Family & Friends

Dealing with Grief

Like all rehabilitation periods, grief is a time of patience and discovery. It provides reflection on the past, acceptance of the moment, and creative thought for the future. It allows family, friends, laughter, memories, and tears to bring us back to strength and steadiness, and it gives us time off from being perfect. At the same time, grief catapults change, forcing us to face pain at its source and find a way to move forward. We will never be the same as before, but we just may be stronger.

One day, we all have to deal with the loss of a loved one and unfortunately I was recently reminded of it with my own experience of losing my father. A beautiful eulogy was written for his passing, shared below

A Driver’s Final Journey…

Today we bid farewell to Sotirios “Sotos” Floris, our adored husband, father, brother,
grandfather, friend and countryman on his final journey.
We reflect on the life of a truly great man and the moments we shared together.
A distinguished man who lived his life with great dignity and infinite strength.
We remember his kind heart and generous spirit – his love of his fellow man, his
laughter and great sense of humor. He was the life of the party.
We celebrate his strength and his passion for life, a better life, one that he preserved to
achieve.
Born 96 years ago in the tiny village of Karyes, which held his heart until today, he was
one of five children that together would survive everything.
A lover of all things – nature, music and discovery lead him to the wheel of a bus –
where his legend would begin…
With laughter, music and storytelling he transported his countrymen and women, family
and friends, from place to place, with a smile on his face and love in his heart. Making
the journey always memorable and perhaps softening one’s reality even for a brief
moment.
His love of his birth place was evident in the many terms that he served as President of
his village, working diligently and tirelessly to improve his beloved community and
bringing joy always to young and old alike.
As many might remember, on one special Christmas he used his battery from his bus to
light up the town square Christmas tree (an anecdote that he very much enjoyed
telling). His love always surpassed his immediate circle and he could always be counted
on in one’s time of need.
His work ethic was unparalleled, a true family man who always put his family first. What
some might not know is that the best part of his trip was always coming home to his
beloved wife of sixty five years, Georgia, and beautiful daughters Litsa and Lena.
His love of community extended far beyond the village starting with the neighboring
village “Geraki” that stole his heart and expanded to the “Big Apple” where he watched
his grandchildren grow up: learning how to speak English and use the subway system
with his eldest and first grandson, Stratos, shopping with Vivia at Bloomingdales and
enjoying lunch at Forty Carrots, joyously applauding at Eirini’s ballet recitals, and
watching airplanes with his youngest grandson Manolis, who would then become a pilot
and follow in his footsteps.

Papou, we want to thank you for your unconditional love and sing softly to you, one of
your favorite choruses, ”Γεια σου μάγκα σ’ αγαπώ”, and to tell you that you will always
be the driver of our hearts and minds, watching us from above and guiding our
footsteps.
αιώνια μνήμη –May your memory be eternal.
Sotirios Floris is survived by his wife Georgia Floris, daughters Litsa Floris and Lena
Maninakis ,his sister, Dimitra Matsoukas, his four grandchildren and two great
grandchildren.

September 4, 1921 – January , 2018
Karyes Laconia

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As it is a difficult time, here are some practical tips on dealing with grief and loss of a loved one

  • Make arrangements ahead of time
  • Invite friends and family of your loved one
  • Share personal stories and give people the chance to say something short and sweet
  • Prepare money holders and thank you cards for the church
  • We the Greeks emphasize celebrating someone’s life, encourage your loved ones to do this
  • Instead of flowers dedicate some time or money to the charity of your loved one

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Friends and family,

We would like to take a moment to thank you all for the overwhelming outreach of sympathy and condolences extended to our family at this time.

In his memory and to honor the life he lived, we have established a fund for a museum dedicated to his hometown, Karyes, that he loved so much.

 

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December – It’s all about Birthdays!

What birthdays are all about
They say your birthday is just another day, so why go the extra mile?
It is another day. Nonetheless, why should that stop you from celebrating the joy of life? Why should it stop us from taking a few minutes, hours or an entire day to take stock of your life, your people, and most importantly, count your blessings.
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But what happens when you grown up? Is it tacky to throw a birthday party for yourself? If you ask me, birthdays are even better as an adult! When you host a birthday party for yourself, the size and style of your party is entirely up to you, including your choice of food, fun, and even the cake flavor. That’s better than anything you had as a kid, right?
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Birthday parties are like road trips: getting there is half the fun. Deciding on the theme, decorations, and activities makes the days leading up to the event seem like part of the celebration itself. It needn’t be elaborate — your friends will be happy with a small party as long as they are made to feel special. However, even a simple party requires planning; the sooner you start organizing, the earlier the excitement begins and the fewer details you’ll have to work out on the day itself.
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Celebrate each birthday – the big ones like someone’s 1st and 16th and your own big birthdays. I love my birthday and my zodiac sign. It’s fun to know your zodiac sign, yout birthstones (the ones for Sagittarius are topaz, amethyst, ruby, sapphire, and turquoise) and celebrities that have the same birthday as you (mine is Stephen Spielberg).
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I was blessed of having great birthdays because of my children. It is a family tradition for us to celebrate big birthdays and a few years ago I celebrated mine- my 60th birthday! My best friend and daughter designed something extraordinary at the Armani restaurant in New York. It was incredibly special, as they had taken the time to create something memorable that was exactly what I would have wished for and more. All pictures in this article are from this wonderful birthday!
 
