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Our new home

We took this photo just before we all went to see the apartment for the first time.

We took this photo just before we all went to see the apartment for the first time.

It was such a god send finding this apartment really – there is lots for rent and lots of apartment buildings that are empty though not many that are over two bedrooms and also furnished. It would’ve been a crazy amount of cash to furnish a place and a bit of a waste as nine months rolls by pretty quickly sometimes.
Anyway – we started our journey in Agios Nikolaos in a small studio apartment right in the centre of the crazy tourist hub but oh such a gorgeous view.

Our first little studio apartment was on 3rd floor of red building across the water.

Our first little studio apartment was on 3rd floor of red building across the water.

It was definitely the smallest place we have stayed in and there was only room for 3 of us in beds – we stretched that out to 4 with Sandy and I sharing a single and then had three on camping mattresses on the floor.

This studio is perfect for a couple but we managed to fit in.

This studio is perfect for a couple but we managed to fit in.

The small 'kitchen'

The small ‘kitchen’

There wasn’t much more room to move once everyone in bed, the shower was tiny with no screen though we were used to that from China, and when it was bed time it was bedtime for all cause you couldn’t have any pottering about etc. No space. Though it was an excellent introduction to Agios Nikolaos because it really was such a good location and it made everything else we saw amazingly big!

The lake at Agios Nikolaos is just beautiful.

The lake at Agios Nikolaos is just beautiful.

We stayed there for 5 days as we nutted out our new life here and tried to find accommodation, school spots etc. There was one woman who we thought would be very helpful who was the representative of ‘Crete Now’ but seriously – we tried to visit her a few times and email and call to see if she’d heard anything and all she said is ‘I’ll call you when I hear!’ All she was interested in is looking gorgeous, drinking her frappe and looking at the sea outside her window. Not sure how she made any money from commissions. To this day we still haven’t heard from her. We even tracked down one of the apartments on her list ourselves and rang the owner ourselves (who answered straight away) and had a look so I’m not sure why she ‘couldn’t get onto them’.
Luckily, our good Cretan friend in Melbourne, Leonidas put us onto his cousin who’s a real estate agent in a nearby town and he found us the place we are in. In the end we only had two options. The other place we tracked down was €150 cheaper rent per month and had a bigger balcony though the bedroom for the kids wasn’t very flexible with beds so Sandy and I would’ve had to have the kitchen or lounge as our bedroom which was fine but also the clincher was that there was no lift, it was on the 3rd floor and the stairs were quite steep and the door down the bottom opened up to a busyish road with a very thin footpath. Therefore after our family meeting over dinner writing down the pros and cons it seemed that I was the only one who preferred the other place but purely financial reasons really. So, here we are opposite the beach in the only other option we had. It is great though.

Our promenade

Our promenade

The apartment isn’t that big but it has two quite big bedrooms and one of them is big enough to have three beds out, a mattress under a bed and a fold out bed so there’s still room to play  in the day time.

The kids' room

The kids’ room

Then there is Sandy and my bedroom which is also big with a bed, cupboard and small desk – the room opens to a small balcony where you can see the beach.

Quite a big bedroom

Quite a big bedroom

The lounge- entrance room which just has a couch (as we used the couch for another bed in the bedroom) and it also doubles as my Bowen Treatment room.

The lounge -ala Bowen room

The lounge -ala Bowen room

I got this wall map of our travels for Father's Day

I got this wall map of our travels for Father’s Day

The kitchen is also big but pretty sparse. The landlord put in a fridge and an oven (the place was used by students previously who obviously don’t cook so are happy with a plug in toaster oven) which was really the clincher for this place as we would not have moved in here without those.

The kitchen with not much bench space

The kitchen with not much bench space

Lunch boxes waiting till the morning

Lunch boxes waiting till the morning

There’s also a four person table which we manage to squeeze around for meals.

Our cozy table

Our cozy table

We could get a bigger table though its kind of better to just make do and spend money on other things. We can’t take a table with us.

