Well, believe it or not, but we finally got our new phone line on Monday. I will have to admit, this was probably the first time I have ever been nearly brought to tears by getting a phone line. Unfortunately, that is not where this saga ends.
I called home yesterday to talk to Ginger and as we were talking, we heard the old rotary dial tones coming through on the line. Hmmm… That was a bit strange, so I told Ginger I would hang up and call her back. When I called her back, the line was busy. I tried a couple of more times and got the same thing. So I called her back on her cell phone and had her try to call me. Surprise, when she picked up the home phone, she heard somebody talking on it!
So as I was sitting at home last night (with Ginger having driven in to base to use the Internet), the phone rang once and then quit. Thinking that was odd, I went over and picked it up and surprise – a couple of people were speaking in Greek on our telephone line. They hung up while I was on the line, so I decided to try calling my number from my cell phone to see what happened. It rang once, twice, and on the third ring, a Greek lady answered my phone!
This morning I talked to Christina in our phone office, who has been helping me get this all sorted out this past week (definitely one of the benefits of working where I do). I explained to her the latest situation. So, she waited a little while (8 is a little early in the morning to call somebody) and then called my number and of course, the Greek lady answered. It turns out that the lady that is answering our phone is the same lady whose phone number we were given originally! Imagine that!
So, the phone company has been notified and we will see where it goes from here. I am just hoping that this doesn’t interfere with the order I placed yesterday for Internet access.
Or is that an exercise in frustration? For those that have been waiting to hear from us on the phone, you’re just going to have to keep on waiting… We have been waiting now for well over a month to get a phone line in our house. Unfortunately, things don’t work that quickly here in Crete. When we first moved in, the phone company was shut down due to riots going on with the shooting of a teenager by the police. Apparently, some folks thought it would be good to target the phone company as well and destroyed the building and all the computers in it. So, thinking I would be smart, I decided to try putting in an order for the phone line through the online system. After all, that works everywhere else I’ve been; why not here? I received a call the next day and was told that I would have a phone within 2 days. Believe it or not, I actually did. I was so excited that I was able to get that taken care of without the hassle of dealing with the local phone company in person.
Hello everybody! For those that have been tracking us through email and Facebook, you will know that we are finally moving in to a house here in Crete. Yes, that’s right – after 2 weeks in a hotel in Germany, 3 months in a hotel here, we are finally settling in to what is going to be the Barker house for our stay here on the beautiful island of Crete (however long that ends up being). The movers dropped everything off on Monday and we have been busily unpacking everything since then. The house here is MUCH smaller than the one we came from in Germany and we thought we had gotten rid of enough stuff before moving here, but apparently not. When the movers were unpacking everything and putting it into the house, one of them joked that while we had 10 crates worth of stuff, we had a house big enough for 5! Fortunately we are finding places for just about everything, though a few of the items we brought will get turned into firewood instead of getting put together. Oh well, probably didn’t need it anyways, right?
This week has been relatively disruptive. The death of the teenager in Athens has been a platform for others to launch into riotous acts. Crete is also experiencing some of that trickle-down mob mentality. Matt shared a remark that a Greek woman had made to him, which is poignant and perhaps a little extreme. She said ” . . . this puts us back 500 years.” The woman was rightfully upset because her countrymen/women are engaging in the worst civil dispute in decades. The riots in Los Angeles come to mind. I remember the self proclaimed experts on network news programs predicted that civil rights would be a monumental setback for our nation. Granted, I was still a snot-nosed kid back then. I’m not sure, but from my seat I think their prediction missed the mark. Not entirely, but it did not lead to wide-spread panic or dehumanization for our country. At least no more than there had been. When we think of humanity we often forget that we are a collective species. We think and behave to fit in with our peers. This social learning is usually an upward development process, but not always. We seem to forget that bad things can and do happen. It is unfortunate, but we must realize that we are not independent from our Maker. It is He who determines what we will or will not be capable of. We are capable of love and we are capable of self-destruction. This is how He brings us closer to Him. I don’t know about you, but I would rather live a life without harming others and forcing myself into total darkness. When I see pictures of the wreckage in Athens, I see darkness. It saddens my heart to know that this ancient land is full of Christians who do not know Christ and the freedom that He offers.
