Carrie's Adventures

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another week of planning

After taking a week off to sit in the sun and see the islands, it was back to the grind. I must say we are very lucky that we are both off during this time before the wedding and despite my few moments of stress, I think the fact that we seem to have time to deal with things has helped a whole lot.

Things we managed to cross off the list this week:
* Mail the invitations to my family
* Confirm the final details on the reception ~ all that is left is the seating plan and giving the final numbers to the hall.
* Dress fitting for final changes to the dress
* Receive things that I have ordered for decorating in the hall

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY... My papers have been submitted for the wedding license. Yes, we will be legal!

Things we have been working on that aren't quite complete yet:
* Picking the florist ~ the quote from one florist was 1700E, they must think I'm crazy if I'm going to spend that much for one day!! We are waiting for a quote from another florist and hoping the number doesn't give me a heart attack. Either that or we may be sans decorations!
* Order the wedding cake ~ turns out all of the bakeries that we were going to use are closed during the end of August. Who closes in the summer??? I know 2 people who own a bakery who would think this is just CRAZY! Hopefully it will be ordered by Saturday.
* Get my wedding ring ~ they hit a wee snag with it and it is taking longer than we expected but we are off to see what the scoop is today.
* Order bombonnaires ~ waiting for the quote. Seems we are doing a lot of that lately...
* Visit with a stylist to talk about my hair, makeup and all that jazz... Hopefully this will be confirmed tomorrow.

Things we have been putting off:
* Selecting our songs for the reception
* Visiting the photographer to go over the final details

Things that have eluded me:
* SHOES! Seems I can't find the pair I want. I have even gone so far as to tell Akis that I will go to Athens myself so he doesn't have to trudge into the city with me. Won't that be a treat... me alone on public transit trying to navigate my way through the city ~ should be an adventure.

I'd like to think that we are getting closer. Despite not wanting to be one of those brides that freaks out, I am beginning to think that might be a bit inevitable and after a visit to the 'expensive' florist, I had a small melt down in front of the planner... Oh well, she gets paid to deal with this no??? In the end, people get married every week. Many before me have done this and many after us will decide to take the plunge. However, you don't realize just how much it is going to cost and the planning that is involved until it is YOU that needs to do it... Perhaps I should have paid more attention to those bridal shows on TLC/Slice Network.

All I can say is that it's a good thing we are only doing this once!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cruisin' the Med ~ rapido style

Well, when Akis and I were working on the ship, we said to one another that the last place we would go on vacation would be on a cruise. I guess this is why you never say Never... Guess who went on a cruise. Yep, that's right. We joined Akis' brother for a 4 day whirlwind tour of the Greek islands. Now when I say whirlwind, I really do mean whirlwind. We were in 2 ports each day, except for Wednesday. The time in port was short ~ between 4 to 5 hours and often we arrived at 7am. Needless to say with 6am starts most mornings, we got off the ship more exhausted than when we got on.

That said, it was a great little cruise to get a taste for each of the islands. We managed to visit: Mykonos, Kusadasi (that is in Turkey), Patmos, Rhodes, Crete and finally Santorini, before heading home to Athens. All in 4 days... Yes a bit psycho. The ship was a bit smaller than we were used to. Here is a photo of our ship ~ Aegean Pearl in front of Zenith, a former Celebrity ship. The photo doesn't really show it, but the Pearl is about half the size of the Zenith. You may recall from a post a couple years ago when Constellation met with Zenith and Century, I had a photo of Zenith next to the Constellation. Zenith was the baby ship at half the size of the Millenium class ships... Yes, the Pearl was teeny.

We took tours in both Kusadasi and Crete ~ visiting old ruins which were quite interesting. Here are some of my favourite photos and others that tell what we got up to.

Sitting out back having coffee with Kyriakos:


Kusadasi ~ in particular Ephessos:

The cold waters of Patmos:

And coffees...


And of course, some lunch:

Crete ~ the palace of Knosos:

And me with the former President ~ for whom the new airport is named after...


Despite being a very quick cruise, it was nice to be able to see all of the places my family will be travelling to this summer on their 'Greek Experience'. Hopefully they will be able to enjoy the sights as much as I did.

Friday, July 11, 2008


One of the joys of making sure that our 'union' is legal, is dealing with all of the paperwork that needs to be done. It is true, had we both been from the same country, things would have been far less complicated. But hey, why opt for the non-complicated when you could have 'mass confusion' and 'chaos'???

Part of the decision in getting a wedding planner was to assist with the navigation through the red tape. In hearing of Akis' stories of dealing with anything governmental in Greece, it takes the patience of Job and a bit of luck to get things to go your way. I had done a bit of research online ~ mostly reading of other people's woes ~ so I knew that I would need to bring some papers with me.

The wedding planner asked me to bring my Birth Certificate ~ long form (which was stored away in a box in BC somewhere), a marriage search ~ basically something that said I am not currently married or have been married, and she also asked for a wedding license. Well the first two items, I was able to obtain with a few payments to Governmental agencies, but the third was not an option as I was not getting married in Canada ~ they told me they wouldn't issue it.

Armed with my 2 documents, Akis and I travelled to Athens to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get my documents translated from English to Greek. The building is divided into floors and each floor has it's own languages. It was rather interesting to note that the English/Greek floor was not all that busy. So after leaving the documents there, and deciding how my name would be spelt in Greek, we would need to return 5 days later to pick up the documents. All the while, remembering that all government offices close at around 2pm. Yes, it does pay to be a civil employee in Greece.

