Kickin it Old School

Last month, I got the feeling… The feeling that I should go to Greece to see my dad’s family. I hemmed and hawed, but when you get that feeling, it’s hard to ignore, and if there’s one thing that Uncle Carmie’s death taught me, it’s that you can’t wait. You have to go now. I waited to long to go to Nova Scotia, so when Carmie died before I got a chance to get back out there, I thought to myself “That’s it. You waited to long.” So I didn’t want to have that feeling again.

I got a last minute deal and off a went for two and half weeks in Greece. Seeing the peeps, spending time with the Silverbacks [as I affectionately call the people I see over there – I only saw three people in my family under the age of 40 – One of them is my new cousin, baby Maria, in the photo].

And I guess I went just in time. This blog was supposed to start out about what I did and how I brushed up on my Greek, but sadly, Uncle George passed away last week, and his wife, Marika, just the other day. What a shock. I know they were older, but I was still surprised. I mean, I just saw them. But it seems like that’s what you say whenever someone dies, as if you somehow just laying eyes on them recently should offer them some sort of supernatural protection.

So I’m definately glad I acted on my feeling and went to see them. Somehow I feel strangely better knowing that I saw them and they saw me and we spoke briefly [okay, really briefly since my greek is not so hot]. But it makes a difference.
Going to see my family in Greece is definately different from what most tourists experience. They aren’ t on the islands. We are from a small town in the north, in the mountains. I stay with my Thea [Aunt] Freida. She has a tv with antennas, and only gets 3 channels. She has a rotary phone. She doesn’t know who Harry Potter is, and had no idea if Veria [the town] even had an internet cafe. She makes everything from scratch, including her own pita and she somehow thinks I can learn it all by watching her once. I took notes, but they are sketchy at best. She doesn’t use measuring cups. She uses 1 teacup and a saucer to measure everything. when I asked her how hot her oven had to be, she said that the numbers were broken and it’s only On or Off. When I asked her how long it took to cook, she said, “Until it is finished.”
My days there are spent visiting friends of my Thea, or of my late father, or other relatives. We have greek coffee and some cake, or maybe a chocolate or two. We napped in the afternoons, and had dinner late. I ate only fresh food [no preservatives! me!] and walked everywhere. If push came to shove, Thea could kick my ass. She’s 72 and in better shape than I have ever been. Every morning she hikes it up the hill to the town to buy her groceries. On Tuesdays, she goes to the bazarre. She hates it when I carry her bags. She likes to show me off to her friends which I find amusing and embarrassing at the same time. She tells them all I speak Greek wonderfully, a GROSS exaggeration. She was VERY impressed that I knit. In fact, all my relatives were.
Thea prays every day for me to find a good husband who will take care of me so I don’t have to work [true story]. I think she hopes that since she taught me how to make cake, pita and cookies, this will somehow magically happen. Although she did tell me several times that if I found a man, and he turned out to be ‘bad’ I had to ditch him to the road. Her exact words were “If he is bad…. ROAD!” and then she would swipe her hand out like she was smacking someone. All her lady friends agreed wholeheartedly.
I had my teacup read several times, although my greek was not so great, so I didn’t get all the details, but I was assured that my future looks very good. Shamefully, I hardly paid for anything. All of my relatives bought me something. I had barely to glance at something in the window, and someone was at the till purchasing it for me, despite my protestations and my flashing of a Mastercard. Shoes, dresses, rings…. I felt really bad until I talked to Doxa about it [my greek aunt who lives in Canada] and she reminded me that they just want to show me how happy they are I came. That gave me a nice warm fuzzy.
I’m still sad that George and Marika are gone, but when I think of them in my head, I can see how happy they were, and how they just lit up when I arrived to see them last month. Which is just another reminder, if you get the feeling, you have to go.

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