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the creature formerly known as glis

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Murder! [11 Oct 2004|05:29pm]
[ mood | dumbfounded ]

Last night, sometime between 7 and 4 in the morning, a person was killed a few houses up my road. I had two policemen knocking on my door, they sat with me in the messiest front room ever and filled in a bizarre questionnaire covering mostly details of my appearance. They have been interviewing everybody on the street like this, even though they already have a suspect in custody, they said, and they'll come back tomorrow to talk to G too.

While I sat there on my bean bag describing the length of my hair, I got gradually petrified at the idea of murder. Who was the victim? What sort of person is the murderer? How did they do it? And more importantly, why? How chilling, to think that while G&I were tucked away in our basement, plugged onto our computers, a few doors away somebody would get about such a business. The officers have just gone now, after reassuring me that the questions were mostly to exclude me, and repeating that the suspect is already caught. It starting to get dark and I feel somewhat numb - how do you kill someone? and how scare to get yourself killed.

By association, I was reminded of that other encounter I have had with policemen calling at my home. How different a situation, how grim in both cases. The morning officers, a slender young man and a woman, were just sent out to check on my neighbour, but got their addresses mixed up - or I got them mixed up instead. The guy was probably instructed to break the door down or somehow check the contents of the flat, he considered tiptoeing across the building's border to take a peek inside, but decided it was just too risky at six floors above the ground. Having mixed the flats up, I lulled their inquiries to the point of them leaving. Then when the night fell, a whole team of them came back up again, broke the glass part of the door and into our neighbour's flat. The coroner arrived later, I could see his car parked at the curb and it didn't look like a service vehicle. It took them hours, and when they were done at last, they struggled and strained to curry our neighbour's overweight dead body down the stairs, wrapped in what looked no different to black plastic bin bags. They left the shuttered door open to view. A life gone like that, and nobody noticed, apart from the relative that notified the police about his disappearance.

How different these two stocky blokes doing mere paperwork seemed today. How grave, how heavy, how alarming in reminding me what type of action urban life can include.

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[30 Sep 2004|04:24pm]
[ mood | lethargic ]

Εχτές το βράδυ έχυσα αίμα στα σεντόνια μου, είχε καιρό να μου συμβεί αυτό.

Είδα ένα περίεργο όνειρο - εγώ και ο G είμασταν στην θάλασσα (ίσως!), και κατά τα φαινόμενα πρέπει να είχαμε μια καλλιέργεια με αλογάκια της θάλασσας. Είχαμε μπροστά μας ένα τεράστιο σεντόνι, μπεζ από την μία και δεν ξέρω τί χρώμα από την άλλη. Ήταν ραμμένο διπλά, σαν πάπλωμα, με μικρές τετράγωνες θήκες που ήταν ραμμένες κλειστές. Το μπεζ ύφασμα ήταν σαν χάρτινο, σαν αυτά τα φτηνά τραπεζομάντηλα που πουλάνε για τις γιορτές, και κάθε θήκη είχε μέσα ένα μωρό αλογάκι! 'Ηταν απλωμένο κατά μήκος, με μια ελαφριά κλίση, και πιθανόν το κατώτερο μέρος του να ήταν στο νερό. Δεν θυμάμαι να είδα το νερό, αλλά το όλο κατασκεύασμα έμοιαζε με δίχτυ.

Όλα πήγαιναν ομαλά, με τα αλογάκια να σπάνε το χάρτινο ύφασμα και να διαφεύγουν κολυμπώντας, αλλά κάποια στιγμή αυτό σταμάτησε και ο G είπε οτί τα υπόλοιπα αλογάκια ήταν παγιδευμένα, ή πολύ αδύναμα και δέν μπορούσαν να σπάσουν το χάρτινο φράγμα. Αρχίσαμε με ένα σχετικό πανικό να σχίζουμε τις τσεπούλες, μερικά από τα αλογάκια ήταν ασχημάτιστα, μερικα κολυμπούσαν και φεύγαν κανονικά, μερικές τσέπες ήταν εντελώς άδειες, και μερικές - τι φρίκη! - δεν είχαν μέσα αλογάκια αλλά διαφορετικά ζωήφια, κυρίως ιπτάμενα έντομα που πετούσαν απειλητικά προς τα πάνω μας. Δεν μπορούσα να καταλάβω πώς στο καλό γεννήθηκαν τα έντομα εκεί μέσα, ήταν μάλλον τρομαχτικό αλλά έπρεπε να το αγνοήσω και να συνεχίσω να χαράζω όσες τσεπούλες είχαν απομείνει.

Όταν ήμουν στις τελευταίες τάξεις του δημοτικού (νομίζω), μας είχαν πάει εκπαιδευτική εκδρομή σε ένα ενυδρείο. Εκεί μας έδειξαν ένα ντοκιμαντέρ για τον τρόπο αναπαραγωγής στα αλογάκια της θάλασσας, το οποίο μου είχε κάνει μεγάλη εντύπωση - η κυοφόρηση και ο "τοκετός" του αρσενικού, η εικόνα των μικρών, διάφανων νεογέννητων να επιπλέουν νωχελικά στα ήσυχα νερά γύρω και πάνω από τον κατάκοπο πατέρα, που πιασμένος από ένα κλωναράκι έβγαζε με σπασμούς από την κοιλιά του όλο και περισσότερα αλογάκια-μινιατούρες...