We had an appointment that Friday at the Town Hall where we are getting married ~ in Petroupoli. They reviewed a copy of the documents and upon hearing that Akis lives in another town, quickly put up their hands and said, we won't issue the marriage license. Get it from the town where Akis lives. With other things to do such as seeing the reception and wedding site, this needs to wait.

So, Monday we get up early, shuttle to Athens and pick up my documents. When we return to Piraeus, we head to the Town Hall. We get to the department ~ a department whose sole purpose is to issue wedding licenses for the suburb of Piraeus ~ and note that there are 3 of them working there. Who knew so many people could get married in one suburb??? The first woman reviews my translated documents and decides that she doesn't think they are acceptable but will ask the other woman. The second woman at the end of the 3 desks joined side by side decides no, they are not acceptable, but will get confirmation from their boss who sits between the two. As we wait for her to get off the phone and review my documents, Akis gets a sinking feeling. The woman starts to look at the documents and then shakes her head ~ this is when someone calls about another wedding and the gossip about someone's ceremony, their guest list etc. occurs. When she hangs up the phone and we think we will finally get an answer, the boss' Mama calls and wants to chat. The other 2 workers ~ and I use that term loosely, sit listening to her conversation, drinking coffee and occassionally move something on their desk to make themselves look busy. In the end, the boss lady says ~ papers are no good. They each need to be stamped by the Foreign Affairs office in Canada and then taken to the Greek Embassy/Consulate in Canada and stamped there before they will consider the documents to be authentic. Then these authenticated documents need to be translated again into Greek... GOOD LORD!!

While I wasn't overly surprised to hear this as I did read from someone's post that they needed to get documents stamped, but Akis and I were disappointed that our wedding planner didn't tell us this so I could have done this while in Canada. Now looking for options to solve this problem, emails start flying to the Canadian Embassy here in Athens. After phone calls to the wedding planner and then subsequently to Petroupoli Town Hall, we discover that Petroupoli doesn't need to have the papers stamped by Canadian Foreign Affairs or the Greek Embassy ~ but I do however need to have a letter of intent for marriage which names Akis as the groom. This can only be obtained in the Canadian Embassy. And for me to get a marriage license in Petroupoli, I need to get something that says that I am living there.

So Tuesday we trudge off to KEP to get a letter that says I live in Petroupoli.

Thursday we have an appointment with the Canadian embassy. We head there and 50 Euros later, get the document stating I will be marrying Akis in Greece.

We pick up the paper with our wedding announcement ~ and Akis heads into the Town Hall of Piraeus to get his part of the wedding license.

After we get home, we send everything we have accumulated to the wedding planner and she verifies with the Town Hall in Petroupoli that this is in fact OK, that I can be issued a wedding license. Now all we have to do is go and pick it up. Here's hoping that they don't change their mind on anything between now and then...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Notice has been given ~ I'm officially 'not working'

Akis and I have been planning for this day and I'm sure a number of people didn't actually think it was coming, but yes, I have given notice to Celebrity. For those who have done the 'cruise ship' thing, you can understand how easy it is to just carry on your merry way and return contract after contract. You have 2 months vacation, you don't need to look for work during this time, and when you come back, you basically walk in and say 'OK, I'm here...'. It is a very comfortable existance.

Now that both of us are no longer in the rotation and notice has been given to the office, we do have a year to return should we decide that life on land doesn't suit us. Until then, we are going to follow the plan. This means a wedding in August and a whole bunch of paperwork after that. I'm not looking forward to the paperwork, but I am looking forward to getting a new start.

We'll have to see how the job search goes ~ one of my least favourite things to do, but that can wait until September. Here's to a new beginning.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunday at the Beach

Sundays in Greece are what Sundays in Canada used to be 20 years ago. (God that makes me feel old! Especially since I remember what this was like...) Yes, everything is closed with the exception of kiosks ~ our Macs Milk and 7-11 equivalents ~ or restaurants/coffee shops, the options on what to do on a Sunday are focused primarily on spending time with friends or family.

In this case, we have been to the beach most Sundays. This time we went with 2 of Akis' friends from school and their wives. There are a couple of different beaches that you can choose to go to, however when the temperature rises, this is where most of Athens heads for the day. You can tell by both the traffic that you encounter and the lack of space on the beach!

After our first adventure with Stratos and Roula, Akis and I went on a shopping spree and purchased ourselves a beach umbrella. Probably the best 8 Euros we will spend this summer!

Me under the umbrella:

George and Stratos ~ Akis' friends from school:

The better halves: Roula (Stratos' wife) and Diana (George's wife):

The boys....

As is custom when you go out to the beach, we swim first and lounge. Then around 3pm, we wander to the nearest restaurant and fill yourself with food. The Greek method of ordering food when you are out with friends is to basically get a whole bunch of different stuff, put it in the middle and then you pick off of whatever plate you want. This leads to gorging and generally dining as though you were at a buffet. You leave the table thinking this will be the only meal of the day... Today was no exception. Next time I'll get a picture of the table!

The happy couples as we waited for our food. Yes, Akis and I aren't here... that's because I didn't like the picture. This is the creative veto you get when you are the one posting!