Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Exciting things to come

  • My brother’s getting married in exactly a month’s time and I simply can’t wait. For some weird, obscure reason, they decided to have the wedding in a Greek island. Nor he nor the bride-to-be has any connection to that island. It’s like they opened a map, closed their eyes and pointed into one of the hundreds of available islands. I’m not complaining though. That sounds way better than choosing the same old church in a city, any city. The ceremony will take place during midday. After that, there will be a reception in a local taverna, followed by a party at the beach bar next door. The invitation mentions informal attire and swimming trunks for the rest of the afternoon and evening! I’ll combine the wedding with seeing my family and staying for a couple of extra days on the island. It will be amazing. I now need to find something to wear. I’m going for a proper 3 pieces suit, but still, I will need something proper to wear in 35 degrees Celsius for a couple of hours. 

  • Not many weeks after the wedding, mine and JJ’s long summer holidays are planned! I’m not going to comment on how much we need those and are looking forward to them. To give you an idea, JJ has in a way started packing already (almost 1.5 months in advance). I’ll tell you all about these in posts to come, definitely.

  • On a very different note, the following Sunday, I have my very first 10 km run in Regent’s Park. I hope the weather by then will improve. I have been training during the last couple of months for that. It’s been going generally very well. I don’t know if I’ll manage a PB, but I don’t really care at the moment. I just want to get to the fitness level I was a couple of years ago. 

Monday, 20 May 2013


Is it just me, or do you tend to identify yourselves to several groups that you might belong to? For example we were announced that soon a company director will be promoted to a CEO position. That director, who’s quite nice, is gay as well. I felt happy and maybe a little proud for him. He’s really nothing to me if you seriously think about it, but I’m glad that an openly homosexual in a traditional, old fashioned, industry and company has made it.

Apart from identifying with gay people, I do feel the same when good news comes from Greece. I can’t help it. When Greece won the Euro 2004 football Championship, we were over the moon. Recently, I was very happy that ‘we’ managed to finish 6th in the Eurovision contest. I wasn’t very happy with the song itself. I first only heard it and I hated it. I then saw the video from me and I have to admit that the guys look really pleasant to the eyes and the whole setting is quite fun. The same feeling I get with other groups of people I might think I belong to. If my hometown is mentioned, even in a national level, or my old university when compared to other ones are similar examples.

Unfortunately, that works both ways. I feel embarrassed by the same groups of people, if something bad happens. Greece for example has been in the news a lot lately but not for the best of reasons (to put in mildly). Financial scandals, tax evasion, governmental misconduct and far right winged politicians are amongst the things that made international headlines. When something like this happens, I just want to stick my head in the ground and disappear.

Is it just me, or do you feel the same way? Maybe it is just me, being a bit extra needy and wanting to blend in. Taking part in the past in various running events, I felt strongly for the recent Boston Marathon bombings. And it’s not like I’m that good at running anyway. I can’t really be responsible that the Greek neo-Nazi party is in the Parliament, but I feel embarrassed just mentioning it.

Maybe it is not just me. As Aristotle mentioned all these years ago ‘man is by nature a political animal’. We do need to be part of a ‘society’, a group, having a feeling that we belong…

(I’m quite impressed. In a single post I am not only using just Eurovision but Aristotle as well as references. I’m almost succeeding in maintaining high quality. Unless of course that was Spinoza and I completely f%$*&d it up)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Greek Orthodox Easter

The 5th of May was Easter! As far as I know not all Orthodox celebrate it that day, but at least it was Easter for us. As a celebration, it is considered to be very important. In the old days, I would definitely go to church at least on Good Friday to follow the epitaphios and for a short period of time late at night on Good Saturday to hear the celebratory announcement of the resurrection. I would do that more as a family tradition and not out of religious beliefs. Like decorating a Christmas tree, getting dressed on my good church clothes, picking up my special big decorated candle and going to the church to hear the priest announce the resurrection of Christ before the loud bells ringing and the fireworks exploding, was part of my childhood. Although, the most important part of Easter is the Sunday lunch massive feast where the whole family would gather around the whole lamb roasting for hours over a pit.