Enjoying having our main meal at lunchtime

Enjoying having our main meal at lunchtime

The bathroom is also our laundry (we had to buy a cheap washing machine as apparently landlords don’t supply those in furnished apartments – that is something we definitely couldn’t live without) and is ……..well quite functional – if I wasn’t going to have a whinge about how I hate shower curtains clinging to your legs in the world’s smallest shower.

Our functional bathroom

Our functional bathroom

So the apartment is very comfortable and functional and the best part about it is the location. It is so easy that our closest beach is a mere 28 steps away and we can even see the kids on the beach from the balcony. We all go down there most afternoons – sometimes we try to go to a different beach but that is easier to do in the morning cause in the afternoon the kids generally want to go local and not walk a kilometre or so in the heat. The local beach is all sand and along side the marina and it is quite beautiful. Of course the water is very clean and clear. The kids love to build sandcastles and come in and out of the water. Their swimming is getting stronger and stronger.


When we moved in we made a pact that we would try to swim every day we are here – even in the winter.
It is so lovely to extend our roots for a while and have a home and build a community around us. Community is so important. That’s my favourite thing about home.

By Baba Christos

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Reflections of our first day at Primary School #3

Agios Nikolaos Primary school #3

Agios Nikolaos Primary school #3

On my first day at school I made four friends. When we got to school we lined up in our class line on the basketball court.

Tis is us in line meeting some new friends

Tis is us in line meeting some new friends

First the boys in my class and Toby played basketball. And the girls in my class and I played with hoola hoops and skipping ropes. We had a competition with the hoola hoops to see who could keep the hoop on the hips the longest. Then we went into class room. Our teacher was not very good, she left us alone for a whole lesson. We didn’t learn anything that day. The boys in my class are partyers they were on the tables dancing and throwing paper planes and screaming. We were playing chasey with our class in the first break. The second session of schooling the teacher spent the whole time handing eleven books out to us. The second break my friends were jumping and pushing each other because they wanted to hold my hand. Our last session of the day we had English. It was easy we had to write about ourselves and our family and what we like doing.

by Yasmina

Entering school for our first day

Entering school for our first day

It's a long walk up hill in the morning

It’s a long walk up hill in the morning

On the first day of school we lined up in front of Kiria Soula (Miss Soula) who is my teacher.

 

My first line up - Kiria Soula is the one with dark hair up the front

My first line up – Kiria Soula is the one with dark hair up the front

I’m in class Β2 which would be grade 2B in Australia. Year two is harder than I thought cause everything is in Greek. The day before when we met our teacher she gave us a sheet of paper with all the things we need to buy and bring to class. Our first thing of the day was to get our huge bits of paper out and give them to our teacher. Then we had to give our A4 paper to her. After that we had to give her our bits of coloured paper. Only 4 of us had all this stuff. I was happy that I had mine. We then had to hand in our ΑΒ (Alpha Beta) books in. We then did some work – we had some alpha-beta work (Greek is where the Enlgish word ‘alphabet’ comes from). I had to stop a quarter of the way through to wait for Kiria Soula to help me. Then I just had to do one word and the others had to do more. Then I got to colour in a little girl and boy down the bottom of the page. We could then do our own drawings – I drew a picture of the beach with an island in the back and a sky and clouds and some birdies flying around. After that the bell rang and it was time to go out of class and play. I played with my new friends Zoi, and another girl. I think recess was 20 minutes. We played hopscotch then we had to go back into class.

This is the basketball court & the Greek flag.

This is the basketball court & the Greek flag.

For the next session we watched another class come in and hand out our books. Then class B1 came in to get their books. After they went the bell rang again and I played the same thing with my friends. There are only two hopscotches, two trees and two snakes to play on and a basketball court.

 

Our schoolyard is mainly concrete but at least you can see the beach

Our schoolyard is mainly concrete but at least you can see the beach

Then we had to run back into class and a man came in and gave us something about school sports and some reading homework which I have to do with my mum and baba soon. Then we wrote some words in Greek – my friend did the word ψάρι (psari) which means fish and right then the end of day bell rang and we got our bags and went outside. We were waiting under the tree for baba because he had a Bowen client and made it impossible to be right on time and mummy was picking up the other kids. We finished today at 12.25pm but next week we will finish at 2pm. It takes us about 10 minutes to get to school up a big hill. School starts at 8.10am so we have to get up really early to all get ready.

