My Big Fat Greek Adventure – Part I

We’re packing. Tomorrow, early in the morning, our plane leaves Athens, Greece. We’re each checking two bags, and I will be shocked if one doesn’t burst open at the seams. Not only did we buy gifts for friends and family, but friends and family gave us gifts to take home. Needless to say, our bags are *really* packed. Lord willing, our bags will arrive in Spokane tomorrow night and so will we.

I’ve mentioned Mary before. She is the wonderful woman who lives downstairs with her husband, Dimitri, and her two beautiful daughters Athena (called Nana) and Anastasia (called Natasia). I can’t leave out Hercules. He’s their little dog. Mary helped to care for my Auntie Berta. She did it for love and nothing else. For this act of kindness, my family will be forever grateful. We are also thankful for the kindness she continued to show my Mom and I while we were in Greece. Anyway, on Monday, Mary taught me how to make Kataifi. It’s like Baklava but you wrap all the nutty goodness up in shredded nests of phyllo. I’m bringing a couple of boxes home in my suitcase. It’ll be interesting to see how the journey effects the frozen shreds of phyllo. Our project yielded a pan of delicious sweets. I intend to make them for the Jones kids and my staff when I get home.

The other sweet woman who cared for my Auntie Berta is Filio. She lives downstairs with her husband George and her son George. Filio and Mary worked together to help my Aunt out with her everyday needs: Shopping, medical appointments, Medicine, and more. We are thankful to Filio for the care she gave to my Auntie Berta, who could be difficult at times. And thankful for the kindness she showed to my Mom and I while we were in Greece. On Tuesday, Filio went with my Mother and I to visit the cemetery where my four of my family members are buried. On the tomb are pictures of my Pappous (Henry Salvatore Cutayar), my Yaya (Zoe Cutayar), my Uncle Gabriel Cutayar, and my Aunt Berta Cutayar. My Auntie Berta was the “keeper” of the grave site and made sure that the family was represented well. Unfortunately, she didn’t leave enough room on the headstone to acknowledge her own resting place. A separate stone was added with her name and dates, but the main stone acknowledges father, mother, and brother. I took out a piece of paper and wrote “and sister” and tucked it in a space under the stone. I’ll admit, I was a little overwhelmed to see their pictures on a stone in the middle of a cold cemetary. Their lives were so vibrant and the reality of it all was a little difficult to swallow.

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