Today is gonna be a good day! How do I know that, you wonder? Because no bad day ever starts out with a good pillow fight, that’s why!
Well, my journey is almost over. I took a plane yesterday morning to Athens, took a taxi to a bus station to catch a bus to Volos. When I got to Volos, I went to the customs broker’s office to get my car, but it turns out that the customs office was closed for the day – at 2:00 in the afternoon! Where do I get one of those jobs?
So, I stayed overnight in Volos, got up early and ate breakfast, then headed down to the port to pick up my car. I was told to be there around 8:00, so I gave it a little extra time and got there about 8:20. I called the lady I was supposed to meet and SURPRISE – she wasn’t in yet. So, I stood out by the gate freezing my butt off for a half an hour then called again. Uh, not there yet… So, I waited another half hour and finally got in touch with the right lady. Only it turns out I was at the wrong gate. So, she sent a guy on a scooter to pick me up; that was fun!
Got to the office, spent about an hour or so there just waiting and waiting and finally I could get my car. Okay, so back on the scooter and out to my car. I quickly checked the car out and headed out down the road back to Athens. It was actually pretty uneventful. I’m glad I’ve been working out the Greek alphabet, though, because without that I would not have recognized the word Athens on some signs. That would have sucked!
Anyways, I made it to Athens, then over to Piraeus to the port to catch the ferry to Chania. After 3 hours of waiting around, I got on the boat and that’s where I am now. Another hour and a half until we leave, then 8 hours until we get to Chania.
View out the window
My sleeping quarters
Well, it is almost that time. We are now just 2 days away from our big move to the island of Crete. It has been a very long process to get this done and now that the time is upon us, it is just now starting to hit us that we are actually moving. We have been in Heidelberg for almost 6 years now and have really developed quite a few relationships that we are really going to miss. This has been Gavin’s only home; it is where he was born back in 2004. Needless to say, there are a lot of things that we are going to miss about this place.
First and foremost, our friends Roy and Krystal (along with Zach, CJ, Kallee – and don’t forget Bella!) are going to be the hardest to leave. They have been there for us so many times that we can’t even begin to count. We love them tremendously and know that they will forever be a part of our family (hopefully we’ll find a way to get them over to visit us in Crete). When I imagine what friendships should be like, I know that what we have with them is a perfect example. If you guys are reading this, we love you tons!
We will also be leaving our church family behind, though we know that we will still remain a part of the church for a long time to come. Ken and Danine, along with the rest of the Klinner family have also been a big part of our family and have been a huge encouragement for us. For those that didn’t know, we have been the children’s and associate pastors at the church for a while now. We have come to know the true meaning of fellowship there and have been privileged to be a part of an international church body. For those that are curious about the place, it is Victory International in Heidelberg, Germany. If you are ever in Heidelberg and are looking for a church home, they would love to have you!
Anyways, after today we have one full day left here in Germany and then it’s off to Crete. Exciting times are ahead of us and we hope that everyone can continue to share in our lives through this site.
Well, this has been one very hectic week for the Barker clan. For those that don’t know already, we are in the process of moving to Chania, on the island of Crete in Greece. This has been in the works for some time now, but just recently started coming together.
When we got back from our trip to Arizona, I finally got my official job offer and subsequent orders to take us to Crete. With orders in hand, I was able to schedule the pickup of our household goods just in the nick of time, since our lease was already set to terminate at the end of August. So, the packers were scheduled to come to our house on the 27th and 28th of August.
They got there a little bit late on the 27th, but quickly got to work. But that was probably the only quick thing about it. Overall, it was a REALLY slow process, with lots of breaks and discussions. They called it quits at about 8:30 at night the first day. The second day they got there around 8:00 in the morning and worked until 11:00 at night, but did get everything all packed up. I felt bad for everyone in the neighborhood, though, as they pounded the nails in on the crates at such a late hour. Nobody got a lot of sleep that night!
While the packers were there, I shipped the first of our cars. I shipped my PT Cruiser myself, which cost us €1100.00; for those that don’t deal in Euro, the exchange rate is really poor right now so I paid $1,653.89 to have my car shipped from Heidelberg, Germany to Piraeus, Greece. That still leaves me having to either take the ferry or fly to Piraeus, clear the car through customs, and take it back to Crete on the ferry. Fun stuff! I just hope I can figure it all out!