26 February 2007

Our House

Our house in the middle of the street, Our house at night with the rocks lit-up from behind!
The two story building in the middle there, this is a picture taken at the top of one of the rocks and the Monastery Trinity.  The first floor has become my "hobby" room, it is surrounded on 3 sides by the rocks and does not go as far back as the second floor (only about half way).  We live on the upper floor, it is small but cosy, living room, kitchen, bathroom and 2 bedrooms.

Greek Style McDonalds

The Greek version of McDonalds and just as gross. I do not suggest eating here, they don't even give you free refills on the sodas. Look at Arthurs face, he doesn't even look like he is enjoying it, does he?

14 February 2007

My first Greek Wedding

Arthur and I were invited to a Traditional Greek wedding by the square butchers mother, her daughter married a man from Thessaloniki where she went to college. This photo was taken with Arthurs cousin Kostas and his wife Maria (who is expecting in a month), at the reception. Unfortunately the other photos didn't turn out so well, the hall was kind of dark.
The wedding started with the groom waiting outside of the church (along with the guest) for the bride to show up. When the bride shows up he hands her the flowers and they go into the church together. There is only one person as a maid of honor (koobara,κουμπαρα) or a best man (koοbaros,κουμπαρος) and this person will also be the first child's godparent. The priest does all of the speaking, there are no words exchanged between the bride and groom, just the fact that they are there means they want to be married. Everything is done in trinity (three times) the rings are blessed 3 times, the couple drink from the cup 3 times, the crowns are passed between them 3 times and then the couple walks around the alter 3 times while the congregation throws rice at them. All of this is done in Greek, I have asked Arthur if it is possible to have a translator at our wedding and we will look into that as it gets closer to our wedding date.
The reception was about 10 miles out of town at a restaurant in a small town called Mikani. We sat down with Arthurs cousins and had a small plate of appetizers while waiting for the wedding couple. When they arrived I kept telling Arthur they were doing everything backwards compared to our American standards of wedding receptions. The first thing the couple did as they walked in was cut the cake, then they did the couple dance (as we were served dinner), then the family got up to dance with the couple, then the groom did the money dance and then the bride did the money dance. All of the dancing was to Greek music and Greek style dancing, about an hour later the couple and the family finally sat down to eat their dinner. I told Arthur the first thing we are doing when we come in from the church is to sit down and eat our dinner with the rest of the guest, because I know I will be famished. There were about 350 guest at this wedding and only the older people were dancing because of the type of music, so we will also be playing both American and Greek music at our wedding.

01 February 2007

Sunday Ladies Visit

On Sunday we saw an insurgence of Greek ladies in our cozy living room, we barely had enough chairs.
From left to Right:
Aunt Rina, cousins daughter, Aunt Maria(fathers sister and mother of 1st cousins Helene and Kostas), Mara, Maria (married to Arthurs 1st cousin Kostas), Aunt Soula, Aunt Boula, 1st Cousin Helene, her son, Arthur's Mum (Katerina).
They brought cakes (lots of cakes) and flowers. I served them drinks on a tray and cakes on a dish. Helene can speak a little English otherwise it was a whole bunch of women talking Greek. The Aunts are all very lovely with big smiles and larger than life hand gestures. I could even understand them a little with all of the gesturing. It was a little overwhelming, but I persevered and made it through our first family get together.

Pertouli Περτουλι

Greek ski slopes of Pertouli
Arthur and I went on a little trip up to the local ski resort of Pertouli, very popular with the rich and famous Greek citizens. We didn't see anyone famous on this trip, maybe next time. The drive was beautiful the roads clear and the sun warm. We stopped in Arthur's grandfathers village and ran into one of his fathers cousins and his son (Arthur's second cousin) they are the owners of the fine goats you see pictured above. Arthur's 2nd cousin invited us to his mothers house and we enjoyed some refreshments and baklava (my first since moving to Greece).
We then continued our journey to Pertouli and stopped for lunch there. I had the Cock in Wine Sauce, Arthur's meal tasted better so I traded with him. It was a great trip another place for you to visit when you come.

Coffee Break Under the Acropolis

Arthur and I went to Athens to go to the American Embassy for the Affidavit of Marriage (stating that I had never been married before). We drove down (about 5 hours) on a Wed. we first went to the IKEA. I found a table for our front entryway, but we need way more furniture. So we continue with what Arthur has dubbed "Shopping Therapy", I did find some hangers at a reasonable rate, you would be surprised at how much they charge people here for them.
After shopping we went to Rafina to meet Arthur's friend Frank and his girlfriend Maria (by the way when you come for the wedding 50% of the female guest will be named Maria). Maria cooked a wonderful steak dinner with mashed potatoes that was absolutely delicious after traveling all day. After visiting for a while and chatting with both of them ( they both speak English) we then went into a subdivision of Athens to stay at Arthur's Uncles. His Uncles name is Lambros, Aunt Eokaasti, cousins Kristos and Fotini, his uncle really insisted that we sleep in his bedroom. I think we discussed it for about an hour and finally convinced them that we would be fine on the pull out couch.
The next day we went to the Embassy to get my paper and then we walked around from Syntagma Square to Monastraki Square. Arthur took me to a book store and we bought two Greek/English books to help me learn Greek (one is a picture book, it's my favorite). I took Arthur to the place I ate at on my stay in Athens, "Savvas" in Monastraki, Gyros for 1.60euro. Arthur said they were some of the best ones he has ever eaten, pretty cool. We then enjoyed a refreshing beverage under the Acropolis before heading back to Kalampaka.

My first massage client

Rachel from Texas was my first massage client yesterday afternoon. It was Rachels first massage, she hiked up to the monasteries the day before and felt like she needed a massage. She was traveling with her boyfriend (Adam) since September and Adams brother (Elliott) joined them about a month ago, the three of them stayed for 3 nights and the boys ate alot of FOOD and stated it was the best Pork Chops they had ever had, coming from some Texas boys I find that very flattering. Arthur and I played cards with them late into the night and generally had a great time talking. The two nights before we also had some other Americans staying here, two are students at a school in Cairo (one from Penn. and the other from Alaska) the other guest is from Penn. also she is going to school in Scotland.