Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our journey

Our journey started on July 7th, early in the morning. We woke up and started to pack the last few things that were left out of the suitcases and tried to clean up around the house without much success. My family will, thankfully, take care of our mess.

Kosta decided to hire a limousine to take us to Chicago since we had so many bags as well as there were 5 of us and a cat. The limo arrived just before its scheduled arrival at 9:15am. I was near a front window when I saw it pull up and I immediately shifted into panic mode. I saw our neighbors from both sides come out of their homes to send us off. I left the room and burst into tears. I didn't think that I could handle the what was to follow. I finished what needed to be done and then found Amalia, to put her in the pet carrier. I called my mom to let her know that we were leaving because she planned to meet us half way to Chicago. Our neighbors were waiting outside and the kids were running and playing. As I went outside I was really trying hard not to get emotional, it took everything. Again, I wasn't saying "good-bye" only "see you again." We got into the limo and we kept waving as we drove down the street, until we couldn't see our neighbors anymore.

The limo stopped in Kenosha so that we could see my mom and get a few hugs and kisses for the road. We took pictures and hugged a lot. That was hard. We left from there and headed for Chicago. It was so hot that day and the air conditioner in the limo was scant. It just wasn't getting cool enough so we were all sweating for the whole ride. When we arrived at the airport we were so relieved to go inside because it was so much cooler. That lasted about 10 minutes. It was so hot out that it even felt hot in the airport after a while. It took a little less than an hour to check in. After checking in and paying for Amalia's ticket, we headed for the security check point. The line was long but was fluid. We had a little issue with Izabella at the security gate because she didn't want to let her stuffed horse go through the scanner. She screamed bloody murder until she got it back. Plus, she refused to go through the metal detector in protest. I had to take Amalia out of her pet carrier and the baby out of her stroller. Once we finally got through and Izabella got her horse back we were on our way to board the plane. That was easy since the flight attendants for Luftansa were wonderful. They carried the cat in and also some of our bags. Our flight was wonderful, no turbulence and no delays. It just seemed like we were on that plane forever. None of us slept very much, maybe and hour here and there so by the time that we reached Munich we were all toast.
We had to go through customs in Munich and that went well also. Again, I had to take Amalia out of her carrier only to discover that she had peed herself, yay. So I had to hold my poor kitty and she was so smelly the German woman that helped us seemed peeved. Oh well, what can we do?
We had 4 hours to kill before our flight to Thessaloniki. We had breakfast and freshened up. I cleaned Amalia up also. So things were going pretty well until Kosta took Foti with him to get some coffee. That's when it got scary. Foti decided to wander away from Kosta when he was getting his coffee. As soon as Kosta realized that Foti wasn't with him he ran over to me to see whether or not he came back to where I was sitting. My heart dropped and I jumped out of my seat to look for him. A woman that was traveling with us watched Iza and Alexandra while we went to find Foti.
The staff at the airport didn't seem to be too concerned that a small child was missing. One woman told me that it would be "impossible" to lose a child in this airport, not what I wanted to hear. I ran to all of the places that we had been before, no Foti. I had her call the police anyway. After about a half an hour I saw the silhouette of a small boy sitting on the floor. I couldn't tell for sure if it was my little Foti or another boy. As I drew closer I knew that it was him and I ran over to pick him up. My little bug was so tired and disoriented that he didn't really react. He almost fell asleep as I carried him back toward the terminal that we were waiting at, that was 6 terminals away. The woman that said that it would be impossible to lose a child in the airport noticed that I had my boy in my arms and just said, " oh good, now I can call the police to have them stop looking," as if it was ridiculous to begin with. So now we had our Foti and couldn't wait to get on the plane to Greece so that we could just relax for a little while.
That is exactly what happened. Everyone, except for me, slept for about and hour on the flight to Greece. The kids couldn't even wake up once we had landed. Both Foti and Iza were in the stroller sleeping while we were at the baggage claim and didn't wake up even when we put them into the car. It was hotter than hell also. Luckily we had 4 people waiting at the airport in Thessaloniki to help us with everything.
We drove about an hour to my mother-in-law's summer home and the kids finally woke up. We were so glad to have made it safely to our destination, but it was HOT. We rented a place in the same complex as MIL (mother-in-law) so we put our bags there and let the cat out. She was scared and tired. She drank a lot of water and retreated under the bed. I figured that the tiles were cool and she needed relief. The day after our arrival she vomited blood and I knew that she wasn't well. She stayed in the shower all day and tried to run out the door a few times. She was hot and sick. I did everything that I could to try to comfort her, but I knew what was happening. She stopped eating food and wouldn't leave the shower, even when I needed to take a shower. I would move her out and she would crawl back in. She didn't even flinch when I brought her tuna. I used a syringe to try to feed her but her jaws were clamped shut. Early Wednesday morning she crawled under my bed and passed away, three days after we arrived. I can't help but to wonder if it was cooler if she would have recovered from the trip without incident. I also wonder if it was just that she was so old. Nevertheless, we have lost our kitty. Kosta and I buried her on a hill under an olive tree. It' s beautiful there as it is peaceful and there is a breathless view of the sea.
So after the first week of adjusting to the time difference, Alexandra's teething and losing Amalia things are starting to look better. Alexandra's fever from teething has ceased and the kids sleep through the night. We now have air conditioning, Internet and a phone. I am so thankful that Kosta installed AC. The week ahead will be a scorcher.
I already have a few funny stories that I will share. I haven't had too much time to communicate with anyone via email or Internet so I thought that I would give you all a look at how our trip went. Until next time...