Το Σαββατοκύριακο που κοιμηθήκαμε στην μαμα του G είδα καιάλλο ένα περίεργο όνειρο. Ταξιδευαμε με την οικογενια μου, ειδα κα8αρα τον πατερα μου και την Ναση, αλλα ηξερα οτι ολοι ηταν εκει, ο G και η μαμα μου και ολοι οι αλλοι. Ειμασταν στην εθνικη οδο, οδηγοντας μεσα σε μεγαλη κινηση, οταν ο δρομος μπλοκαρε εντελως - απο μια σκατοθυελλα! Το σκηνικο ηταν ελαφρως επιστημονικης-φαντασιας, καθως η πολη εμφανιστηκε να εχει πολλαπλα επιπεδα και πιθανον ο δρομος να ηταν υπογειος - παντως εκτος απο το βοθρο που ειχαμε κι ολας επανω μας, κα8ως ειμασταν καλυμενοι με βρωμερα κοπρανα (τα αυτοκινητα ειχαν εξαφανιστει τωρα και ολοι οι ταξιδιωτες ηταν με τα ποδια, κολυμπωντας στον βοθρο...) κοιταμε ψηλα - και βλεπουμε το βαρος ενος τεραστιου σωληνα-υπονομου να κρεμεται απο πανω μας! Ενας νεος ειναι ετοιμος να τον σπρωξει για να ανοιξει, μαλλον θεωρωντας οτι το περιεχομενο θα προκαλεσει λιγοτερη βλαβη πεφτοντας απο ο,τι ο σωληνας ολος μαζι...αλλα εμεις απο κατω βλεπουμε καταστροφη, αν το σπρωξει θα θαφτουμε στο σκατο! Σε εκεινη την στιγμη ο πατερας μου αρχισε να φωναζει στον νεαρο οτι 8α πνιγουμε, κι ετσι εκεινος αφησε τον σωληνα στην θεση του, και εκει σταματαει η μνημη μου απο το ονειρο.

Οταν το ειδα δεν ηξερα απο που μου ηρθε τοσο παραξενο ονειρο. Τωρα που το εγραψα ομως, και ειμαι σπιτι μου, καταλαβαινω οτι μαλλον ηταν απο την συζητηση για τον "σκατοσωληνα" που εχει πεσει στην αυλιτσα μας απο την διπλανη ταρατσα. Η μαμα μου παντα πιστευε οτι αμα δεις σκατα στον υπνο σου σημαινει οτι 8α παρεις λεφτα. Αν τα ονειρα βγαινουν αλη8ινα, νομιζω συντομα θα πρεπει να ΧΕΣΤΟΥΜΕ ΣΤΟ ΧΡΗΜΑ! χεχε.

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My almost-official first day at work! [01 Aug 2003|06:34pm]
It's funny how sometimes your life changes over a day. Eric had a word with mε yesterday afternoon, and magically I've been transported from drilling my touch-typing and obsessing over recruitment agencies to a full time job doing for them whatever it is I can do (a bit of everything, that is). All the pressure I've subjected myself to, my mixed feelings about the (already planned) trip back home which would set me back in my job-searching by at least a month, my frustration at being skint and feelings of guilt for having spent 80 quid at Morplan, everything disappeared.

So this was my almost-official day at work. All the years of "playing shop" in my childhood flashed before my eyes as I got terrified by having to confront customers, even to say "Hello, do you need any help?". So far I had been more than happy to file things away and fetch things as needed, take orders from other people in the shop, or even help people in and out of their costumes...but actually helping customers with their buys? Or choosing a costume for them, and putting them in it? Scary stuff!

So what do we have...the most difficult transaction of the day was a woman asking for hair, face and nail glitter. I regret all the times I have been annoyed with sales assistants being slow and daft... One rule I've realised - if you're nervous, your customer will get nervous too. The next one was trying to produce an Aragorn and a Caribbean Something while almost everybody else had disappeared (most of them for lunch, or too busy to take more person on), so I couldn't yell for help. Needless to say I didn't put anybody in costume today, I believe it'll take me at least two months to be able to do that on my own, and even then it'll have to be the ones that come up all the time. But I did get to use a till for the first time in my life! One thing, the people that work there are really groovy, it just makes it all the more exciting to be in the shop. With such co-workers, I don't care what rates they pay me!
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Measuring up strangers [27 Jun 2003|06:29pm]
[ mood | embarrassed ]

A rather small man in a suit came rushing down the stairs while Jackie's absence and asked me if I could measure him for a wedding suit that was going to be made in a different country, different continent. He was getting married in South Africa, and he had been asked for his size. He had only ten minutes to spare but J wouldn't come back for five, she said that I could help him. I sat down writing out a measuring chart, but then realised that I would have to do the measuring myself. It was a daunting experience, having to wrap up the tape around this complete stranger, and the fact that it was a man made me feel even more awkward! I think I must have made him rather nervous as I was nervous, or that he made me nervous because he was nervous to start with. Nearly done, J rushed down too to add the finishing touch, giving a quick inspection to the set of measurements and adding references of his commercial size. I am almost certain I got his inside leg measurement wrong, it was just too embarrassing being on my knees in front of him and taking a measurement that started around his crotch! Hm, talking of crotches, I should make a habit of taking hip measurements to the side of the body than centre front.

One day when I'll be a real professional, I'll be able to grope customers and get away with it :P

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I got an email this morning, an email from someone that's been pushing me away [01 Jun 2003|09:44am]
When I woke up today
And you weren't there to play
Then I wanted to be with you
When you showed me your eyes
Whispered love at the skies
Then I wanted to stay with you

Inside me I feel, alone and unreal
And the way you kiss will always be
A very special thing to me
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Things that grow [30 May 2003|10:07am]
Ludmila, my Russian neighbour, knocked on my door yesterday and asked me to take care of her precious plant for the weekend, while on a swift trip to Paris. She says it's the only one in England, and she doesn't want to let her husband to look after it - she doesn't want to have to ask him for any favours. I can't help but laugh my head off when each of them complains about the other because they are both such characters, almost caricatures of themselves. But in reality it is very sad, both of them are miserable in their relationship. I wish I could get a clearer picture of how it is, because their individual portrayals of the situation hardly match: they are very selective and one-sided when it comes to presenting what is going on. I tend to believe Lud more because she is more down to earth than old Jeff.

