If I can't get my point across, or if I'm asked an unfamiliar question, a catalavenate aglika (do you understand English?) is met with a "yes," and the matter is resolved. A couple of days ago, at a new-found bakery in the back of our neighborhood, Pangrati, my abilities were put to the test as my catalavenate... was met with a then catalaveno---I do not understand English. This was the first such response I had gotten: you don't understand English? Excellent! (This is generally a good sign) But how am I supposed to figure out what is inside that delicious looking pastry? So I mumble and point and shrug my shoulders.
"Patata." (Educated guess: potato)
Okay, but in any food order there is one crucial question about which Ron and Dom are both familiar:
Ohi kreas? I ask. (No meat?)
Ohi, I hear, followed by words too fast to catch and some smiles. I think this woman is wondering why I wanted to try English to begin with. I hear cala which means good or well. I'll just pretend she said I speak Greek well. I pay, proudly, and walk off with my delicious (thavmasio) potato (patata) pie (pita).
Oh, and the most important Greek phrase I have learned so far: ena duplio espresso sketo, parakalo (one double espresso no sugar, please).