This is us waiting to line up

This is us waiting to line up

When we got home lunch wasn’t ready so we got to make ourselves and ice choc frappe with vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Then it was lunch time and we had a pasta bake. In Greece most people have their main meal in the middle of the day. I couldn’t eat all of my lunch cause I was full from all the pistachios, walnuts and almonds I ate and the two choc chip cookies. Mum said we wouldn’t have ice chocolate frappe before lunch again. Then it was quiet time for an hour. After that we have done some school work and had to write down two new words we learnt today – mine were Ζωή (Zoi) which is the name of my friend and also means ‘life’ in Greek, my other word was Κυρία Σουλα (Kiria Soula) which is my teacher’s name and now here I am writing this blog – baba is typing for me but sometimes I talk so fast I have to say it again.

There are at least five beaches we can walk to but this is our closest one.

There are at least five beaches we can walk to but this is our closest one.

Beach time soon.
From ΚΑΛΙΚΑ

When we arrived at school the bell went and we had to all line up in our classes on the basketball court – one of the girl students got up in front of everyone and did a prayer and everyone did their cross.

This is our line & the girl up the front is the prayer girl

This is our line & the girl up the front is the prayer girl

We then had to sing a song – not sure what its about yet. Then most of the classes departed and my class (Δ2 – which is like saying 4B) was left on the court.
School was great!
Our class still doesn’t know who our real teacher is so my class is a party class.

This is us waiting for our teacher & we played 'basket'

This is us waiting for our teacher & we played ‘basket’

 

We spent one whole lesson by ourselves (not sure why) and almost everyone was yelling, throwing paper airplanes and one of my new friends was dancing and jumping on tables!!! – That happened to be the 2nd lesson.

This is our classroom Δ2

This is our classroom Δ2

There was one one lesson (the 3rd one) where we got to learn. In the other ones we were given new books and we were given 11 new books!!!
The first lesson we played basketball, with just my class and we got some goals!!!
I have 2-4 new friends in one day!!!
It was great!

By Tobes

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My day with Baba – Crete 3rd Sept 2013

