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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Last posting

Happy Nameday if your name is Ahmed (Ahmad/Ahmet). It's St Ahmed's today in teh Greek orthodox church calendar.

What has happened to my time as of late? It flies, perhaps too quickly for my liking. I don't use it up so leisurely any longer. I was hoping to get a quick post in before Christmas, but I also know that whatever I would have written two days ago would have become obsolete by now.

I was woken up not by carol singers today, like we usually are on Christmas Eve, but by the mourning toll of the church bells. Since last night, I knew that Christmas had been cancelled in my neighbourhood, after the area was swarmed by cars parked on every available spot in an area that does not even have a footpath. How easily we change our traditions after a tragedy. "Να τα πούμε;" (Shall we say them?), as the saying goes concerning the question traditionally asked by carol singers before they begin singing, was banished here this year. If anyone asked any question, it would have been along the lines of "Δεν τα είπαμε;" (Didn't we say them already?). The event could have been predicted, sooner or later. Or perhaps the question was "Δεν σου τό 'πα;" (Hadn't I told you so?), since it could also have been avoided. We all knew it was bound to happen. Even his parents had predicted the event when they got rid of the motorbike. They gave him a car instead.
Prepping Christmas lunch: A friend was asking me yesterday if she can find lamb shanks in Hania - as long as you know how to tell the butcher how to cut the meat, yes, you can find lamb shanks. Generally speaking, butchers hack it to pieces here, and the locals use it in this way. Forget about what you see in the Greek haute cuisine magazines: they show mainly urban cuisine, and what we aspire to, rather than what we really are. My contribution for Christmas Day lunch is: guacomole, roasted peppers and lettuce with kid avgolemono.
Now we can also make predictions for the summer. For instance, we can be quite sure that we will no longer be woken up at the same time in the middle of the siesta, and later on, in the middle of the night, by the garish sounds coming from the same car as it sped up and down the road, windows rolled down, car stereo full blast. The car is now scrap metal, and its driver buried under the earth, joining his young cousin who died under similar circumstances a few years ago. His young mother will wear black for the rest of her life, as will the mothers of the other two teens who died with him. The fourth one - who had just finished his teens a year earlier - is still fighting for his life. I predict he will make it, but he won't be the same person that he was.

Since the event, I have had to reorganise Christmas Day lunch. The mother's wails can still be heard. Tomorrow's lunch will now be pot luck, at a friend's house. Making as little effort as possible in order not to be seen or heard, we shall pack our pots and pans, and head out of the area. We'll be wearing our seatbelts, and only one of us will drink, to ensure that we can make it back home.

Life doesn't always go as planned, but that is no reason to get angry. Rearranging keeps you on your toes. You can't have everything you want all the time, but you can probably have everything you need. You may or may not be the perpetrator of all your own misery, but you can usually be the creator of all your own happiness.

Merry Christmas to all. I hope to be back in time for the New Year. Till then, more work to get through...

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