Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                                APRIL 2012  

                                 GREEK LAVASTORIES        

Many years ago, when we decided to uproot from England and taste real life on the island, the most traumatic cultural adaption our children had to face was that of the lavatory. Having come from a country where a toilet was referred to as a throne, a place to contemplate whilst performing the most basic physiological function, where pipes and water rendered excreted material invisible by whisking it away on an invisible journey to the sewage plant, its final destination , this whole process was pretty much taken for granted.

Contrast this to the lavatory at school in Aegina. No enamel sitting place to escape the tedium of lessons, or to share a secret with friends in the privacy of the cubicle…just an enamel tray with foot positions either side, a place which tapers threateningly towards a large black hole, a cavity you would definitely NOT want to explore and would never wish to meet..

Our children avoided having to visit this place and would wistfully wish that they’d be permitted to use the teacher’s toilet, a civilized construction, a conventional toilet.

Soon after our arrival to Aegina, I was told that I was to be a member of the parent’s council and would have some input regarding school expenditure and decisions.  As a fund raising idea, I suggested we have a series of sales to raise money to finance the building of a ‘proper’ toilet for the children; one on which they could sit and not fear falling into. To my amazement, my idea was unanimously dismissed by the majority of parents who believed that a conventional toilet would be dirtier as there would be no one to clean it and therefore they believed it would be a source of dirt and infection.

I remember the time when we spent many scorching hot summer days looking for an apartment in Piraeus to rent, a place to use as a base for access to foreign schools and to camp in after a flight that would land too late to permit the transfer to the last ferry boat to Aegina. Each apartment, whether new or old had something missing..the toilet seat!  After viewing at least 10, I had to ask one of the owners why the toilet seats were absent. Was it because people were generally careless with them or were they made of delicate material? “Madam, it is obvious. Toilet seats are disgusting objects that are caked with colonies of bacteria and have to be replaced each time a tenant leaves”.

My daughter and her classmates were told in their biology lesson at school to be very careful when going to the toilet in public places. Not only could they catch a disease but girls, the teacher warned, could also become pregnant. Having studied microbiology as part of my education, I was beginning to believe that I had been denied a whole section on toiletology and how the seat is a major vector of disease. Nevertheless, I refuse to believe that anyone can get pregnant from sitting on a toilet seat and suggested to my daughter that perhaps her biology teacher had possibly learnt biology from her grandma and hadn’t actually attended university

Closer to home,   I remember when family friends first visited, I reminded them ‘not to throw their tissue paper down the toilet, to just chuck it into the waste paper bin next to the toilet. “Oh yes, grinned my friend’s husband,….then what? “Well, when it is full, you just tie it up and hang it outside on the fence”.

“You are joking aren’t you?”  he asked, laughing nervously.” No, it is the absolute truth.” I replied.

For several days after he was waiting for me to explode into laughter and chide him for having been so gullible but no such moment arose

………………………………………………………………………………..

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2012

 

DID YOU KNOW?........

 

By Mary Bellis, About.com Guide

 

Timeline of Toilets

  • King Minos of Crete had the first flushing water closet recorded in history and that was over 2800 years ago.

  • A toilet was discovered in the tomb of a Chinese king of the Western Han Dynasty that dates back to 206 BC to 24 AD.

  • The ancient Romans had a system of sewers. They built simple outhouses or latrines directly over the running waters of the sewers that poured into the Tiber River

  • Chamber pots were used during the middle ages. A chamber pot is a special metal or ceramic bowl that you used and then tossed the contents out (often out the window).

  • In 1596, a flush toilet was invented and built for Queen Elizabeth I by her Godson, Sir John Harrington.

  • The first patent for the flushing toilet was issued to Alexander Cummings in 1775.

  • During the 1800s, people realized that poor sanitary conditions caused diseases. Having toilets and sewer systems that could control human waste became a priority to lawmakers, medical experts, inventors, and the general public.

  • In 1829, the Tremont Hotel of Boston became the first hotel to have indoor plumbing, and had eight water closets built by Isaiah Rogers. Until 1840, indoor plumbing could be found only in the homes of the rich and the better hotels.

  • Beginning in 1910, toilet designs started changing away from the elevated water tank into the modern toilet with a close tank and bowl.

 



 

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