Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Help - go get yourself a copy!

Last night I finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I am so going to miss Aibileen, Skeeter and Minny! and even little Mae Mobley!

It is truly one of those books that takes you into them, away from your day to day and into a different time and way of life.

If you haven't read it, go get yourself a copy!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

vomit, alarms, good news and a dreamy hotel

Things have been a bit hectic; on Monday night, alone with the kids as Steph was traveling, William drank his milk to fast laughed and then threw up the milk and his dinner all over my new American Vintage sweater and his clean pajamas. Just as I had him changed and ready for bed, Emma still singing in the bath-tub where she was making her millionth soup, the fire alarm went off for the first time. Let me tell you it even took me a while to figure out what was ringing so loudly as just the previous day William had managed to set the alarm on his day clock!!  It went off 3 more times as I was putting the kids to bed. Each time, shortly after I or the landlord managed to switch it off and reset it, it went off again. In the end, he graciously called the electrician for some instructions, I got some screw drivers and we killed the damn thing. Phew. 

Wouldn't you know it, now that we no longer have a fire-alarm, I burnt my pizza in the oven yesterday! 

Anyway, just as a quick update to yesterday's post - William got the place at the International School of Athens' Nursery. I'll be starting induction with him there next week when his bum rash has cleared and everyone is back from school holidays. 
I am happy but so sad he has to leave the place he is at now where he seems quite at home with the Greco-French atmosphere. I cannot say how much all these changes break my heart for him. I realize some of my feelings must be from my past as a child who changed schools and languages a lot for they are so strong and brutally intense. That and I am a very protective Mum. I am sure William will cope with English quickly and make new friends. But I cannot tell you what a toll it takes on me having him hide behind my legs for one hour, how much I miss his playfulness and smile during this time, how much I will myself to be positive and playful to ease things for him while my gut hurts.

Today William and I will be taking Emma and her friend F. to French lesson after school. First time with 3 kids in a car and this stressful traffic and sidewalks where you cannot walk side to side. A bit daunting, I must admit. 

Yesterday, I received an promotional email from a hotel we once stayed in, in London. I cannot tell you how much I wanted to be there - no kids of course- to relax, drink, eat, shop, watch movies, just ENJOY.

Monday, October 24, 2011

first interview

I have not been able to find a French speaking kindergarden for Will and  as of Tuesday he can no longer go to his current one

On Friday I visited an Anglo-Greek bilingual kindergarden - which is near by and offers a home cooked hot meal - but although I liked the director I was not fully convinced by the teachers. I decided to give Emma's International School a call and ask them about making an exception to the "2,5 year old minimum" rule. On Friday they told me that since William has a sibling in the school it should not be a problem but that they would call me back on Monday. 
Today they called me to tell me they could offer him a place in January (in 2012 he will turn 2 years old so I imagine someone wants to tick a box) but I insisted and so tomorrow we plan to show them how mature and capable he is. William's first interview at 18 months for a 2 year old's place at the International School of Athens. If family experience is anything to go by, my first job required a minimum of 5 years experience and I got it anyway. My Dad had a similar experience.  Plus, when William turns the charm on who can resist? 

Seriously, I do think he can manage and be happy in a group of  2-3 year old children. And I really really REALLY don't want to change kindergarden again next year or in 6 months and this one seems good with a great team of teachers. We were planning on sending him there anyway later on so he could follow the same English speaking program as Emma, but I really don't want to have to change him again in 2 months time so if this falls through tomorrow I don't quite know what I'll do...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

First fun Saturday in Athens

This week-end, since the weather was once again sunny, we gave the "settling in" a break and went out a bit; on Saturday morning to Kifissia for coffee in a retro style bakery-come-café. I was thrilled to find this authentic place. Have a look!

At midday we went back home for lunch and William's nap (our midday break!) and then headed off to Attiko Parko, the zoo!

More on Sunday soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy William in the morning


Just before breakfast this morning - happy dancing and drawing William.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kicked out of kindergarden

On Saturday the owner of Will's kindergarden sold it because she is leaving Greece. 

Yesterday as I was dozing on the sofa (still sick and feverish) she called to give me the news. 

The new school will not welcome the under 2,5 year olds and hence as of November 1st William will no longer have a kindergarden to go to unless we find him a spot somewhere else. 

I am furious shocked outraged but it does not help. The fact that we have a signed contract does not help. I am angry that William will have to make another change after having just adjusted to his new environment following our move from Vienna 3 weeks ago - this too does not help. 
Right now, a part from the strikes, the no sidewalks, the crazy unlawful driving and heaps of garbage everywhere this countries ways are pissing me off. But I guess I can count our blessings for we are all ok.
Today I will try to hunt down a free spot in another french speaking kindergarden. Fingers crossed please!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The way you make me feel

William's face us exactly the way I feel at times... Only It's not acceptable for an adult to show it... Pity that, I could do that Waaaahhh !!! quite well I'm sure.

