Athens with Friends -part 1. 

Last week in Athens has left me with so many mixed feelings. As I earlier mentioned in my last post that my friends are visiting me. And they have finally arrived here yesterday. We set our journey to receive them at the airport on the half empty highways at half past nine with excitement in our hearts.

The room I arranged for both my friends, one named Klara the young blonde energetic woman who is here to enjoy her summer and the other an English teacher in her mid fifties. She has been a dear friend and my only friend when I moved first to Czech Republic. Anyway, the room I found through airbnb had a fantastic authentic Greek feel to it and I loved it. 

The owner being a Greek was pleasant, sweet,and an highly educated woman in her late fourties! She in fact did an fabulous arrangement for her guests to have an comfortable and extravagant stay in the heart of the city of Athens. I must say I was very much pleased and contented. 

When I met my friends the day next day, they were really happy that I arranged such a wonderful stay for them. And like a holiday planned, we set out today to do some heavy sightseeing in almost thirty eight degrees Athens. We had a heart warming breakfast and set out our day by foot to Acropolis! The one monument you cannot miss whilst your stay at Athens.

So now they are out there doing all the study and enjoying the historical monument while I wait at the foothills of the Mighty Acropolis, having the oppurtunity to write a post and share my final week events with my dear friends in Athens. But unfortunately to my awe, I forgot to put in the micro card to my camera hence I promise to share you some pics along with my journey. 

So stay tuned, though the days are few, the journey is long! 🙂 

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My first letter to my daughter! 

I always wanted to start writing to you. To buy a box and write letters and store them in the cabinet so when you turn 16 I could let you read all of them. I wanted to start writing to you on your first birthday. But hey there is never a auspicious time! 

You have turned 20 months already! How time flies away! It seemed like just yesterday when you were born and how I held you in my arms for a long long time. I still recall the fresh smell from your newborn skin. You were so tiny. 

Now that you are 20 months, I am no longer able to hold you like I once did because you are all grown up. You are a toddler and with no comparison to any. Every time you take a new leap in your growth I am the most happiest! There were times when I wanted you to walk, eat, talk and now you do all of that with such perfection. I enjoy you with all my heart. You are the most loved in my life. 

You are my life changing experience. How I love you so unconditionally without having to think twice. How au naturale! I enjoy every bit of time I spend with you. Playing with your toys, taking you to park, seeing you communicate in your baby language to the other kids, how you say hello to every passer by while we do our evening strolls, how you enjoy our food time, bathing is always fun? Isn’t it? And the after bath is the like having to catch you while you run away, or either try eating your bum cream, or licking your hands off the body lotion! And dressing up is like dressing a doll. I take immense pleasure in dressing you and the moment you run to the mirror to have a look at how you look. And pull out your tied rubber bands from your hair so I gotta redo it all over again! You are such a wonderful little girl. Still my adorable little girl and no one can ever change that! Forever! 

There are still so many new experiences that will come your way. New challenges that you would face! And I’m here with you, to walk hand in hand. To help you achieve your goals further, to lift you up when you fall, to laugh with you when your happy and make you stay strong in your sorrows. I will always be your guardian angel. Guiding you, helping you, showing you the light! 

Always remember mommy loves you the most and will do anything to see you brighten up! Looking forward to a very long journey in our life!

Stay blessed my darling daughter! 

Organizing your UK visa

I was walking back to the visa center from a visa photography session for the visa application constructing this post to make aware the all possible procedures to organize your UK visa and accomplish it with no hassle or time consumption. it is going to be definitely helpful if it matters to you. This post will help you no matter which part of the world you are going to submit your application. Follow the below procedure and tada! you do not have to worry about anything else.

Application Procedure:

I don’t know when I plan to go to the UK, but a tourist visa comes with a 6 months of a validity period which means you can travel any number of times back and forth the country. but initially when I decided I would eventually go visit there to see the country, travel around the meadows and plains of Scotland and the bustling city of London, I instantly applied for one. But in order to apply, I did a bit of research, then it came to my knowledge that you got to make an account online and apply for one and then visit the visa center for a appointment with them.  the procedure comes in 6 steps:

1. Application submitted

2. Transferred for decision

3. Received by the UK visa examiner

4. Decision made

5. Ready for collection

6. Passport Returned

Here’s is the website you may register for an online account :  https://www.gov.uk/apply-uk-visa.

fill in the form in English,  pay in the visa fee (varies from different nationality) online in most cases. once you have completed it, the website will let you print your form and an appointment confirmation date and time along with the address and your reference number. this form is a very important form as you would need to provide it to the contact person from the visa center to do your bio-metric procedure. now you must be wondering what is bio-metric? i will explain it in a few minutes, so, once you have gotten your form printed, it will provide you the available dates of interview, you can select which you are convenient with. on the day of your appointment ensure you have the below following as your supporting documents along with the printed form that you would be submitting.

