Never let a snap lockdown go to waste.

I have used Melbourne’s Lockdown III to learn more about what my 87-year-old Greek mother thinks about life.

I was visiting my parents in Oakleigh, last Friday 12 February, when Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, declared a snap five-day, stage-four lockdown for the entire state, effective from midnight.

I decided to ride out the short lockdown at their house. I did the same during the first lockdown in April, last year.

My father is convalescing, so I have spent most of the time observing, talking and listening to my Greek-speaking mother.

Below is a list of my mother, Panagiota’s, views on life. They have been translated into English with the original Greek words underneath.

1.On why she cries for no reason.

“What? Why shouldn’t I cry?” – “Μπα; Γιατί να μην κλάψω;”

2.When a priest is buried.

“They will call his wife and they will ask her: ‘Will you remarry or not?’
“If she says ‘yes’ they will bury him laying down.
“If she says ‘no’ they will bury him sitting down.”
“Θα καλέσουν την γυναίκα του και θα την ρωτήσουν: ‘Θα ξαναπαντρευτης η οχι;’
“Αν πει ‘ναι’ θα τον θάψουν ξαπλωτό. Αν Θα πει ‘οχι’ θα τον θάψουν καθιστό.”

3.On whether the child who does the most for their aging parents is being stupid or smart.

“It’s intelligence. It’s not being taken advantage of. Not just anyone can look after their parents.”
“Eξυπνάδα είναι. Δεν είναι κορόιδο. Ο καθένας δεν μπορεί να το κάνει.”

4.On the lack of inner-city parking.

“What do you expect? They turned everything into apartments.”
“Αφού τα έκαναv όλα διαμέρισματα.”

READ MORE: Top 10 Greek sayings that do not make sense in English

5. On why she’s not more active.

“What do you want me to do? Do you want me to dance?
“What do you want me to do? Do you want me to bring the house down?”
“Τι θέλεις να κάνω; Να χορεύω;”
“Τι θέλεις να κάνω; Τα ταβάνια να κατεβάζω.”

6. On her migrating to Australia with her husband and three children aged four, seven and 10 years old, in 1971.

“I haven’t regretted it. It was hard in Greece raising three children.
“Your father worked, but wasn’t getting paid.
“Australia has everything. The only thing it doesn’t have is one’s mother and father.”
“Δεν το μετάνιωσα. Δυστυχούσαμαι στην Ελλάδα με τρία παιδιά.
“Ο πατέρας σου δούλευε αλλά δεν τον πλήρωναν.
“Aπο όλα έχει η Αυστραλία. Μόνο μάνα και πατέρα δεν έχει.”

7. On my feeling like the gypsies in Greece as I move between residences during every lockdown.

“But the gypsies now have homes.”
“Και οι τσιγγάνοι έχουν σπίτια τώρα.”

READ MORE: The Greeklish Project

8. When she is told a meal is being served.

“What should I eat? When I wanted to eat (during the Axis invasion of Greece) in 1941 I didn’t have food.
“Now it’s useless. I can’t eat this, I don’ t want to eat that.”
“Τι να φάω; Όταν ηθελα φαγητό το ’41 δεν είχα. Τωρα όλα είναι άχρηστα. Το ένα δεν μπορώ να φάω, το άλλο δεν θέλω.”

9. On why she eats less, but still doesn’t lose weight.

“God wants me to have weight on me when I go to heaven.”
“Mε θέλει βαριά να είμαι όταν πάω εκεί πανω.”

10. On the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Business. What is it if it’s not about business? It’ s about business.
“The government is making money from it. The banks are lending money.”
“‘Μπίζνες’. Τι είναι και δεν είναι ‘μπιζνες’;’ ‘Μπίζνες’. ‘Μπίζνες’ κάνει το κράτος. Δίνουν λεφτά και οι τράπεζες.”

Do your parents have great sayings or advice on life and the pandemic? E-mail us at and share their words of wisdom.