I am disappointed that I haven't learned Greek in my five months in our lovely Greek village,. But just like it takes a village to raise a child, it would take more than that to help me learn this language.
Despite that, I have been very grateful for the welcome I have had, for the friendship I have been offered and for the neighbours who have graced my life this winter long.
I would like to introduce them to you.
|the beautiful one and the black one|
|turkeys and hens are our neighbours|
|Maria and Demosthenes|
|Panos and Anna|
Here is Demosthenes' brother, Panos, with his Rumanian wife, Anna. They generously invited us for Christmas dinner. I took tourtiere and lemon squares as the "Canadian food" contribution. Anna is my inspiration as it only took her ten years to perfect her command of the Greek Language. These two are completely self-sustaining with goats, sheep, chickens and a huge vegetable garden. No worries about the economic crisis for them.
|Aphrodite and Costas|
|Anastasia, the best baker|
The best baker for miles around is Anastasia. I cannot tell you how many kourabyedhes that Minas enjoyed this past winter. And dear Anastasia... you can't walk into her shop without her pressing some free gift on you. As a result of our Greek eating habits, we are both heavier than we were last Fall. We'll roll out of here and hopefully, two months of biking will correct the situation. But Minas will miss the Greek treats of his childhood.
|Sophia, the hostess with the mostest and Georgis|
Sophia and her husband, Georgis, run one of the cafenions and Calliope the other. Sophia has quite a bit of English and I think she is a little disappointed that I didn't learn more.Calliope is a workaholic and very generous with her time. She loves her flowers and always has a fresh arrangement on the bar. It is to Calliope that I bequeath the lovely orchid that Minas bought me with 35 blooms.
They both make excellent Greek coffee and "chai douvenou" but Georgis make the best 'cafe frappee'.
|Calliope, the flower lover|
Sometimes people just take to you and you to them for no apparent reason. Such was the case with Panayota who, when she met us, immediately offered a guided walk into the hills to see a tiny church. We have had lunch at her house twice and afternoon coffee once. Her husband, Vassilis, has a huge vegetable garden and makes very good wine. Between the two of them there are always invites flying our way along with fresh eggs, excellent potatoes and the occasional bottle of wonderful wine.
|Panayota and Vasilis|
|Andreas on Greek Independence Day|
The kids of the neighbourhood are not numerous but they make themselves heard. Andreas has the most colourful personality and is the one we know the best. On Greek Independence Day, he was not only the best speaker in the children's performance of the story of independence in the church, he looked terrific in his 200 year old costume. Do you know why those men wore skirts with 1000 pleats? It was so the arrows and knives would not penetrate the folds of material and reach their bodies.
On March 25th ,Greek Independence Day, we invited all of these friends to come to Sunday lunch at the taverna - I don't cook here. We had the traditional meal for this holiday with salt cod, calamari, salads and horta and copious amounts of wine. Our guests brought desserts so we rounded out the meal with galacta buriko, sweet pastries and good old Canadian lemon bars. We retired to Sophia's cafenion for coffees on the house. We started at 2pm and finished at 5pm and that's a proper lunch time around here.
But I would be remiss if I didn't introduce you to Barba Thanasis. He is close to 101 years of age and he gets around on his own steam, walking to the cafenion twice a day, to play cards with his cronies and home where his 96 year old second wife has his meals ready. Minas adores him and I think it is mutual.
|Barba Thanasis at 100 and Minas at ???|
And so I say good-bye to some special people who have shared their lives with me this past winter.
Efharisto kai tha mee lee soo may ksana sai merica chronia.