The thing I find the most amusing is when Lud says to me "all english men are bastards" - how could I ever agree to that? I've just got married to one less than a year ago! Perhaps I will live to regret it, heh. On the Jeff front, the most hilarious point in his rant is him saying that his wife is a lesbian - because when once she had a friend visiting from back home, the two of them sat in the kitchen and closed the door, left him watching tv on his own! Haha, thinking of his reasoning cheers me up. To finish it off, he also complains that quite a lot of men have their eye on her (as if that's her own fault, heh!).

Both of them will ask if we can hear them quarreling, but the walls are too thick and the only thing we've ever heard from next door is the shrieking of a wardrobe hinge (it must be attached to the wall). Once G did listen to them shouting at each other, while he was waiting for me to answer the door, and that got him *very* uncomfortable, so they must be lethal. But then again, G has very low tolerance levels when it comes to shouting and aggression, so I can't honestly say how epic their quarrels are.

Anyway, I hope the plant will survive my attendance.
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Life in the trenches - of a theatre [16 May 2003|09:23am]
[ mood | excited ]

Aaah! I'm infatuated. Three days and two night so far, helping out backstage on a pro/semi-pro production - my very first. The changing rooms are a floor down, I have to run up and down the stairs and sprint along the corridor a dozen times a night, like a small-scale superman tending to all the minor details that habitually go wrong. Michael says we are but a small cog in the great machine that is a theatre show, a sequin on the fabulous dress of a production. Well, I like that!

On the opening night, Jackie and I went to the theatre early in the morning to do the ironing, I was shown how to iron the visible parts *only* (the fronts of dresses, depending on the act, the pleated breasts and collars on mens' shirts, and so on!). I was sitting there with a spitting steam iron in my hand, and it would have been worse than having stayed at home (lots of iron to do there too) - only while I was doing it, I had entertainers serenading me while warming up their voices for the run-through. In fact, exactly because the dressing rooms are on a different floor, there is a sound system installed where you can hear what is going on on stage all over the wings, gallery, changing and utility rooms. Having live singing at work instead of a cranky radio - now that's what I call a good job.

And I don't even care when the performers are being demanding or whiny or unreasonable or spoilt, and I don't mind picking items up after them - it reminds me of my older sister through childhood and adolescence, heh! The only thing I have to get used to is gay men only talking to other men and ignoring me completely most of the time, but I guess it's ok because the girlies will chat to me anyway.

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HAUNTED [10 May 2003|06:12pm]
Hotel du vin - what, erm, dreams are made of. Memory works in such funny ways.

On Friday evening Tabs and I joined George's workmates in a pub. It must have been the only time that the girls outnumbered the guys, which must have been what I had been wishing for for whole months. By some wicked twist of fate though, this particular climax wife, who to my surprise recognised me and claimed to have met me before (and I thought I never forget faces! heh) reminded me so much of Kake. George agrees on the similarities, he says they both convey some type of vibrant enthusiasm about anything and everything going on around them. Which they do, apart from when they're down.

The whole group wound down to Ship street, to keep her company, have a smoke and satisfy our curiosity concerning the hotel and the suite she was staying in. The whole night she cultivated this Ariadne at Naxos theme, which I couldn't understand how fit the circumstances - I had totally misunderstood why she was there alone, and when it all came clear much later, I reacted badly to that too. To be fair, I was very tired by that time, having spent the whole day running around in Brighton with Tabs. What with the tiredness and smoke, I guess free association was loosely at work. The previous night I had a long talk with Art trying to organise meeting up at the weekend, and he was filling me in his latest involvement with Janet. That had affected me then, and was on my mind now.

So, seeing Emma&Joe talk to each other lying idly on the double bed reminded me of the first time I met Janet. This all came back to me on the taxi ride back home. Janet and Kake in heaven (I wonder what I was doing in heaven, I certainly didn't know noodles or tfm that well at the time), Janet was in a state, crying perhaps and complaining about her fiance, whom I knew nothing about but he must have obviously been very wicked to have brought her to such a state. I remember talking to each other, I have this picture of them two sitting at noodles' room entrance, on the floor, Janet saying something like, you understand it so well, why can't he? and Kake replying "because we are women", then kissing on the lips. It must have been the first time I saw women kiss each other IRL, now that I think of it. At the time I thought it was a silly thing to do in public, and I guess that's how I started feeling awed and at the same time wary of either of these girls.

So much for the girls, that would all have been a bearable, perhaps even pleasant reminiscence. But the image of Janet in a state for her fiance inevitably led to thinking of the fiance himself! Usually when I think of Simon, I always think of the end of the relationship, when he was judging me all the time, or giving me pain, or even later when he refused all contact of any kind. Thinking of this Simon doesn't upset me anymore, it's the way life is. But the memory of Janet chronologically pointed to this mysterious Simon that I went after and fell for. It reminded me of how much I wanted him back then, it reminded me how it felt to want him, how my heart would leap everytime I'd see him. How we spent hours looking into each others' eyes, and how he closes his eyes like he swoons when he looks at his loved one. The picture of him doing that still turns me on now - and makes me sad, too. I do wonder how much of the attraction I felt for Simon was exactly because he was Janet's ex. Perhaps she was right for making my short-lived affair with him misery, the witch war might have been what I was really after.

There were six of us in that posh hotel "room", we had a tv and a cd player, I had a copy of the Big Issue, with free CD, and we just played that. It was conveniently long, and the most mesmeric of tunes in it was chanting every hour: "..think about..all those things you feel...just be glad to be here..."

To top off my bad mood, when Jackie called in the afternoon (about an hour after I had woken up), I felt like she was accusing me of laziness for not having shown up at the shop on Saturday morning. Purely my imagination, I am sure, nobody should read between the lines when they are paranoid. Actually, neither should you.
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Friday night, staying in [04 Apr 2003|10:51pm]
Continuing on the cryptic entrances...

