Monday, 29 May 2006

Just call me Mrs...

Monday, 29 May 2006
So it's all over. I'm a married woman and Lia is a Christened baby.

It actually went pretty much perfectly which shouldn't be as much of a shock as it is.

The worst thing about it all is the heat. We picked May because we knew it would be warm enough that people could have a nice holiday but cool enough that nobody would faint with the heat. However, what we didn't plan was Athens to have its warmest May for three million years...

It's been between 35 and 38 degrees over here for most of our visit which may sound like bliss to some of you but it's not that much fun when you're dressed up posh for weddings and christenings. Trust me.

So Saturday was the wedding. It was scheduled for Midday in a church that is two mins walk from my in-laws apartment but we still went by car so I wasn't dripping with sweat when I arrived. All of my 22 guests made it (it's in the middle of a residential area of Athens and several of the taxi drivers got a bit lost but they'd all left plenty of time so just enjoyed a bit of extra sight seeing).

Nobody really seemed to know what was going on and we all hung around a bit before the Priests made an appearance at which point it all got a bit surreal (for me at least). There were two Priests and a bloke whose job was to do the chanting. I have no idea what was said but we stood there looking respectful and, in my case, trying not to laugh. There was then lots of blessings of us, the rings, the Stephana etc and much kissing of the big ornate bible.

The main highlights of the service are that the best man puts the rings on our fingers and swaps them over three times before they’re ‘set’. BTW, in Greece you get them on your right hand, not your left so I’m pretty sure that I can get out of the marriage on a technicality if I need to! Then we have these halo type things on our heads called Stephana that are tied together. These are blessed and then the best man has to swap them over three times before we, him and the Priest walk round the altar three times with us wearing them so we’re symbolically tied together.

At this point (the walking round) the congregation throw rice at you. To give you an idea how much rice, I had enough basmati in my underwear to make a risotto. We then, for some bizarre reason, had to bow forward while the Priest rested an incredibly heavy book on our heads (none of the Greeks had ever seen that either so I figure it was special just for the English girl)

Finally we had to drink three sips of red wine each. This was the worst part for me (the book on the head a close second) as I don’t drink and whilst DH told me just to pretend the Priest was very enthusiastic and if I hadn’t opened my mouth red wine would have been down my white blouse.

The best bit was that at one point the bride has to stamp on the foot of the groom to show that she's still her own person, not just his wife.

And that was it, we were married!

The Taverna where we ate was five mins walk away (back past the apartment) so we all wandered down as we were past caring on the sweating stakes. DH and I had picked the taverna much to the disappointment of MIL as she really didn’t want us eating there (DH’s Grandmother went home rather than eat there!) However, they did us proud and the food was amazing – so good that MIL was forced to admit that she was wrong which was a highlight of the day.

Everyone had a blast and there was way too much food and drink. Brief speeches were made by DH and I thanking everyone for coming and it was all over. People wandered off around 5.30pm and we went home for a while.

Not for long though as we just needed to get Lia asleep and we were out again meeting three English and three Greek friends for drinks, kebabs and icecream. We finally staggered home at 1.15am which wouldn’t have been so bad if Lia hadn’t woken at 5.50am. Thankfully Grandmother was on hand to give her breakfast so we got a bit more kip.

So that was the Big Fat Greek Wedding. Apart from it being in a Church it was pretty much exactly what I wanted which is great. My next update will cover the Christening - the highlights of which were the red and white cake and me leading all the English (and some of the braver Greeks) in a ‘Show Me the Way to Amarillo’ congo round the reception hall…

Here's some pics. Please excuse my sweaty hair, it looked gorgeous before I was stood in the church for an hour, honest!

The Groom

The Priests

The Rings

The Stephana

The Stephana Again

Us and the Best Man

The Candles (admire them they cost 150 Euros...). That's my famous MIL and the mad woman just caught in the left of the photo is my Mother

Bride, Groom and sleeping Baby...

A Cute pic of Lia from the Reception (with DH's Uncle and Aunt)

Tuesday, 16 May 2006

101 Update

Tuesday, 16 May 2006
I'm feeling a bit better today and a bit more able to face the world which is a good thing and I want to say thanks for your kind comments to my last post.

So, my 101 update for May. A bit late but I'm sure you forgive me.

