Has it been a week? Really? Everything has been happening so fast, the time just flew by. And yet it feels like we’ve been here longer. Or I’m getting acclimated faster than I thought I would.
Today I had a flurry of visitors: the landlord, a plumber, a maintenance guy, a couple of people from the housing division, and a couple of contractors over to fix the shutters. I wasn’t aware that they needed fixing, and apparently they fixed them so well that they have to come over again tomorrow and fix them again. Or that’s what I surmised from 20 minutes of broken English and miming. The guys were super nice, but hardly knew any English at all, and I know just about zero Greek, so it was a bit comedic, really. At one point he was asking where the circuit breaker for the upstairs bedroom was. He took me all over the house pointing at various things on the wall and making scissors motions with his hands. Took me awhile to figure out, and then I couldn’t even answer his question. I just moved in, d’oh! But we figured it out.
He asked what Violet’s name was, and I could see him puzzling over the name. I always have trouble with foreign sounding names, and it never occurred to me that Violet would sound very foreign to someone from Greece. “V-eye-lit. Vee-eye-let.” I tried to tell him her name was a pretty purple flower, but that was a little too hard to grasp. True to form, he gave her a lot of attention.
Liam came home today raving about his Greek lesson. He told me he couldn’t remember much, only that the Greek letter for “L” is a “V”. But he’ll get there. I’m hoping he picks it up fast. I already need help talking to the locals! I’m hoping once things get more settled here I can pick up where I left off with my Greek language app. “White wine, please,” isn’t as handy a phrase to know as I thought it would be. I found white wine at the commissary all by myself, no Greek necessary!
Great. It seems they “fixed” the stove, too. Gas isn’t working. Sigh.
I haven’t had a whole lot of time to explore Athens, but I have noticed a few things:
- The sidewalks in our area are completely impossible for a stroller. Most of them are broken and narrow, and there are trees growing out of the center, leaving about a foot on either side for actual walking. The good news, though, is I think my back is getting used to carrying Violet in the Bjorn. We shipped two strollers, and I think at the very least we could use the umbrella stroller when we take trips in the car. I’m sure further afield we’ll find stroller-friendly areas.
- Traffic here is nuts. Aggressive drivers AND aggressive pedestrians. We nearly got run over by a motorbike crossing the street this morning. Normally when the traffic backs up it would be ok to cross between the cars. But the motorbikes zip down between the cars on all sides. I’m not even going to think about what driving is going to be like when our car gets here.
- Buildings, bridges, highways, light poles, just about anything reachable and seemingly unreachable is covered in graffiti. I was told by our embassy host that it’s mostly teenagers and not affiliated with gangs or violence. I think a lot of the messages are political. Which makes sense with the number of protests that go on here. And I guess cleaning it up is a low priority for the overburdened government.