Friday, January 12, 2007

RM's Last Hurrah

Well, RM left very early this morning and is currently probably somewhere over the Atlantic.

We had a very nice, simple day on Thursday, his last full day here.

As you can see from the top photo, he took time to relax – play the guitar, pet the cat, take a nap. (Check out the great color that Pelagia and RM painted that wall!)

Around 4 PM, we took the bus downtown to meet our friend Paris when he got out of work at 5.

As we waited for Paris, the sun started to set over the gulf, and it made for a beautiful scene. First, we sat in a park along the paralia (~boardwalk) – see middle photo – and then we strolled along the paralia, along with the other people jogging, riding their bikes, or walking their dogs on this relatively warm, sunny day (see last photo).

Paris took us to Elder Paisios’ monastery in Souroti (about 15 minutes away by car, but 2 hours by bus). We were able to venerate the relics of St. Arsenios of Cappadocia inside the church and the grave of Elder Paisios outside.

Afterwards, RM wanted to treat everyone to a final meal in Greece, so Paris took us about 30 minutes outside the city (east, toward Halkidiki) to a little village called Agios Prodromos – the Holy Forerunner (St. John the Baptist). This tiny village is just lined with traditional Greek tavernas (restaurants). We had a great meal (with LOTS of meat).

It was a nice way to end RM’s visit, I think.

It was great to have him here – a taste of America – especially for the holidays. I think my favorite observation from RM was after he spent two full days with Pelagia looking for a simple replacement part to fix a burner on our stove. After those two days, they still had no burner. They had been to 10 stores – each of which was either inexplicably closed or an employee would tell them confidently: “We don’t have that part. But there’s a store (all the way across town) that will surely have it.” Of course, they only say that so they don’t feel so bad for not having it themselves, and the store across town does NOT have it.

Anyway, RM’s observation was something like: “Now I really appreciate how difficult it is to get anything done over here! When you tell me these stories on the phone now, I’ll have a whole new appreciation!"

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