3. Lose 50lbs - I lost 3lb but have put 1lb back on. Still that's a loss of 2lb which is a start

5. Write a letter to a friend once a month. First and second letter sent.

11. Have my hair dyed professionally. Doing this tomorrow!

14. Have my bra size professionally measured. Yep!

19. Get a birthday book and not forget anyone's birthday for a year. Well I've got the book and I'm doing okay so far...

20. Tell someone I love them at least once a day. Okay so it's mainly either DF or Lia but I'm easily managing this one

27. Read 50 books. I'm halfway through the first one.

40. Decrease my cross stitch projects by at least 20. 1 down

60. Visit Scotland. I did go in April but as it wasn't a holiday I think I'll leave this one as still to be done.

69. Go for a half an hour walk at least three times a week. This started well but with everything going on over the last few weeks I've not been as good as I can be.

70. Have a foot spa twice a month. Yep.

85. Clear out my wardrobe and donate old stuff to charity. Made a good start

86. Tidy the house once a week. Managing this so far

87. Throw at least one item of junk out a week (or donate it to charity). This is my biggest success. 84 books went to charity, loads of old clothes have gone and we got £60 at a bootfair last weekend selling LOADS of junk.

90. Replace the dining room chairs. Done with some wedding money

92. Recycle more. Yep

93. Clean up the back garden. We've made a start

It's actually much better than I thought. I do need to start keeping a diary though so I can make sure I do the 'once and week' and 'once a month' tasks as it's easy to lose track.

Monday, 15 May 2006

Life's not supposed to be this hard...

Monday, 15 May 2006
Why are things that should be simple difficult?

Why does life suddenly swerve off on a course that you don't expect and aren't ready for?

Why do other people seem to exist just to make things harder for me?


Those that know me know I'm not one for a pity party and normally I can take life's blows on the chin but this last couple of weeks have been tough.

Firstly DF and I had a huge barney because his Mother called to say that she's found a Priest that will marry us if I can prove I'm a Christian. I said what about the civil ceremony that we'd been planning. He said there's no time to get it organised.

For seven and a half bloody months I've been told there's plenty of time and now I'm being told there's no time. How exactly does that work?

Okay, so, that aside, how do I prove I'm a Christian? Apparently Greeks have a Certificate of Baptism that proves it. Well that's great, I was Christened Church of Scotland and all I have is a hand written note across the bottom of my Birth Certificate giving the date of my baptism. Is that good enough? No.

Right, digging around I've found a certificate saying I was enrolled in a Sunday School. It's got Church of Scotland written across in big letters. Will that do? No.

We then had a prolonged 'discussion' about how walking into any Church in England wasn't likely to get us any answers because it's not a Church in Scotland. Oh and no, I can't phone the Church in Scotland where I was Christened because it doesn't actually exist anymore.

Eventually my Mother (after several calls from me and in what I see as a desperate act to ensure that her daughter finally ties the knot and legitemises her Grandchild) called the Minister of the Church in Scotland that now holds the records from the Church where I was baptised.

The conversation was as follows:

Mum: Hi, my daughter needs to prove she's a Christian. Can you check your records and write a letter saying she was Christened.

Minister: Sure

Mum: Can that letter be on headed Church paper so it looks really official?

Minister: No problems

Mum: Can you do it tomorrow as she's getting married in two weeks...

And the nice man did just that so I'm now the proud owner of a piece of paper proclaiming that I'm a Christian. Which is more than ironic as 1) I've never been to a Church Service in my life (except the aforementioned christening which I don't remember) and 2) I don't believe in God.

I also don't want a Church wedding for the two reasons above as I believe it to be hypocritical. However with 22 guests flying in from all points of the compass I have to go with what is 'the only way' to guarantee us getting married when everyone is in Greece.

Others have suggested that maybe we've been manouvered into a Church wedding because that's what DF's parents are most comfortable with. I can't say that the thought didn't occur to me but I also can't ever prove if it's really the case.

So that over with, I then this weekend get knocked sideways by a phone call to tell me that my uncle had died. Yes he was 72 and yes he'd had one heart attack several years ago but he was totally fine one minute and gone the next.

