Thursday, December 15, 2005

Encounter in the Post Office

Note to self: allow a WHOLE DAY next year for writing Christmas cards, printing and folding newsletters, and getting them posted.

Why do I always think these jobs are going to be quick?!

In the past few years, Daniel's designed Christmas cards for us but this year he was too busy, and out of inspiration, so we decided to send ordinary ones. We always do a family newsletter but I had some ideas, and plenty of digital photos to use. Our colour printer was almost out of ink, but we have a refilling place not far away so on Monday I took the cartridges in, and they were ready Tuesday morning. By then I'd written the newsletter (which I'll post on this blog soon) and got plenty of cards. I got out last year's list, and reckoned we'd need to print about 75 newsletters, and write about 90 cards (local friends don't need newsletters, after all, and there are some people who just get our newsletter).

Then on Tuesday Tim and I spent ages trying to get the printer to work correctly. The images - which should have been excellent quality with our new camera - were blurred, or grainy, or even stripy. Was the cartridge not filled properly, I wondered? Yet the text was fine, and when we did a cartridge align and clean-up in Windows, they showed perfect test pages. We tried different software, we re-sized the photos, and eventually they were acceptable though nowhere near as good as previous years.

That took much of Tuesday. On Wednesday I printed the newsletters, ten at a time, and set to work to write cards, fold newsletters and address envelopes. Since I had other things to do as well, it was after midnight by the time I'd finished.

And so to the Post Office early Thursday morning. I got there by 9am and there was only one person in front of me. The postmistress was a bit surprised when I asked for 70 stamps to the UK (and two to the USA) and I was pleased to see there was plenty of space at the table for me to do my sticking of stamps! Thankfully there was one of those little roller gadgets with water so I didn't have to lick over 210 stamps (two 15c and a 1c per letter).

As I got started, so the Post Office began to fill up. I had to move to make room for others. And then after about half an hour about 20 small children came in, with three or four harrassed looking adults. Presumably some nursery school or kindergarten class, come on a little field trip to see the Post Office, and to see how to post letters. Maybe they had made cards for their parents, since one of the teachers had a list of the children, and called them one at a time to post a letter. Meanwhile the others milled around - and it's not a big place. It's a sub Post Office, not the main one, and with 20 children there wasn't much room for anyone else.

Some of them were very interested in what I was doing, and asked me about it. But, alas, they were Greek children and even after eight years here I speak almost no Greek. Usually this isn't a problem as most adults have excellent English, but these children were only about four or five years old. I smiled at them, and nodded, and they nudged each other and kept on talking but of course I couldn't communicate.

For the first time, I felt really bad about not speaking Greek. Usually I get along well with children, and I'd love to have been able to talk to them about what I was doing, and who I was sending cards to, and why I needed so many stamps. Cyprus doesn't yet have a strict child protection policy like the UK (where, probably, children wouldn't be allowed to go near strangers in the Post Office, no matter how many teachers were present) but in general I don't come in contact much with Greek-speaking children.

I don't make New Year resolutions as such, but at that moment I determined that I would put a lot of effort into learning Greek next year!

1 comment:

elinor said...

Great letters and articles, look forward to reading more. We too love Cyprus, am coming over for two weeks on 4th Jan.2006, staying in Paphos, my partner likes this area as he is taking his Paddi diving exams here. We were here a year ago staying in Ptaris. This October we were here in Paphos, now I will be spending two weeks in January with my grand-daughter flat/apartment hunting, so we can spend more time here. She hasn't been before, so it should be interesting.

I discovered your site while brousing Ciao. Just today.!!

Any advise on house hunting would be much apreciated.
I am just opening a blogsite.elinor-in-cyprus.
Never done this before, hope it works.
One of my daughters has a 5 year son. He is also being home educated. She really enjoys travelling, so it should work very well.
I am back to Ciao now to write some new reviews.
Hope to chat soon.