Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING


 

LIVING                                                                            JANUARY 2017
  

SEASONAL TRADITIONS

 

England had been full of Christmas since September whereas Greece only seemed to acknowledge its pending arrival from the start of December, so whereas England views Christmas as the ( commercial) highlight of the year, Greece considers it a pleasant interruption, not unlike England 50 years ago my mother nostalgically reminds me. So once again, like most people in December, I was facing the challenge of what to buy for my kids for Christmas but I was fortunate to be doing this in the laid back atmosphere of Greece and in the stressed, sensationalised atmosphere of England,two different shopping cultures and plenty of choice....or was there?

Traditionally, I buy my Greek great niece, aged 7,a Christmas dress from England and for less than £20, I can usually get something rather lovely from Primark but not this year! Either the buyer for children's' wear has changed or the sexualisation of children has filtered down to the under tens because it was not possible to buy anything pretty; everything was figure hugging off the shoulder lurex which to me is totally unsuitable for a little girl. Thank goodness then for Zara, the clothing chain store that has a strong presence in Greece and fortunately, there are a couple in Piraeus. Here, I was able to buy her a pretty, floaty dress that she will enjoy wearing to parties and I even purchased a pretty cardigan to match ( pale pink with tiny gold daisies embossed all over it) for her names-day.

I bought our own adult child, (number two) a Delsey suitcase, cabin-size, from a little family run luggage business in a back street of old Piraeus. The son of the proprietor had a lovely voice ( according to child number three) and therefore deserved our custom. These cases are a feat of great engineering, with their armadillo-like hard exteriors and 4 wheels, quite problematic though, if released on top of a hill, or if the X 96 bus veers to the right when the case is left standing in the upright position; yes, I must write to these engineers and ask them to incorporate a brake into the design.

Living in both countries has definite advantages when it comes to shopping and I was able to buy number three a jumper from All Saints, when it had a thirty percent off day one Saturday whilst I was meeting my cousin in Bath; and it was still expensive despite the reduction, plus I realised that I am actually older than I care to admit,as not only did I ask the pretty Irish shop assistant to confirm the price which I couldn't quite decipher as I hadn't my reading glasses with me but I also asked her advice on what size and colour to buy.

Child number one who is into classical, quality dressing was the easiest to buy for because one cannot go wrong with a cashmere jumper and these are obtainable for a decent price in the UK as we have great shops like Edinburgh Woollen Mills..one of my favourite shops as not only can you get scarves and jumpers for a reasonable price but shortbread biscuits too!!

There are two British Christmas traditions that I just cannot let go of though, the Christmas stocking and the Christmas cracker. One just cannot buy crackers in Greece and we are most definitely NOT allowed to carry them in hand luggage, so this year I ordered some online from Selfridges, pretty, hand made  crackers, a muted silver grey colour but with matching coloured glittery edges and a central jewel, terrible gifts though. My crackers, somehow first went to Salamina from where Mr L received a phone call from a courier company wanting to check where he lived. He was then given the phone number of a postman whom he had to contact to arrange re delivery to Aegina. Finally, one week later, the crackers arrived, intact and splendid !

Stockings...how I love them, that exciting weight at the end of the bed on Christmas morning when the children wake up. This year, as always, I placed a bag of chocolate coins at the bottom of each stocking and as usual, I bought socks, plain dark blue for the boys which go well with jeans and some a little more colourful for our daughter.

I also bought each of them a bag of Greek grown oregano, perfectly good, aromatic oregano, quite unlike anything as cardboard as the type bought in the UK! A minature ouzo for the boys and flavoured mineral water for the girl..to help flush out all of that vodka imbibed as part of the student culture. Hand made organic soaps bought from the spice shop in Piraeus couldn't look nicer in the black soap dishes that I had discovered in Hema, based in Victoria station. Pens for work and uni, 3-bit chocolate bars, their favourite Greek snack bar.

I could go on about how much pleasure the stockings give me but what had noticeably changed over time was timing itself and how the children groaned at me" oh mum, aren't we too old for these now?" And yes, they are too old because I can no longer put the stocking on the bed whilst they are asleep because I sleep before them; they return from their night of fun at 05.00 hours and I get up at 7..

So,the Santa in our house, gingerly placed the stocking at the end of the bed at 08.00 hours, wincing at the aroma of alcohol that emanated from the semi conscious mouths, tiptoeing around the mounds of discarded clothing on the floor that bore the smoky, sweaty aroma of  bars and clubs.  Never mind though, for every cloud has a silver lining because whereas in the past the children would wake us up soon after we had fallen asleep, now I wake up refreshed on Christmas morning and I have the whole morning to prepare lunch, to enjoy a pot of tea and conversation with Mr L (whose job is to prepare the log fire) until we decide it is safe enough to wake the sleeping children so that we can exchange gifts before the extended family arrive for lunch.

This all seems so long ago now and yet it was only a few weeks. The tree is down and the decorations packed away with the memory of Christmas but it was great to re visit our family traditions,slightly altered with the passage of time but traditions nevertheless.

 

                       We wish everyone a healthy and peaceful  2017




Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2017

 

 

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