Mum and dad texted about 6 weeks ago and said – how busy are you in mid November? We rang shortly after and mum explained that after speaking to Toby on the phone, they realised that it made more sense to visit us now than possibly an April 2014 visit. Then they ‘could picture us for the next six months, rather than see what we were talking about all this time just as we planned to leave’.
So time moved swiftly and we all bubbled in excitement as their anticipated arrival grew closer. That is, until for me, I began to get anxious and worried that they liked it, or that the weather was good, or that the kids colds cleared up etc…
It’s funny how no matter how happy you are somewhere, a visit from mum and dad can get the nerves flowing. I confided this of course with Christos and also our good friends here, Nicky, Dara and Val…
It was a relief to hear that these ups and downs in emotions upon planned visits from parents appear quite normal; still experienced by these gals after more than a decade or two. ‘And wait til they go, then you grieve for weeks too’.
Well, nerves aside the thoughts flow through ones head; I don’t need my parents approval I’m loving this, are the kids really okay or am I blind to some glaringly obvious signs?
And you know what, after the worry and hope for good weather, worry about passing on a cold, etc…. We all had the very best of times. Our kids glowed in mum and dad’s company. The big kids in particular didn’t stop talking, we just enjoyed. The weather was awesome, they came to see all the kids activities; from soccer to swimming, athletics, to Kiki’s girls guides fashion parade. We had fabulous meals at home, and out… We had coffees and shop wanders, great hotels on our trip to the other end of Crete, and here in Agios Nikolaos….
All in all it was just perfect. And when I sat still meditating in the days leading up to mum and dad’s arrival I knew deep down that I didn’t need to worry, and the kids colds cleared enough when I stopped fussing, and mum bought her own asthmatic cough with her anyway… And in the days since, yes I have been sad at their leaving… It was both too short, but really just perfect for them. Good to go on a high note.
I have been sad; it is hard to explain why; we’ll be back in less than a year. Mum and dad are strong.
Perhaps it is a new phase, perhaps the honeymoon phase of Crete is over and the everyday reality of life around us is starting to show. Winter is definitely harder, no income for many in a tourist town when the tourists go. Not many olives to harvest; the season was unsettled and many trees did not take fruit or are riddled with bugs- a concern for the Greek economy as olive oil from Crete is a huge export. Many people are hungry here. The government has responded by announcing free internet for all- some with humour are suggesting even an Apple computer won’t feed a family for long.
But days of sunshine are still stunning. The sea is still startlingly still some mornings and ferociously windy on others. My swim is always a pleasure as I dive in and glide through the cool liquid. My skin not always as welcome of the temperature drop as my mind is of the moment of exhilaration I feel.
Parents are precious. I worried about their arrival, I revelled in their presence and now I am grateful, so very grateful for the huge effort they made to visit us in our ‘home’. It was beyond my happiest imaginings. Enjoy the kids stories, I loved watching them evolve. Grandparents are priceless.
Love Mama Miliking
We went on a big, big walk with Grandma and Pa – along the old fort wall in Chania. We climbed lots and lots of rocks around the lighthouse. It is one of our favourite things ever.
Pa wakes up every time really early and waits for us in front of his hotel to drop us off at school. It was fun to walk with Pa. Grandma and Pa picked me up everyday that they were here.
We went to lots of restraunts with them -my favourite one was the first night at a Restraunt called Chrysafillis – I liked the food and I payed the bill and we were playing spying on the adults and the man asked ‘Pos se lene? and I said ‘Me lene Emilio’ that means ‘what’s your name?’ and ‘my name is Emilio’ – and I got to keep the bill. And I liked the cafe called ‘Ano Kato’ cause it had hot chocolates and dessert.
At our hotel I always walked up the stairs and not the lift because one day in Russia I got stuck in a lift with Kalika. I go one lifts with doors sometimes now but I like going up the stairs cause I always win when I race the lift.
Right here we are – back to Grandma and Pa – Grandma and Pa have gone back to Australia now. I miss them lots because they left. My Gigga is coming soon.
On the 19/11/13 my Grandma Jill and Pa Ross came all the way from Melbourne Australia!
We went to Chania with them and we stayed in a nice hotel with an amazing breakfast, I had 4 sausages, 4 pieces of bacon and 2 sunny side up eggs with 1 or 2 glasses of fresh orange juice (everyday). It was amazing.
On the second day at about 10 in the morning we walked to the lighthouse – it was very rocky and even my grandma did it – she went only half way but even still it was very rocky.
