Every once in a while, I am reminded of just how small is this country that I currently call home. Such was the case as I listened to the news on the radio the other day: “In weather, nice throughout the country. Windy in the Aegean. In sports…”
I got a good chuckle as I tried to imagine a day in the US in which the weather forecast for the entire country was the same—from northern Maine to Miami to Oklahoma City to Seattle to San Diego, the same weather. Yes, Greece is a very small country, both in area and in population.
Americans in Europe are often struck by the very different sense of geographic space held by Europeans, in which distances that are modest by our standards seem vast to those on this side of the Atlantic. But this tendency is even more pronounced in little Greece, where the country’s two major cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, are separated by roughly the same distance that folks in Wyoming drive to go the Wal-Mart. Okay, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but you get the idea.
When we tell friends here that we liked our location in Raleigh, North Carolina, because it was only two or three hours from the beach, they give us a puzzled look. Everywhere in Greece is within two hours of some beach.
If Greece were a US state, with its 11 million people, it would rank just a bit above North Carolina and Georgia and just below Ohio in ranking by population size. It would be slightly larger than the metro area of my native Chicago, but smaller than the L.A.-Long Beach metro area.
Hard to believe that such a small country of 11 million inhabitants can be wreaking such havoc in the international financial structure these days, but that’s a story for another day…