This is probably what would happen, if I was in Greece or if more of my Greek friends were in London to organise something properly Easter-y. The only thing that resembles the time of the year was the fact that I dyed some eggs with my housemate! They even look half decent! Traditionally we should have just plain red eggs, but we decided of using two colours instead! I know, we can be quite the party animals!

Easter Eggs

So, the long weekend was generally really nice. The weather was beautiful and yesterday bank holiday meant an extra day to relax and enjoy. In the past few days we had a bbq in the back garden, we watched ‘Iron Man 3’, went for a hike in Hampstead Heath, for a walk alongside Regent’s canal and for a picnic in Clapham Common! I even managed to bake a lovely chocolate marble cake on Saturday! Yes, it was as yummy as it seems. I was impressed with myself.

Not bad at all

Among the highlights of the weekend, I have to add what happened on Sunday morning. On Easter Sunday morning I went for a run. The weather was nice and I was running in only a t-shirt and shorts for the first time this year. It was really nice. On the way home, in the middle of a park I found a £5 bank note! I did look around for any other people walking around and I even checked if someone was pulling me a prank. There was no one. So, I just put the fiver in my pocket and left. I plan on spending it on a lottery ticket this week! No, I’m not that cheap, but the event put a smile on my face. It’s always nice to go exercise and even make money over it.

Enjoy the weather in Hampstead Heath

The view from Parliament Hill 

Next to Regent's is the Zoo. The keeper was feeding the hyenas when the river boat passed 

The canal

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Out Runnning

I went out running yesterday evening after work. I was looking forward to it to be honest. The weather has improved a lot and it’s been much easier for me to go outside and enjoy working out. My 10 kilometers race is schedule to take place in a month, in Regents Park. So, I need to get going as much as possible. I didn't see my run though like something I had to do, rather like something I’d like to do. I also simply love keeping a diary of all my runs. Especially now, that I can see the improvement on my mileage and performance. Just checking the amount of calories burnt is brilliant! However, I tend to overeat after a run. I can’t help myself…

Anyway, I left work yesterday around my normal time. The plan was to run halfway towards home and then take the underground for the rest of the route. The whole journey home is more than 8 miles long, which is a bit too much for me at the moment, especially after a tiring day at work. I will get there and start doing the whole distance when I’ll start training for longer runs, just not yet.

Older Records

Since I have the freedom of jumping on the tube at any point to go home, I’m free to select various different routes. Yesterday, I decided to pay my visit to Lizzie. So, I started along the Embankment and heard Big Ben ring 6 times, passed through Trafalgar Square to salute Nelson and from there towards Buckingham Palace. Although running along the Royal Mile is quite nice and the views of the Palace pleasant, I soon regretted taking that route because of the amount of tourists being there, outside the gates. As a runner it’s not very pleasant having to manoeuvre through a bus of school children and various other photography taking tourists looking at you like a complete freak. From there the route through Battersea Bridge to Clapham was enjoyable and nice. I struggled a bit going up the hill towards the end of the route, but it felt really good reaching the top. I finished a 5.2 miles run.

I’m not delusional. I’m not that great of a jogger and lots of people were going on a faster pace than me, but I don’t care. I like the feeling of accomplishment at the ‘finish line’. I also found out that listening to audio books whilst running is not a bad idea. It’s better than shuffling through the same songs over and over again till you find something appropriate or nice. I’m now finishing my first audio book and I’m ready for the second. It’s not going to be something too difficult, but rather enjoyable and easy. I don’t think I could jog listening to ‘War and Peace’.

In addition, I think that working out is an amazing therapeutic pastime. It’s a great way to wind down after a long tiring day at work. Some great ideas come to you when you clear your mind exercising. Have you tried it?