On the same day at about 11am we went to the Commonwealth War Cemetary near Chania in a place called Souda Bay. All the dead people there were from the Cretan War in WW2 in 1941. Australia, England, Greece and Sth Africa and some other countries were trying to protect Crete against the Germans. If Australia and the other countries didn’t help in the war Greece would’ve been half German. We found about seven people that died on my exact birth day 62 years before I was born. We found a little cross at the front of one of them that had only been delivered ten days before we went one Remembrance Day.
The youngest person we found was only the age of 16 yrs old. He was a private. The oldest one we found was an Indian or Sth African and he was 62 and he was a donkey man – a donkey man is like a person who collects all the dead or wounded and brings them to the place where they are either buried or treated. He was like the famous donkey man ‘Simpson and his donkey’.
I liked walking around with Pa and him telling me all the levels of the army in war. When he was younger he was in the army. On Anzac day lots of times we go to Somers near Flinders in Victoria, Australia and I march with Pa and he lets me wear one of his medals that he got when he was in the army – I like marching with him at Flinders.
That day we waited for grandma and pa and our friends – Amy and Oliver – Amy is an American from Arkansas and Oliver is from England. They both live in England together now. They came late on the Friday night.
That night we had a glorious dinner of veal, chicken and pork, chips and salads and various things like that. We always have lots of meat with Grandma and Pa. I even tried to draw a horse during the meal – I gave it to Grandma and Pa and it was a picture of Phar Lap galloping. He’s my favourite horse. For those of you that don’t know what veal is, it is beef that is from a cow that is under two years old before it was killed.
That night after dinner I went out with Yasi, my Pa and mum to a little bar that my grandpa went to the night before. It was funny because we saw a dog there that liked us. When we got there he was lying down on the best seat of the outside part of the restraunt under the heater and my pa asked the waiter if the dog wants us to buy a beer for him. The waiter said ‘no no no he’s not our dog’ and drove him out. It was really funny cause the dog kept being driven out but he would just go to the next entrance and come in and keep teasing the waiter.
There was also a cat that wasn’t driven out that was sitting on another seat – when we were almost about to leave there was another cat that joined it.
Pa taught us some lessons about drinking beer – he taught us the nose – so whenever he had a beer he got us to smell it and see if we can work out the nose of it. Also the wine as well.
He even got us to pour the beer and make it frothy. We were really good at it.
Next day we were excited about seeing Oliver and Amy and we went up to their room twice and even kicked the door but they wouldn’t wake up – we didn’t see them till after the market.
This is Poseidon – god of the sea
Asia Minor in the Byzantine times
A Greek navy uniform
Pa with a sun dial
Mending a boat
After that we went to a museum about the Navy and Cretan war and also about ships in Crete even as far back as the Minoans. It was called the Maritime Museum. I really liked it – one of the cool things is they even showed you how they made wooden ships in those days. They used wood cause they only thought wood would float I think.
The way they made these wooden ships is they cut down big trees and cut the branches off then put the logs in water, once they soaked for a bit they took them indoors or something like that and they would be able to bend the wood. So they would get as much wood as possible and tie it together – soon enough you have a wooden ship.
Another fascinating thing was there was even a kind of copy of a drivers place in a ship. It was really weird cause there was telephones everywhere and they showed some kind of telescope video camera. We liked having a muck around in there – there were so many interesting things. There was even a copy of an old Italian bullet.
Pa also told me that the best medals that you can get is the Victorian cross and the royal cross I think.
It was really good having Grandma and Pa visiting and staying in Chania – we had some really really good lunches and dinners there as well.
On the way, the best cafe was store 311 in Rethymno. It has the most amazing things like burgers with chips and omelettes and smoked ham sandwiches and when you get a beer sometimes they even give you a little bowl of crisp chips. Having Grandma, Pa, Oliver and Amy over was really really fun and exciting – we even went to an old archeological site that was dug up from under the ground – it was called Knossos palace but that is another story. Goodbye for now. I will tell you about Knossos later.
Grandma and Pa were very nice and I liked picking them up the airport and I liked going out for dinner with them lots of times.
We stayed in a hotel with Grandma and Pa in Chania. It was a very beautiful hotel like new and I liked going on the Great Wall near there – just on the other side.
I liked playing on the Great Wall like running up the wall and finding paths on the rocks. The lighthouse was fun.
My favourite dinner was the first night in Agios Nikolaos cause it just was. Oh my favourite thing to eat was the lamb and the calamari and potatoes.
I liked having Grandma and Pa pick me up from school and we always had a treat on the way home. It was also fun when they came to watch me play gymnastiki which is like athletics and my swimming class.
We bought some Xmas things and decorated our house in the morning. It was so much fun.
I miss and I love my Grandma and pa.