..ICQ's horoscopes are worse than fortune cookie strips. I wish I could phone you but I don't know your number.
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If I had a photograph of you... [31 Mar 2003|10:30pm]
[ mood | melancholy ]

I don't need to
be reminded - how you dealt Love,
then you killed Love

I don't need to
be reminded - how you got my boat rocking
then set it on fire

I saw you today, you were not smiling
I saw you on my electric machine
I saw you today, with a friend

And she doesn't know, and I don't know
it's only you that knows:
that's how you deal Love
and also kill Love.

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Just a dream? [04 Mar 2003|09:48am]
I saw L in my sleep again last night - or even this morning. He had taken me out for a meal. The outing also involved breaking in some houses in the middle of the night, actually one of them reminded me of the deserted houses we used to play when I was a child. Well, the ground floor (or was it underground) was like that, while the first floor was a typical uk bedroom type of floor, with a staircase landing and everything. Hm, minus the carpet.
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love my corduroy, hate my invitations [19 Apr 2002|11:38pm]
[ mood | anxious ]

An invitation arrived for me yesterday just before I left for work, it was sent from the British Embassy via a courier. The guy that did the delivery looked at me in a funny way. I wondered if he was to deliver the whole pack of invitations to all sorts of Oxonians, and how I compared to the rest of the guests.

I have to reply to this invitation - I really don't want to go, but of course my father thinks I should. Me, I just get nervous about formal invitations. I don't know anybody there, I've got nothing to wear, and I'll be among people that know about politics, have spent half their lives in academia, and have all sorts of resonant titles not only after but also before their names! The simplest of guests will probably be young people with postgraduate studies who are now building on a high-end career here, while I'm just an under-achieving commoner with nothing to wear! What a nightmare.

I guess it is an honour to receive invitations to parties by such people, but even after all these years of having to do this, I still feel like I don't belong there. I think I'll just phone up M. to see if she'll go - but I doubt she'll be in Athens at the time, she's doing postgraduate studies somewhere in London or even France.

------------------

On another note, A. brought to me his trousers to mend last night. They were a worn-out pair of Trussardi jeans, wripped along the knees, and he said that he wanted them patched and didn't mind what they'd look like, as he'd be wearing them on the fishing boat, heh. He wanted them done in an evening, which I thought was out of the question, especially as I didn't have any jean fabric to cut out patches for it.

I went looking for something appropriate at the stacks of fabric remnants piling up in my room, and have spotted a few heavy cottons which I'd put in the inside, when I remembered of a single leg out of a blue corduroy pair of trousers that I've kept when I was planning to test out sewing with cord. I brought it to light and seperated the two pieces of the leg, put each piece on the front legs of the jeans pair. It was a perfect match, especially as the cord fabric was horribly worn out too.

I applied some (somewhat light) iron-on interface directly onto the tears, and then covered the whole front legs with the cord trouser legs (from a bit below the pocket seam to under the knee, which edge I shaped in a half a circle). I stitched the big pieces of cord with blueish-purple zigzag, then I did a few very narrow stitches vertically on the big patches, and lots of shorter stitches one next to the other where the tears lay. The nifty thing was that by sewing the stitches in between the cord's ribs, I got them to be almost invisible - apart from the places were I got a bit off, or where the ribs where so worn out that the cotton base of the fabric showed through.

In the end I got told off for using the machine so late at night, everybody got fed up with me sewing away. A. hadn't really asked for so detailed a work but I could see that he was intrigued and interested in seeing me making a whole new desing out of his comfortable pair of jeans. I told him that the next tear certainly won't be along the front, so he should watch his back from now on!

This must have been the most exciting mending project I've ever done - mending jobs are usually boring and a drudge - and I got satisfied with the result too (I hardly ever do, these days). In fact it made me think again on producing garments by designing on top of ones : I've grown to hate this because of having made so many alterations! But this specific trick was a lot of fun to do. I suspect I enjoyed it so because it was done on casual wear.

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Death, criticism, and foreign affairs [14 Apr 2002|04:11pm]
Our cat was found dead last Sunday, my sister's husband found her lying under his car while the two of them were ready to drive off. My sister really hated it, she was crying her eyes out and really couldn't stop, she really liked that cat. At the time, I was trying to muffle my giggles at her being so sensitive, and also trying to pacify her but she was severely shaken. She wanted to stay behind and bury the cat somewhere in the garden, but it was 2am at the time and we wouldn't let her deal with anything like that anyway, as she's pregnant. I think she was even more sad as because of her pregnancy she hadn't been able to pay much attention to the cat or have any contact with it at all - a couple of nights ago the cat came and sat in her place, but of course we had to chase it away, that's how things were for the last few months.

Anyway, the two of them drove off and left the cat sprawled across the driveway, and of course I felt compelled to take it away somehow so that it wouldn't make a grim first-thing-in-the-morning sight for the neighbours and my mother. I put plastic gloves on and took the largest paper bag I could find, went outside and handled the snow-white corpse of the cat in the middle of the dark night. It was bloody heavy, or maybe it seemed so because it was so rigid, she must have been lying dead under the car for the whole day. I shoved the cat in the bag, but as she was frozen in one position, I couldn't get to cover part of the hind legs and most of the tail. I just left it to the side of the garden on the ground, while thinking of the black comedy I had coincidentally seen the previous night : a gangster sawing off a corpse's arm to make it fit in its otherwise luxurious coffin. There's nothing quite like rigor mortis.

----------------------

I had the boss come and sit in during one of my classes on Monday, and then she came to me to offer some advice/moan about my teaching. She said that I shout too much while in the classroom, and that creates havoc and gets the students to shout too. She just told me to take it easy, as all the strain must be tiring for me too, and I told her I'd try but that I wasn't sure whether it'd be as productive, heh. I also told her that the reason I raise my voice because the four people occupying the first two desks never stop whispering/talking to each other, which creates a wall of sound right in front of me.

