I've been rather slow finishing up, but here are a few more photos from this week.
To begin with, our Greek classes started up again this week, with Katie, Helen, and Elisabeth being in the same class (and, so far, being THE whole class), Monday afternoons. They were excited to go, but Helen wanted me to stay there, so I did, with the intention of sitting in a corner and reading a book. I did do that eventually, but I first looked around the new-to-us classroom...and lo and behold, there were four hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling! I only managed to get three of them in the photo, but I figure this is as close as I'm going to get to "substitute alternative A", a kite, hot air balloon, or blimp.
While I was at it, I also took a picture of the girls with their teacher, who is wonderful with them:
I continued Thursday morning with a whole series of photos for number 9, a bakery. We have a bakery very close by and I could have taken a photo at any time, but wanted it to be at least a little more interesting, hence the delay. We went there nearly daily for our first year here, until I started making bread for a quarter of the price, and pass it very often on foot and in the car. However, I do not always manage to have as much bread made as my German family wants to eat, so we still buy bread there probably every two or three weeks. Lukas often goes by himself, or takes a younger sister or two, but he was still asleep Thursday morning and Katie begged to go with Helen. I gave them the money and the politechni card (10% discount! :-)) and said goodbye...and then grabbed the camera and slipped out after them.
The first photo, taken while I lean out of our front gate:
After crossing the street, they walked through this pedestrian passageway:
You can just see Helen on the other side of the furthest tree, and you can also see the shadow of me taking the photo. And this is a good illustration of why it's rather difficult to push buggies/strollers/prams/pushchairs in many places in Cyprus, with the trees in the middle of the sidewalks:
Inside the bakery, Katie and Helen turned right, and as I entered the bakery, one of the workers came out from the back, startled to see me--she hadn't heard either the girls or me come in. She apologized and asked if she could help me, and I said, "Shh! My two daughters are there and don't know I'm here!" She grinned and nodded conspiratorially and I took the next photo, then darted out of the bakery as I saw Katie pick up the bread and start to turn back. (It's sad how pleased I was to have managed that exchange in Greek.)
Here Katie and Helen are having the bread sliced and paying for it, and I'm actually standing outside of the bakery:
They were taking a rather long time to come out, and then I realized that they were choosing balloons. If you look carefully, you can see them through the window at the left-hand corner:
Exiting the bakery, where one can sort of see the ΖΟΡΠΑΣ sign:
And finally...they saw me. :-)
The trip to the bakery was only the first activity (not counting my morning walk, which was before that) of a very busy day, and I took the following photo for item number 15, a juggler:
Now that the school year has started again, Thursdays are busy anyway, and that much more so with only one car, as our other car has been out of commission for five weeks now. (The place where we usually take it had been holding it since then, hoping for a used transmission to become available. Wednesday we had it towed somewhere else, where someone thinks he can actually fix it, but he hasn't looked at it yet.)
A little before 9:00, Jörn took Louisa and Helen to LCC, as Louisa had to be there by 9:00 to help set up, and Helen went along because there wasn't going to be room in the car for all of us later. I'd been planning to drive her, but I'd suddenly remembered it was my turn to take the snack for Tots and Co., so I stayed home cutting up carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, apples, cheese, and bread.
Jörn brought the car back and Lukas, Katie, Elisabeth and I got into it while Jörn walked to Dena's house, quite near LCC, as they had to discuss the new art studio.
Here's our one working car: two of the doors don't open from the outside and the paint is peeling in quite a few places, and as of Thursday mid-day it has a few extra bumps and scratches, and five seats aren't really enough for a family of eight (nine with Louisa, who arrived ten days ago and will be here for the next 10 months, helping in the family and doing community service) but it RUNS, and that is GOOD:
We drove to Livadia to pick up Zoe, a three-year-old I take to Tots, and got there not too long after the official starting time of 9:30. It took Jörn another 10 minutes or so to arrive to collect Lukas, Katie, and the car. Normally, Lukas and Katie would be able to stay home on a Thursday morning while I'm out and Jörn runs errands, but Marie had a job interview and Jacob was planning to go to the doctor because his hip hurt.
