Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dog and People Doctors, Strawberries, Other Things

I feel like I've lived ten lives already this morning. It's been a long week, hasn't it? Maybe it's because I've had so many morning appointments. I'd forgotten what it's like to make plans with someone, and be ripped from a dead sleep by an alarm so you can meet them on time. Re-entering the working world, whenever that happens, is going to be a real trip.

Most of my appointments this week have been medical. I've been on a fairly-involuntary tour of the medical infrastructure in Athens since we moved here. The care has been really excellent, though I realize that I'm extremely fortunate to be able to access the private system. The public system is not bad, it just tends to be outdated, and takes longer to provide complete treatment to patients. Sometime, I want to go into more depth about the system I've experienced...but not today.

Anyway, most of this week's medical crap has been gestationally-related, or tangentially-gestationally-related. I don't think the dog has any clue of what's coming, but I do think she started to feel left out of the medical appointments. Yesterday, I noticed she was having problems with one of her eyes. It wasn't much better this morning, so we went to the vet. Our veterinarian here is completely fabulous, and so, so cheap. For $30, she examined Bella, applied some antibiotic eye goo, drew blood for testing, and sent us home with a prescription.

We're still not sure what the issue is. Bella, bless her, is such a neurotic, anxious creature, that by the time she was sitting (read: being restrained) on the exam table, both of her eyes were bulging out of her head, and her heartbeat was impossible for the vet to track. Have you ever pulled a hamster out of its wheel in the middle of the night and seen what those suckers look like when they're wired? They look like they're on uppers. That's what happens to Bella at the vet. So, I think her bulgy-eyed weirdo heartbeat prompted the vet to run some heart/liver/kidney tests with Bella's blood to rule out all the expensive, fatal disorders. I sound pretty cavalier about this, but believe me, if this turns out to be something horrible, you will all be put into a support network to pull me through my crisis, even if you're a complete stranger who just stumbled onto this page by accident. It's probably just an eye infection, though.

Now that I've whined, it's time for me to brag. Man, this blog is like a good, solid therapy session, and you're just stuck there with whatever I make you read. I guess you could stop and click on something else, but I'm sure I'm too captivating for you to do that. Here are a few photos from our early spring. I don't know if this is typical for this time of year, but everything is starting to bloom. This has been the shortest winter I've ever experienced in my life. I saw a million blossoms on my way to and from laiki this morning. I wish I'd had my camera then, but now I know for the next time I'm out. I took these photos an hour ago on our balconies.

The balcony plants are blooming! I've missed the flowers. 

The trees and bushes are started to leaf out again. Also, the afternoon mommy groups have returned. I'd forgotten all about that until I started seeing them last week. From about 5-7pm, the park is packed with screaming, playing children. They are very energetic. I'm tired just thinking about them.

Bella sunning herself. Ten points if you can guess which eye is the messed up one. She's squinting both because of the glorious sunlight. But, one of these eyes is not like the other. One of these eyes doesn't belong. Can you tell which eye is not like the other, by the time I finish my song? 

Between the time I wrote the caption for that last photo, and the time I wrote this sentence, I watched ten different "One of These Things" Sesame Street clips on YouTube. 

The weather today is so nice, I decided to set up the patio furniture again. I took it down when we went home in November, and didn't feel compelled to pull it out again until today. I want you to note two things about this photo. The first is that I'm wearing shorts. Greek people don't wear shorts. They don't wear shorts in the dead of summer, and they especially don't wear shorts in the dead of winter, regardless of how warm it is. I walked past several people with vests and heavy layered jackets today. Wearing shorts is a great way to identify yourself as an insane foreigner. The second thing I want you to notice is that the bowl on the table is filled with strawberries. Winter is strawberry season in Greece. I don't know how long it will last, but I do know from experience that it is painfully difficult to find strawberries between the months of June-late Novemberish. Even now that it's strawberry season, you really have to go to the laiki agora to find them. The major grocery store chains don't seem to stock them. If they do, they're expensive and not very good. Keep that in mind if you have a passionate love for strawberries, as I do.  Cheers to strawberry season.

There is something going on at the elementary school near us today. I don't know what it is. I saw a bunch of kids marching down the street chanting things. I can hear music from a distance, and every once in a while, the kids scream excitedly in unison. Maybe they're just teaching the kids how to demonstrate. I never went to a demonstration, or participated in a "hey, hey, ho, ho" chant until I moved to D.C. as an adult, but it's such a large part of Greek culture that maybe they teach it here from infancy. Nah, it's probably something more fun than that. I want to go.


  1. With every post, you make me bound and determined to drag my husband back there for a vacation. Those strawberries look great!

    1. They're delicious! I think produce must go through a different process here. It doesn't get the U.S. grocery store treatment. Well, I mean, especially not at the outdoor markets. The watermelon in the summer is fabulous.

  2. I am reading your blog in the middle of the night. When I lived in Brazil, we lived across the street from an elementary school where they were always chanting loudly in unison. I mentioned it to my brother, who was lives in Thailand, and he said he always heard loud chanting from the elementary school. So maybe Americans are the weird ones?

    1. I was like, "Who the **** is Lindsay?!" and then I got really excited. I fiercely miss you. Should we bring chanting to American elementary schools? I'm game.


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