In fact I was very annoyed at her comment, as she knows that this particular class is problematic - it's a dozen fourteen-year-olds, some of them quite vibrant. The guys placed on the first desks are there because they just have a ball during lessons if they don't get invigilated all the time. When I took the job at the beginning of the academic year, I wasn't meant to teach this level (as I had no previous teaching experience), but this class was handed down to me because the person that taught them before had had enough of them. So I felt a bit hard done by for being judged on how I deal with this madness.

This has thrown me off : is it that I don't accept criticism easily? Am I too egotistic to listen to advice from people who know better? I've always liked to think that I am very open to criticism, no matter where it comes from, so I was badly challenged by seeing the way I reacted to my boss' whining and how I felt afterwards. Maybe I don't take criticism as well as I like to think I do!

But in fact, I think what made me so upset is that her comments almost always sound like accusations. She even mentioned that she asked the person that teaches in the next classroom is she gets disturbed by my noisy classes, which I thought was insulting. The two classrooms are seperated by what looks like a thin wooden wall, and I was concerned about the noise travelling too so I had asked the other teacher months ago if we disturbed her, and she said it's not that bad. What she said to our boss is that she's used to it, which I know would come from the teacher's mouth as a polite answer, but in fact the boss did make it sound like an insult too. Basically she has a knack for making me feel like a failure, at times.

For the rest of the week, I taught following a voice-level awareness scheme - and had a word with the students to, a combination of steps that worked very well. But overall I feel that this woman really will never get satisfied with what she gets out of me, because she can't really pinpoint what exactly she's after. She's a perfectionist, but instead of setting the goal in front of me beforehand, she comes and comments on how I've done afterwards. Maybe it's my fault too, maybe if I wasn't so competent she wouldn't keep demanding more of me ;) But in any case, what it all boils down to is that can't demand from your employee to be a wonder-teacher when you have them working for peanuts.

----------------------

Towards the end of the week I got a phonecall from my father-in-law-to-be, he had been over for almost two weeks at the time but he had gone off on his own doing his thing (which is, visiting archaelogical sites and other ruins). He did call me when he first arrived, but he sounded like he didn't feel like getting it touch much, in fact he gave me the impression that he wanted to hang up - maybe he did, he might have been running out of phone credit for all I know. But this time round, he was very eager to meet, go on walks together, and even visit my parents at home. I thought it was having spent over a week alone in a foreign land that broke him, and made him appreciate some English-speaking company ;)

We settled to go on an excursion, and after considering a few alternatives, we decided to head for Aegina. This is a small island a few kilometres away from Athens, and one of the reasons why we chose to go there was because we were going to take the boat there. We were lucky that the day was brilliant, the sun was bright and in fact it got too hot in the afternoon. We visited the famous temple of Aphaia, a somewhat poor museum (that only had its leaflets in Greek and German, heh!), and the site near the main port of the island. Dad-in-law wasn't very impressed with it, as he had just spent ten days touring the three most spectacular mainland sites, but it was a nice day and we soaked in the leisurely rythms of the island.

It was very interesting spending time alone with him, I think we matched up well as travelling companions. We were dead beat by the end of the day though, we could hardly talk to each other. But we did talk so much, during the day - we talked about all sorts of things, in fact this guy always impresses me, he can get personal when you least expect it. Being the queen of noseyness that I am, I find it somewhat scary the rare few times when I get people lead me so far in that make me back off! Especially with Englishmen I am always used to playing the opposite role, actually digging or seizing the place. *sigh*

Anyway, all that was on Thursday, and he got to stay the night at our home too. On Friday night him, B. and I went out together, I thought he'd be cool about it (I tend to think of him as young, as he's quite mobile and -most importantly- single), but the evening got a bit off as he sort of played the father-card on us. Oh well. B. was a laugh too, she wanted to meet him but in fact I think got too self-conscious in the end, as she was expecting somebody a lot more "middle-aged". As my older sister commented, it was good that N.(my younger sister) talked to him with her rusty English, for B. -who was brought on for this cause - proved out to be too silent, hahaha.

-----------------------

This exhausting week led to an exhausting "marathon night out" on Saturday night. It was the usual configuration (L, B, me and L's friend G. who had a flight to catch at dawn, going to the US on a business trip!), but we joined a group of G's friends, one of them stuck around with us even when G. had already left for the airport.

This guy - whose name I can't recall even though we were introduced and all - came and commented on my attitude a couple of times. The first time was when we were with the rest of his group, and I kept staring at the group's girls dancing, with the usual smile on my face. He came over and started talking to me about that - I told him how it often gets me in trouble when I'm in the UK. Then, a couple of hours and bars later, we were at this quite popular club when the dj started playing greek music, and everybody went wild (apart from B who was dismayed, of course, and the rest of us that were half-laughing at it, though we were caught in it really). I was amazed to see how these people behaved - I don't go to such places that often, so I was literally staring at was going on. Some of the dancing that was going on I found shocking, and also there was this girl that was dancing on a sort of a balcony above and slightly behind us, that only had a bra on. What were the chances? Of course I'd stare at her! It's good entertainment, if nothing else. Well I also made a fuss about it, and this guy reached over and said "you're more excited about this than I am - and I'm a man!". I thought this was hilarious, and I wanted to repeat it to B. that was too far away to hear it, but unfortunately I won't be able to share such jokes with her anymore, it's funny when she'll be making innuendos following the sentiment of the joke.
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CATERPILLAR [06 Apr 2002|04:03pm]
[ mood | pensive ]

My sister was here last night, Ares and her spent the night over. I was glad to see her - although I've been back for two weeks now I hadn't met her at all, as they always come to visit in the afternoons when I have to go to work, or don't feel like sticking around them shouting if it's too late in the night. But yesterday she was alone, and we sat around talking and watching tv, we saw "american beauty" on video too, which lasted till 5am.

