Greek Life & debates!

I was only 23 when I went out to Kos on holiday with the girls.  Typical girly holiday.  We fell in love with the place and on our return to the UK quickly realised that we wanted to go back.

I quit my Job as a Business Development Manager and stopped the purchase of a house and jetted back out to Kos 3 weeks later to have some fun!

I remember thinking……..’if I do not do this now I never will’.  So my friend and I jetted off into the sunset.

ImageI worked In a bar as a waitress and I loved it.  Slept and sunbathed most of the day, did a few hours work then partied the night away.  It was a great life.

ImageA year later I was still working as a waitress in a cocktail bar when I met my Nik.  That song will be our wedding song if we ever get round to getting married that is.

He was younger than me, and no longer had we got together he was whisked off into the Greek Army to do his national Service.  By this time my friend had gone back to the UK but I stayed, I had something to stay for.

His parents were not overly impressed that he was seeing an English girl.  You have to remember that many English abroad give some of us a rather bad reputation, and I understood their initial concerns, but soon put those to rest.

His family are traditional Greeks, big into their religion and beliefs and this was huge culture shock for them to have a foreigner lurking about.  His brothers were great as was his father, the mother is a different story.  I was ‘stealing’ her boy.

When we got engaged his Mother went crazy.  We didn’t do it the Greek traditional way you see, we did it OUR way.  She ranted and raved for a bit and eventually came round.  You have to remember Greeks are known for this ranting and raving thing they do…..having a normal quiet conversation is not do-able…..it has to be loud with lots of hands and arm shaking!

After a while I was being accepted into this family.  They had met my parents and his mother was pleased to see my father wasn’t covered in tattoos (her words).  

When we announced we were pregnant having been together nearly 6 years, his Mother flipped again.  We were about to approach the whole “you must marry immediately” debate. I knew this would be a good one.  

I will not be bullied into anything, and certainly not by my mother in law.  Nik and I had no intention to rush down the aisle just because we were about to have a baby.  She was very insistent, but we continued to say no.

ImageTimes have changed you must remember.  His parents are from a whole different generation whereas Nik and his generation have had a new world opened up to them and they want to grab it.

His parents have never been off their tiny island all their lives and know no different of the world.  What they do know, generations of their family have done before.  However, what they fail to realise is that it was not me who changed their son, it was time.

We moved to the UK when I was 4 months pregnant after some early complications.

ImageWhen I had the baby, I waited for the next debate of the childs name and baptising/christening.  It is traditional in Greece to name your children after the fathers parents.  This is very true of the Fathers name but not the mothers.  So when I had baby girl we chose a name we both liked and that was EVA.  Yet, his mother still insisted on sending cards etc addressed to my daughter as ELENI, which was her name.  Hmmmm, not happening.  She finally gave up on all this when Nik told her no more.

They came to the UK to visit not long after I had the baby (just what I needed).  They were amazed by the UK and were in complete awe of the place.  The houses, the way we lived etc.  They could not understand why people would leave the UK to live elsewhere.  They were under the impression that so many Brits lived abroad because English life was poor.  Now you have to have lived in Greece to understand this, but unless you are extremely wealthy in Greece you mainly live in poverty as did we.  The houses are damp, no heating (yes winter is cold out there), expensive supermarkets, expensive household bills.  His parents could not understand why you would give up the luxury life to live in Greece for example.

ImageSuddenly, little old me was raking in the brownie points as their son had a fabulous life in the UK with a lovely house, good job etc.

Now, when we had a Son two years later, I went along with the whole ‘after the father’ name.  He is called Christos.  This went down really well and I got lots of Brownie points.

Then the rows about Baptising the kids.  This was a tricky one as Nik too would have like them Baptised in the Greek Orthodox Church but I didn’t agree.  I said if they grow up and turn round at 15 and say thats what they want, they will have my blessing 100%, but I was not going to choose their religion for them.  Nik agreed with me, but his parents certainly didn’t.

However, this is all in the past, as these Greek Grandparents adore our kids and that is all that matters, and they too have come to realise that.  It is not all about traditions, what will the neighbours say etc, it’s about what we have now, which is love and happiness.  They realise that we have a good life, our kids are amazing and we’re happy and all those rows and debates were actually their battles with change………. not with us personally.

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I miss him.

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This is Oscar. Our beloved dog of 11 years and 3 months. We sadly had to have him put to sleep five weeks ago and my heart still aches.

I miss him everyday. I can still feel him and I can still hear him. Does the pain of losing a pet ever go away?

We noticed that he had a lump growing on the roof of his mouth. The vet barely glanced at it and I knew from her reaction that all was not good. My heart began to melt. She gave us all the options.

Over the following two weeks I watched him closely. He had changed. He looked old all of a sudden. He seemed to have lost his spark. I noticed how he would pant without reason. How he would screw his eyes up and look unhappy. These things were minor but I knew somehow they were linked to what was lurking in his mouth. I went back to see the vet. Yes, we could go down the road of biopsies and further tests but the bottom line was, even if this lump was not a cancerous tumour, it was still a lump that could not be removed as it was on the hard palate in the roof of his mouth. SO what did that leave us with? The vet knew when I walked in what we had decided. I told her we did not want to wait until he became really poorly. It was not fair on him. I also didn’t want to wake up one morning and find his mouth bleeding or crying in pain. There was also the consideration of the children…..what if he turned nasty? If he was in pain this was a possibility. He was the softest dog you could ever meet and was wonderful with our children…..but there is always that “what if?”.

The vet was so supportive and agreed with our decision 100%. She also said that due to the nature of the tumour it was likely it has already spread to his lungs……this may now explain the unnecessary panting. She said from the glance alone she was over 95% sure it was cancerous.

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We gave ourselves a week to prepare and spoil him rotten! I can quite honestly say, mentally it was the worst week of my life. Were we doing the right thing? Should we give him a chance? Any anaesthetic would have killed him as he had a bad heart murmer but that element of doubt was still there. Again, even if we’d gone ahead, the chemo etc after would only have prolonged his life by maybe 8-9 months, and what a miserable 8-9 months they would have been for him.

That week before I spoiled him so much. He had all his favorite foods….chicken, ham, buscuits, watermelon (odd one I know) and he loved it! The night before I let him sleep on our bed with me and the hubby.

Then the day came. I made the kids cuddle him before they went off to school that day. They had no idea what was going to happen. What was rather surreal though was that my daughter mentioned when leaving the house that Oscar looked sad and poorly. I came back from the school run and sat and sobbed holding him close. I mean big proper sobbing, it was awful. But then hubby came home and as he walked through the door, he broke down. It had suddenly hit him and it broke my heart.

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I won’t give you all the details, but his passing was remarkably peaceful at the vets. We sobbed and sobbed our way through it as he drifted off cuddled up in my arms., but we knew he was at peace and would not suffer. As we walked home with just his collar and an empty lead there was silence. We couldn’t talk.

We had to tell the children when they came home from school. We said that he was very poorly and very old and that he had died when we took him to the vets. Kids of that age do not need to know all the details. They sat and drew pictures and wrote letters that they wanted Mammy to send to Doggy Heaven. My heart was splitting in two.

We had Oscar from the day he was born when we lived in Greece and when we moved to the UK he came with us! He was our baby!

I miss him barking when someone is at the door…..I miss his claws on the wood floors, I miss him cuddling in when the kids had gone to bed.  He was such a huge part of our little family and I will never get over losing him.

We love and miss you so much Oscar!!! xxxxx