Okay, moving on...
We have been in Greece now for about 3 1/2 weeks. Since we have been here we have been busy with a few things:
- Paperwork. Wow, lots of paperwork. Not just the paperwork itself, but all the different places you must go to get the paperwork done. We registered our marriage and our family, we obtained tax ids, Nikki renewed her Greek id, we opened a bank account here, etc.
- Car. We searched the newspaper here that everyone uses to advertise their cars to sale. I learned what to look for (it is in Greek) and we eventually found one at a used car dealership. We bought a Chevrolet Lacetti. It is a four door, which is great for Ashtyn, but it is a stick-shift, which is not so great for Nikki. So, I must learn Greek and she must learn to drive a manual.
- Appartment. We searched the same newspaper for an appartment. We made several phone calls and visited about 6 appartments before we made a decision. The one we chose was the right price, a great location, and is newly renovated. Location was an important factor for us for many reasons. Nikki's parents live south of Athens and I'll be going into Athens almost everyday, so we wanted to find a good middle-ground. I also want to use public transportation to get there. Gas, when converted, is about $7.00 per gallon, not to mention Athens traffic and the non-existence of parking in Athens. Besides, it costs .80 euro cents to ride the public transportation here. So, all that said, we found a great place and we move in in just over a week!
- Container. Well, our container made it to Greece. It just made it to a different part of Greece than we expected! We expected it to arrive in Piraeus port on September 24. I got a call that day or the day after that said it had arrived in Astakos Port, on the other side of Greece. We were told this happened because of strikes in Piraeus. They have had a workers strike since January where they have only been working 8 hour days versus 24, and a Customs strike began on the 22nd of September (This also affected the gas situation in the nation which left this part of Greece 95% out of gasoline. One day I waited for 45 minutes for 30 euros of gas). So, the ship was redirected to Astakos port. Piraeus port is just a few miles from our appartment, where as Astakos is on the west side of Greece. So, what does that mean? That means our price doubled! How can we be held resposible for the cost? That is a question I have asked over and over in many different ways. But, at the end of the day, in order for us to get our things, we must pay. Thankfully, Dino (Nikki's dad) has a relative in the shipping business who was able to relieve some of the costs a bit by offering his services for less. So, we are hoping to receive our container on the 11th of this month.
These have been the issues of settling that have taken a good deal of our time. We are very thankful and indebted to Nikki's parents, Dino and Debbie, for all their help. They have helped us when language was a barrier, especially for me. They have also guided us through the different systems and the way things work here that are foreign to me. Heath and Mariko, a couple from Hellenic Ministries, have also been very welcoming and helpful during our transition.
This has been kind of a nuts and bolts update of what we have been up to. I look forward to sharing with you about some of the people we have met, the ministry we are working with, as well as some moments of culture shock.
Matt and Nikki