This photo is of some of the children helping put things away after we were finished:
Then I was supposed to take Zoe home, but accidentally drove to our house...so I let Louisa out, then took Zoe home, running into something being pulled behind a pick-up at the roundabout by Kleima on the way there. The driver got out and asked me if everything was okay. He didn't speak any English, but we didn't have a very complicated conversation. All I could think was "I'm the one behind, so it's my fault, and we only have third-party insurance on this car," so when he wasn't at all upset and said that HIS whatever-it-was was fine, I was quite happy to accept that, and we both drove off. As he turned the corner (and I went straight), I realized that the reason he was so pleasant was that he was definitely pulling something illegally: whatever it was (some kind of farm equipment? a generator? I don't know, and it's doubtful that I would have known even if I'd gotten a good look), it was more-or-less the color of the road, it was quite low (except from the big dent on our hood I can tell it had something long and skinny sticking out just at the level of our hood...), and it had no lights, no license plate, and no warning flag of any kind. I'd certainly been aware of the pick-up truck, but was also watching for traffic from the right so only had it in my peripheral vision and was very startled to feel the bump, when I KNEW that I was a safe distance behind the truck. Oh well. The bumper is a bit pushed in on one side, but the catch on the hood works, as do all the lights. This isn't Germany, so we won't be doing anything about it. (NOT that Jörn was happy about it when I confessed. But it's the first time I've run into another vehicle in over 27 years of driving, so I don't feel too terrible.)
While I was at Tots, Jacob had texted a couple of times to update me on progress at the doctor's. It's strange for me to think that I have children old enough to go by themselves, but Jacob (15) didn't think so at all! He'd gone to the old general hospital, which no longer functions as a hospital, but as a clinic for walk-in non-emergencies. (I'd made EIGHT phone calls the day before to figure out how to use the public health system...up until now, for the rare trip to the doctor, we've gone to a private doctor, then waited three to six months to have our health insurance in Germany reimburse us for part of the cost.) As Jacob has a European health card, the visit cost 2 Euros. He saw somebody without insurance registering, and they paid 20 Euros. Private doctors generally take between 35 and 50 Euros a visit and our health insurance reimburses about 20.
Jacob was diagnosed with tendonitis and given two prescriptions and told to take it easy, no bike-riding until at least Monday. He didn't mention to the doctor that he'd come on his bicycle and was going to be returning on his bicycle...but he HAS been very good since. Very frustrated, as he usually rides around 200 kilometers a week, but he's stayed off the bike.
One of the prescriptions was available at the pharmacy at the old hospital, and they told him he'd have to go to the pharmacy at the new hospital for the other one. (The two prescriptions had a co-pay of 50 cents each, so the entire cost to us was 3 Euros.)
Jacob arrived home just after lunch, not long before 2:00. Since we thought the pharmacy at the new hospital closed at 2:00 (we found out it actually closes at 3:00), I jumped in the car, along with Jacob and Lukas (who always wants to go along for the ride, no matter who is going where), and got there at 1:55, let Jacob out, and parked in the shade, where I sat in the car and read, and Lukas climbed trees:
That's the last photo I managed for the day, but not the end of the juggling.
At 2:45, Jörn, Jacob, Lukas, and I left, leaving Louisa and Marie home with Katie, Helen, and Elisabeth. We dropped Lukas off at his drama class and went to our Greek class, where the three of us make up only 75% of the class instead of 100%, as we did by the end of last year.
At 5:00 Jörn took Marie and Jacob to their drama class and picked up Lukas and brought him home, then went swimming (for exercise--he's been going nearly every single day), came home and we had dinner, and at 7:00 I picked up Marie and Jacob. (They normally get themselves there and back, but Jacob had to be collected because of the tendonitis, so we obviously didn't make Marie walk!)
And I'm sure I'm missing something, besides the usual evening juggling of teethbrushing, drinks of water, books read, and BED, but as this is already so long and so disjointed with all the interruptions I've had, I'm going to publish it now.