  1. what an adventure. so sorry to hear about amalia. sounds like you are settling in well, and i look forward to fabulous photos. :)

  2. Thanks Linda, I miss my kitty a lot.
    About photos, for some reason every time I have tried to upload photos to the blog they take forever and just disappear before I can click "done". it's frustrating. Once I have more time I will email you some. I haven't taken too many yet though. Weird for me.

  3. I'm so sorry about poor Amalia. It is a tough trip on a kitty, and it has been very hot. I just can't imagine how horrible it was to happen on top of everything else. Now I have to torture my kitties by giving each of them a super tight hug.

    The story about losing Foti terrified me! I can't believe they were so blase about it.

    I'm glad you have A/C. There is no way to deal with these heat waves without it. Ok, maybe some Greek people can, but my old American self can't. At least now I feel guilty about it with the whole global warming/carbon emissions thing - but I still won't give it up!

  4. Cheryl- Thank goodness, there you are! I'm sure you have a ton to do, in addition to getting adjusted and grieving your loss. Poor little kitty! I knew what you were going to say as the story went on, and I do think it's possible she might have recovered if it'd been cooler. Just too much stress on a little loving life.

    Lufthansa and Munich have never been good experiences for me, so it surprised me to say how nice it was then didn't surprise me when the airport was so unhelpful with Foti. Poor baby, and poor you. I'm just so relieved he was OK and you found him.

    I'm glad you took the time to write and stop by the blog. I've been checking every few days to see if you'd posted, and I'm sure you'll have so much more to tell us as you settle in. Things happen in my life every day that might be interesting to others, but to me it's just normal life after 10 years. It'll be new and different to hear from you.

    Kisses Cheryl, thinking about you, Kostas and your little ones.

  5. Good to see you online . I hope you are all doing well, I miss you all very much. Tell the kids I miss them . I hope to send some pictures and a letter soon for the kids. I felt bad I was a day late with Kosta's birthday wishes.
    I am doing better lately, I will call you again soon to fill you in.
    Love you and miss you !

  6. I nearly cried at your cat's death. Very sorry. We picked up a dog on Crete, and I would be literally heartbroken to lose her. Sounds like you have plenty on your plate to keep you busy.

    I read in your comments on Kat's blog about the locals offering 'friendly advice' about how you'll have to adjust. Stay strong, and try not to let it blind you to the possibility of wonderful changes, even if they are advised by others.

    Welcome to Europe. You're going to love it and hate it and feel apathetic about it here! It's life, in Greek.

  7. Kat, Thanks for stopping by! Yes, I do have a ton to do. The kids are doing ok but they are still a little anxious. Life is so different for us here. We are also trying fit a little R&R in as well. The problem is that we are in such small spaces with so many people around ALL of the time, there is really no quiet time...I know you know what I mean.
    Thanks for the kind words!!

    Pumpkin-I miss you guys too. I will try to blog when I can for now. I think that it will be easier in September when we are completely on our own. Will talk to you on the phone more!

    Thanks for stopping by! Also, thanks for the sympathy concerning our kitty. I like to visit your blog from time to time, as you can see, you are one of my favorites. I read the story of how your dog became yours and its really sweet.She sounds like a sweet companion. She probably loves you so much!

    I have lived here before, but without the kids. Its a whole different thing when you add the kids! Everyone wants to tell you how to raise them. Over the years I have learned to block things out, but I still can't block everything.

    As for Europe, I agree, you have to love and hate it. I suppose I feel the same about my home in the U.S. There is a lot to love and also a lot to hate. I try to remain objective! :)

  8. Hi!
    I have just read about your trip to Europe! I can't imagine what you have been going through when Foti got lost at the airport. It must have been horrifying 2 hours for you. Thanks God, it all ended well.
    I am sooo sorry to hear about Amalia. Try to look at it from other aspect- at least she had the will to live until you got to Grecce. That way she started a new life here with you. So she can now be a part of it.

    Hope to hear from you soon!