Woke up this morning to a shaking room and a rumble. I opened my eyes to see the light above moving. THis has happened before, I thought. Then another rumble came, like an engine deep in the earth revving, and the room shook again. I got up and opened the bedroom door to find my family all coming out of their respective rooms.
"Did you feel that?" "Did you hear that?"
It was seven twenty in the morning on an overcast day in Itea, Greece. The last time this happened I was alone in the apartment and again, I was woken late in the morning by the sensation of the bed moving, like being on a boat going over a large wave.
We turned on the TV and the local morning show had switched to emergency and was receiving calls from all over Greece. The eartquake epicentre, as far as they could tell, was near LEsbos, off the coast of Turkey, the eastern part of Greece, but the tremors were strongest along the West coast of Greece, near where we were. 6.5 on the Richter scale, 80km deep, apparently. DUring the telecast they managed to work out that Leonidion (no doubt named after its mythical great king) in Sparta, had tremendous tremors, and were having trouble contacting the police and fire brigade in the south of the Pelopponese. THey were fearing the worst, but it seems that, because people ran screaming from their houses, the forces were deployed to make sure everything was alright. Seems that there was no serious damage and no fatalities, at the time of the broadcast anyway.
Tomorrow is John the Baptist day, name day for anyone named John in Greece. Today, to mark the baptism of Christ by St John, the Greek Orthodox church has a nationwide service after which they toss a symbolic cross into the sea, and each town's finest bachelors dive in and strive to be the first to reach it - for good luck I suppose. I can say proudly that various bachelors in my family have been champions for years at a time - my youngest uncle Nick, and my cousin, also Nick, who won today as well. Alas, since he will be marrying soon, his reign has effectively ended.
Having expected to wake up to the sound of church bells and instead waking up to violent tremors with two sleeping children beside me got me a little shook up myself. I wondered about how we would make our way down three flights of stairs if there was a cataclysmic episode. I also thought of my handicapped aunt and uncle who live downstairs and hoiw they would make it, torturously slow, down two flights of stairs if they had to. Feeling stirred up didn't prevent the drowsiness I felt from sending me back to sleep, however, and I ended up missing my cousins victory by sleeping through it!
I realise it's been a while since my last blog, but all the festivities and last-minute preparations prior to our departure for a break kept me distracted - and I didn't have much to say, really!
I hope everyone had a great HAri Raya Korban, Christmas and New YEar, and am ready, after such a long and lovely break, to come back home and settle into life's routines again. I must admit that prior to leaving KL I had been feeling very tired of the sickness that seemed to prevail - by sickness meaning the evil deeds that people are capable of, such as the death of poor Nurin, and also the crappy things that I was reading about people in the news, from our leaders and others.
Being away has impressed upoin me yet again that it is no different elsewhere - the only difference between home and Greece for example, is that the press has free reign and basically act as spokespeople for the community. Our arrival in Greece was delayed by strikes, forcing us to spend a day in Dubai. Apparently people are up in arms about poor pay rates and certain members of the government have been singled out for their extraordinary salaries. THe argument is, if they are serving the people as elected members of government, why are they feeding off them? THe argument seems unsettled and will no doubt continue, because the people have rights to speak. So do we, but then, we are a different country *smirk*.
ANyway, life is hideously expensive, though Greece being one of the poorer EU countries, still remains relatively easy to live in. KL, I am happy to say, is a place where one can survive, have a good life, with even a little money.
Still, who wouldn't like to live abroad for six months out of the year, eh? Actually, I used to wish I was able to, but now I can only think ofthe hassle that would involve!
Looking forward to coming home.