I admit it, I am not good at this - keeping connections! I tend to disappear, be occupied with other things, and then suddenly feel that something is missing. Oh! Haven't written anything in my blog for months and months!
Well, let me first reassure you: I am alive and well. Still without insurance but trying to keep myself in a shape where I won't need it!
The autumn months of 2008 after my holidays in Denmark were quite strange, workwise I mean. A sudden silence seemed to have fallen upon my Italian agencies with which I work regularly. English and American agencies were still working quite well, so I just assumed that my "Italians" were having a bit of extra holidays. Late November, early December, it became clear that the financial crisis had struck and killed most of my Italian connections. Well, they are still there, but they have no work to pass on to me. December was quite low even from my English/American clients... so I was starting to bite my nails. Living in Crete is not like living in Denmark. If work suddenly stops and you have no income, it's not like you can just go to the local community and ask them to take care of your bills. You can in Denmark. But not in Crete.
January didn't seem to start much better but, furtunately, I ran into a big project which would keep me busy-busy for a couple of months. So, that's more or less why I have disappeared for a while, because I simply have so little time left over every day, and when work is done I just want to go to the nearest taverna and meet the friends rather than hanging over the computer for a few more hours. The situation with my "regulars" is still the same, so I don't know what will happen when this big project is done. Hopefully, something else! ;-)
The animal situation? Hm! Always changing, I must say. It changes based on the amount of poison the Greeks throw around and on the amount of traffic on the road just next to my house! When we last spoke, I belive the situation was that Millie had 5 kittens, Billie (the GrandMa) was well... and sterilized, no more fuss with her. And His Majesty - Niko - was still around.
Well, His Majesty had a tendence to go walkabout for days, staying away for 3-4 days, coming back to get fed, then maybe away for a week, and then again for a few days. One day you suddenly realize that he is not coming back anymore, and you can only immagine what happened.
Millie used to go out very early in the morning to catch a mouse for her 5 kittens to play with... and one morning she just didn't come back, and the kittens were just barely ready to eat by themselves. But they grew up to be beauties. Peter Pan, the red one with the most wonderful brown-orange eyes. Baby, the only girl among them. Wheeny (becauce he was always whining), Darling, and Sweety - big strong boys, too.
I swear on anything dear to me: after these I will have no more cats!
Baby went out on a stroll and didn't come back. My beautiful Peter Pan remained on the road one morning after his very last walkabout. I cried my heart out!
But (swearing apart) one night at the end of the season there's this tiny kitten near a taverna in the Platia with no future ahead of her... she sort of just disappeared up under my T-shirt and we went home to see if we could find a better future together. She's my Pucci, a tiny little girl among the big boys... 'cause Wheeny, Darling, and Sweety are still around... patiently waiting for her to grow up. I think me and the vet will take care of disappointing their expectations! No more kittens! (unless, of course, they just happen! LOL).
Oh, and the "dog situation" also changed! One night, around midnight, I heard some scary screaming outside... I thought one of the cats had been hit by a car and hurried out of bed and outside... in the dark night it took me a while to find out that the screaming did not come from any of my cats... but from a little black bundle of curly hair! Somebody had thought it was a good idea to throw a little black puppy in front of my gate... I guess these people must know me - but I don't want to know them! :-( Anyway, I got the "bundle" inside and discovered a tiny little girl puppy. What do you want me to do? Throw her in the garbadge? I think not! Next day she was baptised "Lucky" and is now part of the family. She's quite a "cartoon dog", can you imagine? Like a Disney dog... her ears are always straight out as if she's ready to fly, her funny little black eyes totally disappear in the black fur and I never know if she is looking at me or sleeping... but I always know where she has been! Because any pair of socks I might have in the house will be hidden in her basket, somewhere in my bed, in the sofa, just anywhere... and if clothes are not washed immediately they have such a tempting "perfume" that she simply have to steal them and hide them somewhere! Bella is quite happy with the company, especially since she is so much bigger and therefore can be dominating the little bugger! They have great fun together tearing my socks apart!
OK, I'll shut up soon - but I just need to tell you about my latest bureaucratic experience. Facing that I have been here for three years without - still - being able to speak more that basic Greek everyday phrases, I decided to join the free Greek course that the Mires municipality is offering for foreigners. A lot of us signed up in December, filling in forms and delivering our passports for copying (I guess they are expecting some EU compensation if they deliver proof) and were told that lessons would start after the Christmas holidays. Finally, early February I'm getting a call (in Greek, of course) to show up in Mires Thursday 5th at 17:00 hours for the Greek lessons. I was really excited, finally I would start learning real Greek! So we showed up, some 20 foreigners, we all know each other.... all excited, finally! The teacher greets us in Greek and hands out a questionnaire - in Greek - which we are supposed to fill in. Hm! Looks exactly like the questionnaire I filled in when registering in Mires in December. The teacher excuses herself, but "Athens wants...". Athens wants AGAIN?? Appearently Athens wants "again". Since the teacher was not really able to explain (in other than Greek) what the single voices in the questionnaire were about, we tried to check with each other to fill it in... some knew a little Greek, some nothing... that is why we attend the course... but finally we managed to fill in the questionnaire. Then we are handed a test... in Greek, of course.... totally Greek to me! So I just put question marks everywhere (fine, it was in order to establish my knowledge of Greek)... and, now, can we finally start the lesson? No, now we all go home. Don't call us, we'll call you - to let you know when classes start.
Let me just say that ... we might lack electricity often, the water may be rationized most of the summer months, the bureaucracy might be over-your-head... but there is ONE thing they really understand here: How to start spring! The last few days we have had clear blue sky, sunshine, 20-25 degrees. We are starting the summer tan here! So, my fellow Europeans... you might have electricity on a never-ending connection, you might never turn on the water hose in the morning just to find that there is no water, you might be able to solve all you questions with the authorities by a click on the internet... but you are freezing your butts off at the moment - while we are just smiling at the sunshine. I will stay here till they carry me out head first! :-))))