1. 2 photos

  • Taken within the last 6 months to reflect your current appearance
  • Taken in front of a plain white or off-white background
  • Taken in full-face view directly facing the camera
  • Do not wear a hat or head covering that obscures the hair or hairline, unless worn daily for a religious purpose. Your full face must be visible, and the head covering must not cast any shadows on your face.
  • Headphones, wireless hands-free devices, or similar items are not acceptable in your photo.
  • in case you wear glasses, do not wear them
  • for girls pin up your hair, even the hair that covers your face unless you want your application to be rejected.

2. if you are going there for a visit, your flight ticket confirmation.

3. your hotel stay and accommodation details

4. Bank statement from the last 6 months

5. if you are travelling with your spouse, passport copy of his/her.

note: if you do not have your photocopies, they would send you for all of the above mentioned to bring them to process to the next step.

trust me , when i added the above note as I had to walk a mile to get photocopies from the visa center that I applied in Athens.

so, once you got all of these submitted, the person who is responsible to verify the documents, asks you to make a couple of signatures and then you are taken to the next step of :

Bio-Metric Procedure

so this simply means, they will take your finger prints, signatures and photographs for identification purpose. you will be asked to place your 4 fingers of one hand each leaving the thumb on the finger print screen and it would screen the prints and authenticates. and the same is done for the thumbs. you are also asked to remove glasses if you wear them for a photograph. and then on a electronic pen you will be asked to give your signature which is the apple of the eye to the whole appointment session like a celebrity kind of feel. 🙂

Once the procedure of bio-metric is completed you will be asked to fill in a feedback form and you could track your application online with the website given by the examiner. it usually take 15 working days for the visa to arrive from the date of submission.

Hope this post was helpful for your future applications.

Happy Travels!

Grisis – the Moment of Truth

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A Greek women shows NO vote in referendum

The clock is ticking it’s hour as Greece arrives to the make or break point.  I am not much of a politics lover. Since the time I have moved to the Athens in January, I have seen elections, protests, crisis, you name it. The Greece Crisis is now been the hot topic through the world. When the new anti austere party ‘Syriza’ came to power in January this year, there has been some serious discussion going on at the European Commission at Brussels for the last six months to put an end to the crisis and negotiate deals in withdrawing the debt. and today Greece has reached its height of decision making as today is the day the Greece has to return 1.6 billion to the IMF otherwise it would become default. a Yes or a No to the European central bank for accepting the lender proposals has been drawn out. Many leaflets are printed across the city of Athens and distributed to the common man with the reasons why they should say a NO rather than an YES.

As a expat, for me it is not a big of a deal. ultimately its the Greek common man that suffers the most of out of this crisis. Tomorrow being their usual pay day, half of the workers do not believe they would receive their income for the month they have worked for. of course, that makes a lot of sense why? the banks are shut down for a week. not one transaction has been made since Monday morning. The Greek government is in such a bad shape and fear. but what can you expect from a government that has gone under a crisis four times since three decades. That explains a lot of the existing crisis.

Though the tourist areas seem to be unaffected by the situation going around Athens, the common man feels the Greece’s heat under his head. Mr. Tspiras, the Greek PM has failed in taking correct decisions to save this country from the problems it’s facing today. though a majority of Greeks are not loosing their hopes and holding on to the decisions made by the current PM. They still have hope that life in Greece will all remain the same and the downfall economy will raise in spite the decision to make on the Grexit (Greece’s Exit from the Euro). and a majority Greeks are aiming to provide a NO to the Creditors proposal.

Tourists, visiting Athens or any other part of Greece, I strongly suggest you carry enough cash to survive the holiday that you are going to make on the  land of crisis as there has been a implementation by the Banks, of Greece to protect the deflation and the bankruptcy hence capped to a 60per day withdrawals from the ATM’s. since then there has been long awaiting queues formed all around the cities ATM’s everyday. As it is, in the past few days more than 3 billion euros have been withdrawn out of the cash machines leaving a whooping 40% machines without cash. so, you better watch out where you would make your withdrawal. the gas stations have stopped accepting cards and there is a 20 euro limit for the petrol. I hope the petrol does not run out as there are no transactions made. I suggest you have a full tank of petrol and an extra can of petrol at your car trunk.

with such limits imposed on the daily life, it has made it really hard for the common man to survive these difficult times. However, as the Greeks still hope, we really wish and hope that a deal will strike between the creditors and the Greece to make a common decision for the benefit of the people and its country of Greece. They need it and the entire world waits in anticipation of what would happen tomorrow. We can only have our hopes high and fingers crossed.