Being direct is considered a pretty good personality trait. That is an international fact. Greeks however, we take being direct to a whole new level. We ask questions others would consider prying, indiscreet or downright rude. Greeks want to know, gossip, comment, help or dish. Human relations go way further than the internationally understood level of polite interaction.
When a friend or and an aquaintance goes to hospital, the considerate North American may send a Get Well card. A phonecall could be perceived as too personal at a time that a person would normally crave privacy and isolation. Any normal person that is. A Greek person, however, would be concerned if everyone he/she, her/his family and their aquaintances know don’t march into hospital, lively, loud and all dressed up as if it were a 4th of July parade in central NY.
They will all be wearing their biggest smiles, carrying sweets or tyropitakia their aunt Litsa made and will proceed to outline every other hospital visit complete with the condition of the patient, the outcome and the amount of visitors that other patient had. Talking insessantly appears to be the attitude of choice and all those herds of people visiting the poor patient (who could coincidentally only be there for a mild one-day-deal nose job or 3 stitches after a kitchen accident) will defend their right to disregard visiting hours, silence, cell phone and non-smoking signs with such conviction that would put any General that ever fought any war to shame.
Expressing concern is nice. Warm. Kind. Even touching. But it is also a step too far. Intimidating. Overbearring. Over the limit.Whatever the choice we make when faced with the question on whether to keep it Greek or americanise it all a bit, the grass will always be greener on the other side. An outsider will always notice the difference and wonder, who’s right on this.