It's strange to see her, she's the same in every way she could be, but still different now, she's got a husband and a pregnancy. Her belly shows now, she has an impressive figure even though she moans that she's put on too much weight.

The whole deal made me think how difficult realising our own selves is. I feel like my whole life is a struggle to define myself - an endless plight, as by the time I've pinned the essentials down, me is not old me anymore. It's not that I change too much too often, it's just growing. I can't stop it, neither would I want to - I just wish I could have a bit more understanding of what I am going through :|

So here I am, peering backwards and squinting forwards, trying to note the clues and make something of them.

--------------

I keep trying to remember what happened to me during my adolescence. A few years back I flicked through all the journals I have kept at the time, and it just made me feel very sad for the girl that wrote them. But although I could even remember myself writing them, going through all the things that were mentioned in there, I could even recognise my own handwriting (despite successfully having forced myself to change it at one point), I couldn't really recognise myself in any of it! Too much time has passed and I'm not that girl any more, and I can't even remember how she was.

I have had the same problem with my childhood too, but meeting G has helped regain a contact with that era of my life. It's also nice now that I get to spend time with my childhood friends, because even though we are all grown-ups now, we can all remember ourselves as we were when we were little children, and actually refer to that quite often, especially when we are trying to illustrate a point about our behaviour, character, traits. But I also spend time with B who is a friend from our teenage years, and there simply isn't any comforting there, the views we have of each other as teenagers are unfavourable - when they are not fuzzy.

--------------

What scares me about this dark patch in my past is that I've caught myself matching it up with the "dark" - that is, hard to discern - future. I've been scared for some time now of all the changes that will take place in my life as of July this year. I've got a strong reference point which is G, but the rest of my world will either be left behind or get substituted by something else.

Another passage. Hope and pray that what I will find of me on the other side will be closer to my daydreams than to my nightmares.

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Switch your eyes on, Dawn's breaking [25 Mar 2002|05:34am]
Freaky morning, I can see the sickly light that makes the view visible but grey. I am on top of Sheridan building, a building with a name, and I'm higher than Brighton's rooftops. You can't tell the difference between the cloudy sky and the sea, it's all the same greyish blue colour, rather disappointing. I want my days to be blazy after I've spent the whole night up.

Still wondering what I am doing here, the answer has to be, passing time. Keeping ?company to the four people remaining of the team, working still on a deadline that seemingly has already past. This office is lovely at afterhours though. Gloomy, with the cold blue monitor screen light as the sole source of illumination, with blinds half-drawn on the sloping windows. A bit like an oversized loft with too many computers :-}

Oh, and what a day this new one is.
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Friday night out [09 Mar 2002|07:09pm]
As if the children party was not enough, I had promised B we'd go out together on Friday night. All in all the outing tired me very much. We went to a certain alternative/somewhat goth place down the center, the music was very nice and the people looked good, but everybody was posing and nobody was dancing. In fact, there was no space to dance there either *sigh*

B and I have a particular sequence of actions that we follow everytime we go out. First of all we go to a club or bar that we are not very familiar with. We have the first drink or two there, and when we get fed up by the posers, we get in the car where we always listen to very exciting music on the radio. This gets us high, and even though we "are supposed" to be returning home, we opt to drive down to the port instead, where we go to two particular bars. These are places playing rock music, they attract a very particular type of a customer and in general aren't very popular with the mainstream people. We like going there because people are friendly, they tell us wacky stories, and we can dance to our hearts' content without becoming the center of attention!

But last night we were out with Leo and his friend, that I've known him from school too. L has been down the port shops once or twice, and really disliked it - mostly because many of the people that go to those shops are not very well groomed (hehe). So after we left the first place, they really refused to go to the port, we tried another bar in the center instead. That one was fairly empty, because it was well past 2am by the time, and people were heading somewhere else :D We stayed there for a while, had another drink, and then left to head for home.

While getting in the car, I was joking about "going for an alcotest now", and in fact a few blocks further down the road we were indeed stopped, for the third time in the last few months! Luckily enough, B wasn't all that drunk to get fined, but she got a bit disorientated (ahem) because of the test -you know how it gets when you have to deal with cops- that a couple of turns away she fell onto a taxi driver, and created a little bump underneath her front light. Sigh. Leo was quite shocked, but all in all I think it was all for good because next time we can argue that everything would be under if they'd agree to follow us to our place of choice ;)

All in all, I sometimes wonder why I bother going out at nights. We don't seem to find a place where we belong - that is, feel at ease, like the music and generally have a good time. Of course, I've been on edge for the past few weeks so it's quite a challenge to feel at ease even if I stay at home. Last night, my nervousness manifested itself through my hair-do : I wore my hair in a bun, and I kept fighting with it pretty much all night. The irony is that in the end I put it up again while in the car, and then slept with my hair up and the bun didn't move, it was intact in the morning.

I felt tired in the morning, so I skipped my dance class again - I had to give it a miss last week as I was away for my sister's wedding. Oh well, I've had a nice rest today!
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Keep your masks on [09 Mar 2002|06:58pm]
I had an exceptionally stressful day yesterday - it all started a couple of days ago when my boss announced the language school was going to have a dress-up party (sort of customary around this time of the year). Some of my students persistently asked me to get dressed myself, which threw me in a really difficult situation : I didn't want to let them down, but at the same time I had nor the energy nor the mental disposition to dress up.

OK, so I like dressing up in smart clothes, and I like dressing up when I have to pull off a particular role in my real, serious life. But dressing up for fun or to obscure my identity really causes me to feel nauseous! I spent a couple of days in self-torment, then I heard that the rest of the teachers were dressing up too, so I realised I didn't really want to be the only straight-faced, no-fun teacher that always keeps up appearances. I overcame myself and thought I'd dress up as something fun. I rented a rabbit costume, it was a very cute job with its pink nose, wide eyes and its wire-supported sticky ears. I knew it was going to be a hit with the younger children.

