our fault!”
God, annoyed, replied: “I am sorry, I have given away all the land, there is none left for you.”
The Greeks would have none of it:
“But please! All these things kept us from being on time. We wanted to come earlier, but we were hungry, so we had to stop to get something to eat. And then one of the sheep got away so we had to bring it back, not to mention all the traffic!”
God, now getting angry, replied: “I am sorry. But you are late and there is nothing I can do for you. You will have no land.”
The Greeks continued, loudly, franticly gesturing with their hands: “But PLEASE! We have these pains, it keeps us from getting up early in the morning. Oh! And this weather! We could barely walk in this wind, how were we supposed to get here on time? Not to mention we wanted to do the laundry, so we could have clean clothes and–”
“Fine!” God exclaimed, exasperated but defeated. “There is one piece of land left, it is the best land in all the world and I was saving it for myself. But I will give it to you if you would please just SHUT UP!”
And so the Greeks were given the land of Greece.