Crete 3rd Sept 2013
Today Baba and I went to Heraklion which is the capital of Crete (a big island state of Greece) and the population is  about 200,000 people which is a biggish city but definitely the biggest in Crete.
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We went to have a day together before starting school next week. Actually we are now on the bus going back home to Agios Nikolaos which takes 1.5 hours.
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This morning we arrived in Heraklion about 11am and first of all found a cafe to have a cake and drink – I got to choose whatever I wanted so chose an iced chocolate and cheesecake – which is one of my favourite desserts. It was delicious.
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While we were eating and drinking we got to play ‘Words with friends’ on my iPod. I am almost addicted to this game – it is like scrabble but you can also text the people you play with. I play with lots of friends and aunties and some people I don’t know but I never text random people I play with cause they are strangers and I don’t know what they are like, so my mum and baba said I could only text people I know like for instance I like to play my Aunty Jenny and Aunty Catherine and Xander and Edan and my mum and baba, my cousin Cara, etc. I like playing it because I learn new words and I just find it fun. When I don’t know what the word means baba won’t play me back unless I use the word in a sentence. For instance, I played a 54 point letter word with baba – it was ‘flays’ – do you know what it means? It is to ‘strip off the skin’ my sentence was ‘poachers flay the skin off a tiger or a crocodile and so many other animals’.
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After the cafe we went to the Natural History Museum of Crete. There are three museums in Heraklion – the Natural history museum, the Archeology museum and the History museum. I picked the Natural History Museum because I wanted to learn more about animals of the past and nature.
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The museum had won a Trip Advisor award. Trip Advisor is a really good app when you’re travelling – it tells you the best things to do and stay at in lots of different places. It also allows you to breastfeed in the museum which is a good thing.
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I found out so many things that this blog probably will be the longest blog I’ve ever written. There were so many new things that I don’t have the time to write them all down.
The top two floors were about animals in the  mountainous areas, shrub lands and deciduous forests – that means forest where plants lose their leaves in autumn.
Now, there were so many new animals and only a couple that I had heard of their names but I didn’t exactly know what they looked like – I’m going to do a photo gallery of them and there should be a caption at the bottom of each photo if you click down the bottom of the photo. I’m also going to write the name in English and Greek cause I have to practice my Greek. One of the most interesting animals was the Glass Lizard – it looks like a snake.
Most of these animals were dead and stuffed but there was a part of the museum where there was living animals like Iguanas and Cretan mice, Mediterranean Newts and lots of different snakes.
In a part of the museum was a dinsosaur exhibition from Patagonia in South America. There were lots of dinosaurs we hadn’t heard of. One of the very stange dinsosaurs was the Avarezsaurus which was only 1ft tall and up to 5ft long.
The Eropator lunes is is only 3ft long. We were really surprised at the size of these dinosaurs because we thought dinosaurs were always big.
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This is a display of how they find dinosaur fossils.
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Here is the photo gallery of some of the animals – I think I’ll have to do another gallery next time I go cause there were so many interesting animals and I didn’t take good photos of them all. I don’t think any zoo keeper in Australia would have heard of all these animals.
In Crete they found pigmy hippopotamus bones which lived here from between 800,000 to 400,000 years ago. They have been found in 17 different places – mainly in the Eastern part of the Crete. There was also a pigmy elephant that lived here.
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A large elephant appeared on Crete approximately 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. Fossils have been found in only North Crete but in more than 20 different places.
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The Dienotherium of Crete was only discovered in the year 2000AD. Crete was covered in lots of forests 9-7 million years ago when the Deinotherium lived on the island.
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We learnt about earthquakes and went on an exhibition about earthquakes – where we got to feel what an earthquake was like – it was amazing – we were sitting in chairs like at school – on the floor there was a machine under it and it made fake earthquakes. It showed us a usual earthquake if you’re on the 1st floor of a building then same earthquake on the 3rd floor. Then it showed us what it felt like to be in two of the biggest earthquakes in the world – first one was in Tawain (forgot the year) and was 7.6 on the Richter scale. Then we felt the Kobe earthquake of 1995 in Japan which was  only 6.9 on the Richter scale but felt much worse because it was very close to the surface of the earth. It was awesome to feel them. We were sitting up the front & had a bookshelf near us & lots of books fell down.
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This is a picture of me trying to make a tsunami. A tsunami is a massive wave caused by earthquakes under the seabed. The most recent one I’ve heard of was the one in Japan in 2011 (I think) which was over 10m high & killed lots and lots of people.
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There are lots of volcanoes in the Mediterranean. Some of them are active but many are extinct. One of the most recent ones that erupted was in Nysirios island in 1888.
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Santorini is a very famous volcano – which is actually made up of 5 islands – it last erupted on 1950 AD and they described it as dramatic. Baba said we have to go there while we are in Greece because it is amazing and beautiful and very interesting if you like geology (rocks) which we love.
It was a fantastic day.
By Tobes
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Cretan news from Moochie 6-9-2013

Our new apartment in Agios Nikolaos is near the beach near a steep mountain.

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I like going to the really wavey beach where you can jump off rocks into the water. We went there yesterday with Baba.

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The apartment is sort of peachy coloured on the outside and on the inside it’s white. It’s a very cool apartment – it has awesome things that we like – like going to the beach across the road and having a real dinner that we cook.

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The best dinner that we have outside is pizza and pita gyros rolls – we buy them and then eat them at the lake and then play in the park – but it’s just a small tiny park.

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Today I had my first ever, ever boys day with Baba. We went to Heraklion on a big bus.

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I had to get up early – I was sleepy but baba woke me up and dressed me when I was still asleep because the bus left at 7.30 in the morning. When we got there we walked past the Venetian pirate fort.