Having sorted out my outfit really didn't make me feel any better - I could feel my stomach tied in a knot, all day until the moment I walked into the party. After that it was quite easy, I danced a bit with the kids but then took off the mask and sat with the older students. I was quite satisfied to see the reaction of some of my students when I emerged from the rabbit costume, who really hadn't realised or expected that was me :D

In general, it was funny to see the younger children's reactions. Most of them couldn't stop staring, they'd come near and stand there looking as if they were mesmerised! Of course, there was at least one child that couldn't stop pulling my little tail, which was fairly annoying as I was worried it'd fall off completely! I knew I'd have tail-tagging problems as it's almost instinctive, but my sister had assured me that the pupils wouldn't have the familiarity required to reach for my rump. Obviously we didn't allow for some kids's audacity - it was the same ones that couldn't stop throwing balls of paper serpantines onto our faces, just because we were teachers. But these were the exceptions, the rest of the children were under the spell. On the way back I had handed the mask over to a boy to wear, and a little child approached him and kissed him! I thought it strange and asked the boy why he did that, it was only the boy underneath (dressed as a ninja fighter, too), but the child said that he had kissed the rabbit, hahaha. It was so sweet.

Innocence aside, I had a tough moment when a fourteen-year-old student of mine came over and sat on my lap, throwing an arm around my neck. It must be my filthy mind, but I couldn't help remembering how she had suggested that I should dress up as something male so that I would be her escort for the night. I really must be careful at all times with the older students in particular, because our roles get blurred on certain occassions. One of my students' friends that had come along to the party commented on how "I don't look like a teacher", when we were introduced. My natural reaction is to get flattered when I hear things like that, but when I think it over I get dissatisfied. Students have friends of their own, they really don't need to turn a friend out of their teachers too!

In fact, I dislike myself for wanting to be friends with these teenagers, I think it is very unprofessional! But I do find it quite hard to strike a balance, and I always find myself torn. My boss herself is older and quite concervative, and the rest of the teachers seem more removed - I don't know how they manage, maybe it's just that the accumulating years of teaching make you get less and less enthusiastic about your students.

This issue perplexes me quite a bit. Last night some of the boys in the class requested that I would attend a football match for support. He and a few others of my students are in my old high school's team. I arranged to meet with some of the girls from class so that we could go together. I must feel I am doing something wrong, because I had a dream about it when I slept - I saw that I was asking my boss (the ultimate figure of authority!) whether it was ok that I had told the kids I was going to attend the match. And her response was that it was ok, but that I'd have to behave myself and that we needed to go together, haha. Which spoiled it for me, in my dream, because I wanted to go and mix with the students instead :)

In any case, me going to the football match might make it up for the time I didn't go to see them parade on a national celebration day ;) I'll see how it goes.
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Pattern blues [14 Feb 2002|01:22pm]
I dislike being under stress. My older sister's marriage is due in the very beginning of March, and my mother keeps pressing me to finish the pattern for the dress my younger sister will wear at the occassion. The seamstress that is going to make it is pressing my mother, and my mother is pressing me. My sister doesn't co-operate : she is not patient in fittings, in fact we've only had one fitting, and a fight at the same time.

That is what happened last night. I don't care about the fight because we often talk abruptly to each other when we get annoyed, and it really doesn't mean much. But I got downhearted because I felt inadequite in the fitting itself. Of course, it is not easy to concentrate on something so demanding when you have somebody snapping at you, and at least this time I had a vague idea of what I should be doing. And I did it, but I still don't believe that what changes I have made are correct. I can't trust myself with it. All in all, after the fitting I felt I had taken a step backwards than forwards in making my sister a well-fitting bodice :( I felt like a failure. I still can't decide whether I should disregard the changes I've made, and continue drafting using the original sloper (which is the bodice as I drafted it, following the tried-and-tested formulas which, alas, may not -and do not, for that matter- fit my sister's body).

So I was sad when I went to bed. It was a mistake that we did the fitting that late in the night (it was already 2am at the time, and we were both fairly tired), but when you are pressed for time you have no real option. The whole event sort of reminded me of those nights in Oxford when I'd cry myself to sleep feeling horribly inadequite, because I was pressed for time and couldn't get through my weekly workload. I guess I should just aim to do as little as possible, and then I'll be a happy person! ;) A happy lazy person.

------------------------------------------

Bessy also came round last night, she needed to scan and email a document. Once we finished, we started on a website crawl, trying to spot pictures of particular people - friends from Oxford - that she's heard a lot about but has never seen. We got interrupted and chased away from the machine just as I had skirted Simon's website, one that I doubt I had seen before, and my curiosity couldn't be sustained.

I went back the following day and had a proper look around it, looked through a couple of pictures - I was reminded once more that some emotions do live as if they have a life of their own. Why should I get so emotional when I see his face? Given that we had such a violent, messed-up break up, and that it was my own "conscious" choice to move away from him, I shouldn't still melt at the sight of him. It's disconcerting not being able to get in the role of "the bitch" to the full extent.

Or is this just nostalgia for what you once had but have lost? Or is it the memory of the body, that triggers its own responses to the sight of the "beloved"? Or is it the signals that the brain gets from the recently amputated member? Ghosts, that's what ex-lovers are. They dwell in my thoughts like fleshless creatures that feed on feelings. I don't usually have any regard for the fact that these correspond to people still alive. I don't particularly like being reminded that either. I won't have it that we were once so close but ended up being strangers.