Today isn't going that great; 
Emma said she did not want to take the school bus and then asked when this holiday was going to be over. When I asked her what she meant she asked me "when are we going back to our other home in Wien?" ;-( 
There is an electricity outage today so I had to rush to get my car out if the garage bright and early (luckily the neighbor / landlord reminded me or I would have been stuck at home with Will all day!)
The electricity outage set the alarms beeping like mad.  
I left the garbage out front last night (not in a bin since we don't yet have one) and the cats tore it to bits meaning we were greeted by a carpet of garbage as we opened our front door this morning. Yuck!
The garbage men are apparently on strike. 
Another strike looming (truck drivers I think) as we have been told to fill up on petrol! The nearest shell station was packed and the queue was blocking road traffic this morning as I drove Will to Kindergarden.
As if having two kids in a foreign country wasn't stressful enough...

Monday, October 10, 2011

First week in Athens...

It's been an eventful first week.

On Monday, after a 30 minute sit-in in her kindergarten class and a 30 minute recess in the park, Emma decided she wanted to stay at kindergarten so we had to improvise a lunch box and leave her there. William's first morning at his was only a stop over of 10 minutes to apologize and reschedule. Yay! Emma! for being so brave and enthusiastic!
Emma holding her lunch box and Will - ready to head off to school

Then just as William and I were about to leave home to pick up Emma I managed to lock ourselves out on the second floor balcony!!! (the sliding door's handle flipped up and locked!). And of course no phone on me. Screaming at the top of my lungs I caught the attention of some workmen who called our neighbor who was just boarding a plane who called my husband who drove home like a mad man not knowing if William was with me or stuck alone inside. Phew! Then Steph picked up Emma and I had a drink.

Emma in her school (kindergarden) uniform and William with his lunch box

On Tuesday afternoon Emma told us she wanted to go to school with the school bus so for the first time on Wednesday she went to school and back in a yellow ISA school bus. So lovely and happy. Only thing is every morning she does not want to wear the "same again" (her uniform).

Her school Passport (contains notes from teachers to us since due to the school bus we don't see them everyday) says she has made friends and is very happy and participates in class. Indeed she has been singing new songs and has mentioned a little boy called Phillip...

In the meantime, Will has once again charmed all female presence at his kindergarden and has although he initially only had an hour, then breakfast and 2 hours play there, by Friday he had had lunch and a mid-day nap there too.

On Thursday we had a fuel leak in the house but luckily the smell alerted us in time and the workmen cleaned it all up and repaired it. Phew!

Technical problems such as no phone for me due to iPhone being blocked so we cannot use a different carrier than the one we had a contract with in Austria are proving quite difficult to resolve and I really do need a local number! Despite my best efforts to jailbreak the phone I had to give in and by a new phone in the end. Ugh.

The admin is absolutely mind boggling. Every day Emma brings back more paperwork with lots of forms to fill out and sign. I need to organize a health check and still decide whether or not we wish her to have tennis or swimming lessons although I would prefer something a bit less technical where she can just run and jump and use up some energy.

Once the children were more or less settled, the next priority was finding a cleaning lady (partially done now) and to finish unpacking boxes (also moving ahead...).

Ugh the dust (from the dirt road and the neighboring houses still being worked on) and the clean laundry are piling up. And whose brilliant idea was it to have a school uniform with a snow white top??!!

Over the week-end we discovered a couple of parks with lots of fun for kids.

Emma and Will driving together

Will held by Steph and Tata-yéyé on our was to have an ice-cream

How do we feel?
the kids seem to be doing great and the only things that seem to bother them are:
- that the house is on multiple levels and so a) we always seem far away if we are not right there b) it's a bit dangerous for distracted Emma and tiny Will as there are many stairs to fall down.
-the distances are greater than in Vienna and Mummy sometimes gets lost so we spent more time in the car (finding the park) than in the park.

As for us, well, since the kids are ok, we can now focus on the house and ourselves a bit. It's hard to believe we only left Vienna a week ago. It feels like forever. For us it's been a tough move - the first as a family of four - and despite being super organized and having head at hand there is only so much you can do with kids around. Still, all in all we are doing ok. We have Internet, heating, phone numbers and kids at kindergarden, a near by supermarket and a GPS on my mobile phone. We're sleeping and eating ok and most days it's sunny. Today I even had a neighbor and her kids over for a while and tomorrow I am going to a newcomers meeting organized by some francophone "oldies" .

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Alive and (nearly) kicking in Athens

We made it! We are here, there are lots of boxes that still need unpacking but tonight we are spending our first night in Athens and in our new home - all four of us.

The movers were great and we had the precious help of G. (another one!) a Russian lady who cleans at our neighbors and who came over to help us. What a wonderful, quick, positive woman. And I got to practice my Russian!

As I write everyone is in bed and I am totally exhausted having unpacked and put away lots and lots but happy to be here.

Tomorrow we might go to the sea and take a break from "the move".

More news soon...

Nightie night!