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A long long long time ago Pirates from Venice came here – they had to yell when enemies came near this fort – they used to throw rocks or use swords and stuff. We saw lots of dungeons which were very small so you had to sit like a mouse if you were being naughty.

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There were nails in the walls and at the top. It’s like a chokey. It was made hundreds of years ago – that’s even older than Grandpa Jim. We even saw an old special pirate anchor.

We went to a small art gallery and we saw some art

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and there were pictures of some priests and they had a special candle and a book and it sounded like they were singing but there was a CD player.

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This is a picture of a really famous guy called Jesus.

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We went to a cafe in a big street and I got to choose a Nutella pancake and a iced chocolate drink which I drank all of it super fast- baba didn’t even have one sip of his frappe yet and I said – ‘baba look at me – you better drink up’.

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We went to an earthquake and dinosaur museum – it was beautiful.

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Well there was lots of awesome things – we saw a dinosaur movie about dinosaurs in Argentina and they find so many bones – the biggest dinosaur ever is a long neck called Argentinosaurus and it eats plants – it’s tail is like a weapon against meat eating dinosaurs.

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They called one dinosaur in the movie ‘Strong legs’ and it was an Argentinosaurus and it was attacked by a Gigantosaurus which kind of looks like a T-Rex.

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The big Argentinosaurus was just flicking them off with its feet and tail and just getting a few scratches from their teeth.
This is a picture of the bones of a Gigantosaurus – it eats things really quickly – it’s mouth is so big that it could eat me in one gulp.

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This is me and a long neck from Argentina.

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They found this huge elephant in Crete.

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This is me riding my pet dinosaur. And cuddling my other pet dinosaur.

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This is me running for my life.

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In this one I get to ride on a Gigantosaurus.

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I look scarier than the bear.

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Awooooooohhhhhhh!

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This is me with an owl and a wild boar. Raaaaaaaa!

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At the museum I pretended to be a dinosaur finder – there was helmets and goggles and paintbrushes and shovels to look for bones and I found three bones.

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It was a big tusk and a bone from a humungous elephant that lived on this island a long long time ago.

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I got to see inside a cave with a bird inside and lots of things hanging down like crystals.

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This is me and my boat I got to drive it and there was a map on a screen.

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We saw a snake that was eating a mouse and the mouse was still alive and scratching the snakes throat. It was really awesome.

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There was an earthquake show and the earthquake was like real. The only difference is if there were stones falling. The earthquake sounded really angry that is shaked and shaked and shaked. The worst one was nearly number eight in Taiwan near China.

We bought my new runners for school and then we went to a shop called Jumbo and a supermarket – I had to help baba carry all the bags. Papou Doni is my great grandad in our village and he gave me 20 Euros which I got to spend today. I bought a dinosaur model – a coloured wooden one from the museum shop. The other thing I bought from Jumbo is absolutely awesome and it is a pirate game with so many pieces – I just can’t wait to play it when I get home. I’m going to wear my pirate suit when I play it and I even have a sword that I got from the money that Aunty Kouli gave me.

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I’m not excited about going to school next week – I’m a bit scared that I won’t know what they’re saying to me. They seemed really nice when we visited the prep school which is called ‘nipia’. Some of the teachers spoke in English to us.

Everyday we go to the beach and we bought a lilo which is really good cause when you are tired you can rest any minute. There are lots of rocks to climb and jump off – I jump off with an adult cause they help me to swim if it’s deep. But I’m getting so much better at swimming.

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Yesterday night we visited Andoni and Rafaela -and their big dog Rex. There’s a policeman named Rex that is my Chich’s friend and my friend and I danced on his shoulders at my Chich’s wedding. Andoni is five and Rafaela is nine years old. And they have an awesome pool that is so big and their house is on a cliff right near the beach – it’s so awesome.

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Andoni’s mum Renia picked us up in her big car. We know them because my Giagia in Australia has a friend who’s Gillian’s sister in law. Gillian is their grandma and she is from England. She’s Greek now. She made us some awesome chocolate brownies.

By Moochie