Here's to lovers that never part.
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[31 Jan 2002|01:12pm]
[ mood | elated ]

I did have a
fantastic day in the previous week - schools were closed on
the 30th of January, so my good friend Bessy wanted
to go on an excursion, and Leonidas was added to the
group as well. We were heading for Nauplion, and while
on the road to Argos we were consumed by uncertainty
concerning our route (we didn't have a map with us). At that
time and while we were wondering were we were going,
we saw the sign pointing to Mycenae, and naturally
we all felt the urge to visit. I am ashamed to say
that I've never been to Mycenae before (that I can
remember, because my parents claim to have taken me there
when I was ?young). The magnificence of the place is
unbelievable, whatever I might have read about it or whatever
reproductions I might have seen really hadn't given me the
faintest idea of how awesome the site is. We were
particularly lucky that we only encountered very very few
other visitors - while in the "tholos" tomb in
particular, we were practically alone, the three of us, with
that huge dome towering over us, testing the bizarre
acoustics without anybody else's sounds interfering. It all
reminded me of a passage Henry Miller had written about
the place, unfortunately I've lended the book to
George so I can't give a reference.

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MIXED MARRIAGES - MIXED EMOTIONS [18 Jan 2002|10:05am]
It's St. Athanasios' feast day today, how appropriate of me to be having
thoughts on the nature of christian religion. I spent the whole day yesterday
dwelling on the complications that G not having been christened brought to the
planning of getting a religious wedding. The date and time are now set, it's
three sevens.

It was the first time that it really sank in that as a Christian I am not
allowed to marry a non-christian. Of course, a true christian wouldn't want to
marry outside their own religion. I knew that much in the past, this made me
think of a discussion I've had while G's brother was visiting at athens - we
were sitting in a cafeteria one morning, him, his greek friend, bessy and
myself, and I remember how I was declaring that I wouldn't marry say a muslim
or a budist, because, even though I may respect their culture and religion, it
would probably mean that I would have to give up mine if I wanted to give my
marriage a fair chance of being stable, and I wouldn't be able to do that
without loosing a component part of what makes myself up.

That's all well, and somewhat easy to compute because the example is gross -
it's an extreme. (Imagine me with a muslim, or a budist, or a hindu, I'm sure
it would take me decades to get to understand them enough to get to relate to
them seriously enough to want to marry them.) But the example I got in real
life is too subtle : a man that has received a christian education, but is not
really a christian. Strictly speaking, I am allowed to marry a christian of a
different denomination (that has been christened in the name of the holy
spirit, I think, and as long as I marry him in a ceremony within my own
tradition, not theirs!), but I am not allowed to marry a person that has not
been baptised. Visiting the priest yesterday to book a church, he made it sound
like the most important part of this is that the groom is not married to
somebody else at the moment (that's not only a religious rule but also a
socio-political one, so I won't question that here). I don't know if they'll be
as strict with us as to demand a certificate of baptism too, in order to perform
the wedding.

------------

Now, all these have caused me to ponder a bit (once again) on the nature of
organised religion, with a focus on my place in it. G said how he doesn't like
that organised religion seems to be forcing things on him. But in fact it is
that these things are forced on _me_ : I am a member of a church, and if I wish
to remain so I should follow certain rules. If I break the rules, I will be
expelled from the group and not recognised as an organic part of it. For
example, in the event of me marrying a non-christian, or marrying a christian
in a ceremony of his denomination, if I receive communion from another
denomination's service etc etc etc, I lose the benefits of being able to
receive communion in my own denomination, being eligible to stand witness at a
wedding or christening, and so on. Basically, I am not allowed to take active
part in the life of the orthodox church (I am mostly dwelling on practicalities
here, I don't have the strength to try and explain what this expelsion would
mean on a theological level).

Now, all that makes sense : if you've slipped away enough to go cover your
religious needs in another church's services, then it is obvious that you are
not a part of your old church anymore. You just cannot practice different denominations
here or there, is all they say. And in truth, if a person was indifferent enough or otherwise
inclined to mix and match between churches, it really shouldn't make any
difference to them whether they wouldn't be allowed to participate in the life
of one particular church. But here comes the paradox...

I say I want to have a religious wedding - if I was to go to the registry
office there would be no problems with G's religious status. But our marriage
wouldn't be sanctioned by god, you know? ;) If I was to go to an anglican
church and have the wedding done (not an option, but mentioning it here for the
sake of the argument), the marriage *would* be sanctioned by god, but then I'd
be denied communion in my own denomination. For some strange reason, this made
me feel annoyed - I say it's strange, because I haven't received communion for
well over a decade now. What difference could it make if I was not allowed to
receive it, when even now that I am technically allowed to I never do? (I guess
all this has just brought to surface a lot of unclasified thoughts and emotions
concerning the issue. I was reminded of a terrible experience in an evangelican
church service I attended with Simon while at Oxford.)

------------

Leaving theology aside, I was somewhat surprised to realise how marriage in
Greece is regulated by the church, while in England it is regulated by civil
forces. To my western thinking, what happens here is an anomaly. But then
again, to my own thinking I can see why it would be necessary that weddings
should be a church matter. Having civil forces deal with it makes marriage feel
like it is (only?) a social contract, say, like setting up a businness with a
partner. In that case, what is so serious and deep about it? Why shouldn't I be
allowed to set up more than one of these business if I've got the time,
strength and ability to be involved in more than one? Why should I cherish this
contract as unique and protect it's validity with all my strength?

I am not saying that a religious wedding would deter me from getting a divorce,
because I wouldn't want to break up from G even if we never got married at all.
(Besides, there are no marriage vows included in the orthodox wedding service
:) But it just seems to me that it is not unless I see the marriage union in the light of
my religion that it gains the depth that I feel it does have. I do believe that
there is a mystery in marriage, that there is metaphysical powers regulating
it, and that whenever two people (especially when it is a man and woman)
get married for the right reasons (and I won't expand on this right here), a
little miracle is performed. And miracles don't happen without a God.
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