Are you ready to be subjected to a very long recap of my holiday in
Highlights and Lowlights:
- Olympic Airways is ALWAYS late. Always.
- Greek people applaud when the airplane has landed safely. Do other people do this too?
- The view from our hotel room in
(the room was necessary because my flight got in super late that night) was a-freaking-mazing. Athens
Fuzzy photo of the acropolis at night
Acropolis in the morning
- This is
, our rockin’ rental car. Leon
- I witnessed my father repeatedly stealing fruit from random people’s fields while my sister was forced to drive the getaway car. We’ve been groomed for a life of petty theft from a young age.
- My dad and his younger brother are spitting images of each other – they even have matching pregnant stomachs too. Disturbing.
- Speaking of pregnant stomachs, I may have to rethink ever getting knocked up. My cousins keep spitting out twins at an alarming rate and twins run in my mom's family too. Either Z or I are going to end up with a 2 for 1 deal, I just know it.
- Donkeys still abound in
. Hooray! Greece
This girl was so nice, she even turned the donkey around so I could get a better picture.
- I found out that my uncle (dad's look-alike) still fishes without a fishing pole. Instead he brings explosives he gets from his gravel company and ‘fishes’ in the manner of Crocodile Dundee. More bang for the buck, I guess.
- My sister dubbed my beach attire as ‘
’ style. I reciprocated, referring to hers as ‘ Monaco ’. Both names were appropriate. No, I’m not showing a picture of us. Deal with it. South Beach
- One of my cousins, god bless her, has managed to cultivate a personal style only drag queens would envy. Her nickname in the town is ‘the girl who wears no clothes’. Yeah.
- I got in two runs, both along the beach on Euboea (pronounced Evia). Very picturesque, but also unbelievably hot. There were a few runners out during my morning run, so I didn’t feel like a total spectacle, though I did get a few odd looks during my afternoon run.
- Z and I both managed to lose a toenail while in
. Mine was running related and a long time in coming. Hers was just a freakish accident. And no, it had nothing to do with me running over her foot with the car, I swear. Greece
- I kept forgetting not to flush toilet paper down the toilet. (You’re supposed to put it in the trash bin. Gross, I know).
- We saw some sea life during the ferryboat trips.
This was my first time seeing dolphins!
- Trying to have a conversation about people in my family is an exercise in frustration, because of the Greek naming convention. In a nutshell, the first male and female children are named after the father’s parents and the second ones after the mother’s. After that, it’s dealer’s choice. You can see how this would make it difficult to try to discuss what cousin George has been up to when there are multiple cousin Georges in the family. I often feel the urge to tear my hair out when people start talking about a relative and I have no freaking clue which one they’re referring to. [Editor’s note: Not that it matters, but my parents defied tradition with me because my dad said no one in
would be able to pronounce my maternal grandmother’s name. Instead I was named after his father. I thank him for that every single day.] Greece
- My yiayia (Greek for grandmother) is still a spitfire. She ’s recovering from gallbladder surgery, but she’s as strong as ever. She lamented the fact that Z, me and one of our female cousins are still unmarried (I get that from my American grandmother too—I can’t win) and that I am still in school, but otherwise she was just pleased as punch that we were there. She was praising us to the skies, saying we were the best and then all of a sudden she turned and spit on my three times in quick succession. It’s a Greek thing to do when you don’t want to tempt fate and bring bad luck on someone. If you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Z and I were a bit startled because it’s the first time we’ve ever experienced it in real life. Z was jealous of me. I felt special.
- Lots of yummy Greek food was consumed. My aunts are kick-ass cooks and even my dad and uncle showed off their culinary skills. [Editor’s note: Sexism still runs rampant in
. Z and I ended up washing my father’s clothes and cleaning up after all the meals when we stayed at my uncle’s place. The only reason we weren't expected to cook for them was because technically we were guests.] Greece
Moussaka (no, not moose kaka). I love this stuff. It's like crack to me.
My dad grilled the chicken and potatoes while my uncle prepared everything else. Super good meal.
Baklava anyone? (Okay, I'm cheating. This is from a bakery, but it still tasted really good.)
- My cousin drove us in her big-ass SUV from her dad’s house to the center of town. All four blocks of it. Then she proceeded to complain about not finding a parking space. Unbelievable, yet true.
- My aunt’s husband is a Greek Orthodox priest. Priests are allowed to marry, it just prevents them from rising up in the church hierarchy. He wears the robe and hat like this. It’s kinda cool actually. Most people in the family call him Papa D-, but I can get away with referring to him as just theo (Greek for uncle).
- My uncle E’s garden kicks ass. He’s one of the most productive retired people I know.
Grapes. My uncle makes his own wine with them.
- I finally got to spend some quality time with my dad. We went for a walk early one morning, just the two of us, and chatted about things while meandering along the beach. We haven’t shared a moment like that in years, so it was pretty special to me.
- As of last week, I had thought I was the only member of my family (either branch) to ever attend graduate school. I was actually the second to ever attend university at all, with Z being the first. On Thursday, I met two distant cousins (the children of my dad’s first cousin—what does that make our relationship?) who are doctors. The kind who help people as opposed to the kind I will be when I finish my degree. It was pretty cool.
- Z and I drove to see the archaeological remains near the ancient site of
(the location of the battle featured in the movie 300). We spent an hour driving up dozens of narrow roads on this mountain and found jack-all. Finally we came across a herd of goats and asked their human overseer where the site was. He helpfully said, ‘it’s down the mountain.’ Thanks. We never did end up finding the ruins. Thermopylae
Herd of ornery goats. To be fair, we were intruding on their territory.
View as we were coming down the mountain. Those are all olive trees.
Now I leave you with this video I took while Z and I were driving from
One final thing before I go: 11 days till my first half marathon!!! Nerves are starting to set in, but I don’t know why since I’ve already proven to myself that I can run the distance. I’m pathetic.