Monday, October 26, 2015

Mail Call

I received this last week, and just barely stopped gasping in excitement. 

Oh, the simple joy of 165 candy bars
(and there's Bella, ever the buzzkill).
Phil's aunt and uncle sent me this Halloween package. We miss them a lot. We lived half an hour from them in Virginia, and they took care of us the whole time we were there. I totally wasn't expecting this package, but it's no surprise that they sent it to me. Thanks and love to both of you! This is so like you!  

It's hard to describe how utterly thrilling it is to receive a gigantic box of chocolate in the mail, but I'll try: It's like being a four year old kid and experiencing the best parts of every single holiday simultaneously, and you start yelling really loud, until the mature adult in your household reminds you that there are people living above and below you, so you have to tone it down, but it doesn't dampen your enthusiasm in the slightest, and eventually you consume twice your weight in sugar. 

Greek Fall-oween

It just occurred to me today that I haven't seen many leaves changing here yet. I wonder when that happens?

I wrote that first sentence a week ago. I still haven't seen many leaves changing, but I guess I've seen a few yellows here and there.

The temperature has started dipping a bit, but we're still Mediterranean. It's high 60s to 70s during the day, and low 60s to high 50s at night. Not bad for almost November.

A view from our walk last week.

We're very progressive here in Greece. So progressive, in fact, that we've already fallen back for the end of Daylight Savings. As of yesterday, we gained an hour. You Americans don't get to do that until this weekend. Nah nah.

Spending that extra hour on Harry Potter

This week is the Halloween party at Phil's work. I'm debating how gruesome to get with my costume. I'm assuming the local staff at the Embassy have a basic understanding of Halloween, especially if they're specifically cutting time out of their schedule for a Halloween party, I just don't want to freak them right out if I show up at the gate covered in blood. Maybe I'll change after I get there.

We're planning to host a couple Brits from our church on Friday evening. We warned them that we'd be celebrating an early Halloween with them. They had no idea what we were talking about. I can't wait to explain it to them. I figure I'll go with, "It's like Guy Fawkes night, but instead of celebrating a failed revolutionary, we celebrate candy and Satan." Maybe I'll make them carve a pumpkin. I'm totally going to make them carve a pumpkin. Oh, this is going to be hilarious. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mail Call

Oh, how I miss Halloween. Thank you so much to my aunt, for sending us this Halloween card. It's the only decoration I've put up so far this year. That sounds depressing, so I'll write something pleasant to balance it out.

When I was a kid, my aunt lived down the street from us. We used to go to her house, and gorge ourselves on fudgesicles. It was absolutely magnificent. When I was a little older, she moved to Virginia for a while to help a friend. During her time there, she consistently mailed us postcards and letters. She was my first pen pal, and I still have her mailings filed away in my collections.

Thank you for being a [pen] pal! I love you, and can't wait to see you soon.

After I take the Halloween decorations down, this is going into my permanent collection.

Mail Call

A very belated thank you to my fellow expat in Germany for the really nice postcard. He's been a great friend since high school, and is doing the expat thing in a very legitimate way, having accepted a position with a German company in May. He had to find his own housing, his own roommates, a post office...In other words, he's braver than I am. 

Then again, maybe they have better candy in Germany. Do they have better candy in Germany?

That's an actual German stamp from the actual German post office.

Still Alive in Athens

Lest you think we've died, we are all still here and kickin' it.

Phil's been traveling a bunch. He's been to Cyprus and Thessaloniki this month, and is planning to hit another island before Halloween.

Bella and I have been nesting, preparing for winter hibernation by loading up on food shipments from America. I don't know if this holds true for other places in Europe, but it is really hard to find good junk food in Greece. Snickers and Oreos are ubiquitous, but, man, try finding Sour Punch Straws or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, or anything close to the bagged candy you buy for trick or treaters, then end up eating yourself.

The cereal situation is really starting to bum me out, too. I love Chex. I love Cheerios. I love Kix. You truly cannot buy any of that crap here, unless you get lucky at the Exchange store in the American Embassy. I don't know what you do if you're an expat with a terrible craving and zero access to the Embassy. Make friends with someone who can get you the good stuff? Die? Probably the latter.

My mom came to visit us recently. It was wonderful to have her here. I loved being able to show everything off, and she was suitably impressed. She also did all the cooking, cleaning, and shopping while she was here, so that was cool, too.

We finally got our car. It took four months to get from our parking space in Virginia to our parking space in Greece. We were supposed to remove everything from the car before we shipped it, but we left the jumper cables, portable air compressor, and cassette adapter inside. They did not make it to Athens. We're not sure if they got [stolen] lost, or if they were [stolen] confiscated. Surprisingly, Phil's Metallica CD made it through all right, so I don't know what that tells us about the parties involved.

It was great to figure out how to ride public transportation, but it's even better to not have to ride it. Driving is a bit scary, mainly because motorcycles and scooters ride down the center of the lane, but in a way it doesn't seem that much worse than D.C. traffic. It helps that you can do more illegal maneuvers here; enforcement isn't nearly as big a thing.

The next major holiday in Greece is on the 28th of October. We asked our Greek friend at the Med Clinic to give us the details. She said it's OXI ("No") Day. Greece has had to say "no" to a lot of people. This time it was to the Italians. I have no idea what the day itself will be like, but I keep hoping that the country will get together and show up in a big costumed parade outside my house and be like, "Just Kidding! It's Greek Halloween! We actually do celebrate it!"

Overly optimistic, I think.

Still alive. Her tear stains are really nasty here in Greece.
Someone come groom her.

"Yo, get that camera out of my face, witch."