A motorpool car picked me up bright and early this morning to take me to the Embassy for a security briefing. Doesn’t that sound so official? Really I just got a ride to attend a meeting. But let me tell ya, they don’t mess around. All of the windows in this vehicle were bullet-proof, and when we arrived I had to flash my diplomatic passport, then we had to wait in what amounted to a huge metal cage while they carefully inspected the car for bombs and whatnot. All the while baby Violet was just staring out the window wondering what all the fuss was about.
The briefing was informative. Apparently our house is equipped with sophisticated communication systems and alarms, all of which I probably shouldn’t detail here. In fact, I was advised not to disclose our exact location on social media in real time, so I may have to start getting a bit cagey on Facebook. Damn, and half the point of Facebook is bragging about where you are! Athens has protests daily, so I’ll be receiving an email every day about where those are so I can avoid them.
After the meeting I got to see James’ office, which was quite nice. Everyone was wearing suits and sophisticated business attire, which suits my hubby perfectly. (See what I did there? Eh?) Unlike his graphic-designer-turn-homemaker wife who used to wear slippers to her office. I think we’re well-suited to both of our chosen professions.
We had some delicious lunch in the cafeteria, and then (cue the Angel Choir), he took me down to the Commissary. For those not in the military or government sector, this is where we Americans can get those American items we’re in desperate need of. Like, say, if you have a picky seven-year-old who can’t live without Eggo waffles. It was a tiny little shopping area, but they had regular-sized shopping carts, so I loaded up on tons of goodies, all blessedly labelled in English. Another motorpool car took me home, and I just about filled the trunk.
Oh, and I also found out there’s a play date for kids under age five in February! Just what I was looking for, in addition to my favorite American brands. We met a couple of James’ colleagues in the lunch room who had been here awhile and said there were also a lot of seven-year-old boys at this post. I have a feeling we’ll be making fast friends. We got to talking about our new townhouse, and everyone was especially impressed about the neighborhood we’re in, which is called Chalandri (or Halandri, because why not have two different spellings?). We haven’t been able to do a lot of exploring yet, but there’s a wonderful shopping district and town square nearby, and a ton of great restaurants. The weather is supposed to warm up this week, so hopefully we can get out this weekend and check it out.
As I was driven back to Halandri through the maze of cars and motorbikes, we rounded a corner and suddenly there was this beautiful mountain right in front of us. What a gorgeous landscape! I can’t wait to see it in spring. Right now the trees are full of oranges and lemons. I asked the driver if people actually eat them, and he said they do, though they’re better for juicing. We have a ton in our neighborhood — I thought about picking one, except they’re all about eight feet in the air. Doh!
When Liam got home from school and saw all the waffles, little boxes of cereal, Nesquick, pancake mix, and Hi-C, he proclaimed that I’d get “four hugs and four kisses for this!” He was even ecstatic over canned green beans.
Despite the trunkful of groceries, I still didn’t have the means or wherewithal to cook anything. Once I get proper ingredients I’ll see about figuring out how to work the oven. In the meantime it was another night of takeout. This time, since we had internet access, we tried a website recommended by the Embassy for online ordering. You just type in your address and they match you with nearby restaurants in their system. You can order everything online, pay with credit card (in theory — we couldn’t get ours to work, perhaps because of the address change), and they’d deliver it to your door within the hour. It was actually closer to an hour, so I think tomorrow we’ll order earlier. Watch…all this money we’re saving on rent will go to takeout!