To make matters worse the funeral is 450 miles away in Scotland on Thursday morning and we fly to Greece from Heathrow on Thursday evening. So I can't go. Even trying to get creative with flights to and from Scotland I can't go. I can't change my flight to Greece because I HAVE to be in Athens on Friday to get some of the paperwork we need in order to get married the following week.

So I'm devastated because I can't go and I'm devastated that he won't be in Greece with us for the BFGC. It's an awfully big hole in my guest list and whilst I can raise a glass to him whilst we're there I won't be able to stop the tears I'm sure.

Then there's Lia's mystery illness. Nursery called last week to say she had some spots on her face. I couldn't get to the doctor's that evening and by the next day her eye was swollen and her ear was weeping. The doc didn't know what caused it and gave me cream, antibiotics and eye drops to cover all bases.

As usual Lia was okay in herself (until I tried to administer the medicine) but I'd really like to know what caused it. To be honest it looked like she'd wiped something across her face from her forehead to under her ear but I have no clue what it could have been. It did mean two days at home though which as eaten into the teeny tiny holiday quota I have left between now and April.

Finally to top off my fun few days I was driving to work this morning and about half way along turned to check on Lia only to discover that I couldn't see her because she and the seat had fallen forward and were resting on the back of the passenger seat.

The seatbelt holding the car seat in place was undone. I don't know how, either DF did it by accident of some of the junk we had in the car this weekend (we did a bootfair) knocked it. Either way I had the fright of my life. Thankfully Lia's fine and didn't even seem fazed by the experience.

So, it's been several days of not so nice things. I now think that I'm due some good fortune as I've had all I can take at the moment.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

It's May already?

Thursday, 4 May 2006
Where did the time go?

April was indeed a strange month for us. It started well enough and had serious potential but then drifted off in entirely the wrong direction.

Easter was fun - my Best Mate and her family joined us at my Mum's for a few days and we did girly clothes shopping for BFGC outfits. She's not only my Bridesmaid but is one of Lia's Godparents (I'm Godmother to her son) so I said I'd buy her an outfit. We spent the whole day shopping and managed to get me something to wear (think short and fluffy) but only a skirt for her (think tall and skinny). We left it that she'd shop on her own for the top (we live 150 miles apart and only had this one day) and thankfully she's found something so we're now kitted out.

However, one sad piece of news was an elderly relative of my Mother's died on Easter Friday. My Mother's family tree is very complicated due to births with no fathers involved and adoptions so the easiest discription would be my Mum's cousin. More importantly she was 86 and one of the last two people alive to remember my Mother as a child (the other being her 98 yr old sister who is quite far down the road of Alzheimers).

So I volunteered to go to my Scotland with my Mum for the funeral which meant a road trip for Her, Lia and Myself. All went well, Lia was a total little trooper during the two eight hour car rides and had fun being spoilt by various Scottish relations. She also had the dubious honour of attending her second funeral at just 10 months old.

Unfortunately the day we drove to Scotland was my birthday so celebrations were a bit muted this year. Still, we did have a nice time, even the funeral was a celebration rather than being depressing, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

BFGC wise, we've almost agreed the menu, just a couple of minor changes to ensure the vegetarians have something other than salad to eat and now we're just waiting for confirmation frome the caterers that it's okay.

We've also confirmed the DJ who will apparently play whatever we want - cue cheesey 70s and 80s music as far as I'm concerned but I'm not sure how DF feels. Still, it's not a real wedding if you don't have at least one Abba song...

As for Lia, she's doing just fine. She's almost ready to walk on her own I think and is a total pro at pulling herself up and walking whilst holding on to something. This of course means she's into everything so it's a constant battle to move things out of her reach.

She still sleeps well but has been a bit unsettled with all the different sleeping places in the last month so some nights needs a bit of extra tlc to drop off. However, that seems to be fading which is good. I'd like to get her back to her normal pattern before we head off to Greece as that will no doubt upset her again.

I'm now making loads of mental lists about seating plans, what to pack, what's left you do, when I need to wash clothes, etc. I tend to not write things down as I'm pretty good about remembering things but I think in this case I should make a few lists as there's too many things we don't need to forget to do and take.

It's two weeks today that we fly to Greece and three weeks tomorrow that the wedding is due to take place! I can't believe it's so close now but at least I can see things coming together a bit more.

I'll do a separate 101 update in a couple of days


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