Each Birthday is my favourite birthday!
Do’s and don’ts, inspired by the fabulous party thrown by my best friend and daughter in New York
– Send great invitations. Even though technology has evolved, everyone appreciates a stunning invite to a party. Send a save the date six months before and the invitation 6 weeks before the party, so that everyone that will have to travel can be there.
– Don’t forget the importance of doing things that have sentimental value: my daughter wore a dress, shoes and jewelry that I used to wear 30 years ago
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–  Always keep birthday calendar – although facebook is very helpful as it announces birthdays each day
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– Have a great photographer to capture every moment. At my party,  the wonderful Philippe Cheng took beautiful pictures of everything
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– Design the menu- know what your guests like and don’t forget to offer many options for your vegan and vegetarian friends
– The cake:
We all know it isn’t a party without a frosted mound of sugary goodness lit with candles. When you’re a whole year older, isn’t your birthday resolution to try something new? How about a red velvet cske, a pistachio cake, brownie sundae ice cake, or a light-as-air “cloud” cake! Today, so many wonderful pastry chefs personalise cakes with so many interesting things. Mine was black and white, themed “New York and Athens” and created by the wonderful Philippe Cheng

– Select a great place. My party took place at the Armani ristorante, which I absolutely love!
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– Themes are very important and create a great atmosphere. As I love black and white, mine was black and white glamour
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– Send thank you notes at the end to let your friends know how much you appreciated their presence
-It’s all about the guestlist. Invite people you love, business associates and people that know how to have a good time
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-If your party is at home make sure to send a gift to the neighbours (sentimental value gifts). Everything is about the idea and the thought behind, it, not the gift. its showing someone you know them and want them to be happy
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– Drinks are important for a good party! Try this cocktail dedicated to Sagittarians, which uses a base of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, distilled from Swedish potatoes only once, yielding an earthy flavor. Add pepper, dill, tonic, and a hint of lime.
-Give out seasonal favours at the end. Mine was armani hot cocoa!
– Have treats for your guests to enjoy through the party. My party had a black and white candy bar
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– Dress attire: It’s important for people to know how to dress, especially when it’s a birthday party
 Once a month we’re going to post special birthday pictures and themes – Any excuse to celebrate!
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Thanksgiving 2017

The meaning of Thanksgiving

For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually involves feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or simply being a forerunner to Christmas. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. Following the Mayflower’s arrival at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620, the Pilgrims suffered the loss of 46 of their original 102 colonists. With the help of 91 Indians, the remaining Pilgrims survived the bitter winter and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance.

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The meaning of Thanksgiving has undergone numerous transitions, but its main pillars are To gather in Unity, to teach the young and to humbly reflect on all the gifts that saturate our lives. By “giving-thanks” we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate.

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Personal memories

Each Thanksgiving is my favourite Thanksgiving!

I was introduced to Thanksgiving many many years ago, when I first moved to New York and as it happens that it has became my favourite holiday. To this day, it remains my favourite holiday because we all gather around the table – friends and family and people we love and are grateful and thankful of being surrounded by one another.

Thanksgiving Wisdom

Later on, I discovered the Macy’s Day thanksgiving parade and especially enjoyed taking my children, nieces and nephews to the preparation the night before. Having had the blessing of living on Central Park West, it became a tradition of watching the parade from our window.

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My most recent thanksgiving: gathering family and friends in New York. A group of us, cooking and sharing the joy of the day. My best friend is an not only an expert on setting the perfect table, but preparing the traditional Pilgrim’s menu, making the holiday even more special.

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My suggestions

  • Create a family guestlist
  • If you know people people that don’t have family in town or a place to go, make sure to invite them ahead of time so their Thanksgiving plan is secureIMG_3440
  • Plan your table settings and don’t be afraid of having fun! Art de la table in a very festive fun manner is always my choiceIMG_3444
  • Also make sure to have non alcoholic beverages for people that are staying healthy, like this great non alcoholic apple martini. I would also suggest a beautifuly curated cheese platter for your guests to enjoy until everyone arrives.IMG_3445
  • Great display of roasted nuts and turkey feathers IMG_3485
  • Special children’s table with supplies! Crayons and drawing materials are always a huge hit! Children can colour a huge turkey or pumpkin – whoever wins, wins a chocolate turkeyIMG_3442IMG_3438
  • Make sure to have takeaway containers so everybody can go home with the best part of thanksgiving: “leftovers” – they always taste best the next day!IMG_3443

Day of

Any excuse to celebrate!

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Thanksgiving in New York

Thanksgiving in New York –like coming home for Christmas…

I’m laden with memories of my children when they were small, sharing love and warmth, preparing excitedly to go to the parade in Central Park West, see the million balloons at Macy’s, and absorb the spices and flavors filling the air. I long for these feelings of homeliness, tender closeness and being grateful for all the blessings we’ve received.

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I remember the days of getting together with people close and beloved that we might have seen each other only a while before or not for quite sometime and that making no difference… I remember friends, sharing moments difficult and beautiful, and owing them for being there for me in those young days of motherhood.

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This year, I was drawn again. The irresistible friends, my daughter Vivia and this home that always welcomes me and wraps me in its love and warmth. The pumpkin the turkey the hugs and the shops are all there and I am enchanted. Living my memories and living today. So thankful.

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After all, life is the family, the friends and the memories we make. And I am blessed with all three and giving thanks that I’ve been here yet again.

Home. For Thanksgiving.

 

Being Back Home

In the southern part of Greece, in the Peloponese, lies a traditional village, which even though it stands at an altitude of 950 meters, it is situated on the foothill of beautiful colorful mountain, the Parnon filled with chestnuts and walnuts.

This traditional village has the name of Karyes. Karyes is related to the Caryatids, the young girls of Karyes, which are illustrated in the famous monument in the Erechtheion of the Acropolis.

Karyes is also my hometown, my place of birth.

This year, on the 28th of October, a National Day in Greece, also known as “OXI Day”, being in Karyes brought about an extra sence of pride in being a Karyes girl myself.

The day began with everyone’s presence in church for the mass followed by a doxology or a praising the Lord prayer.

The children, all 15 of them, dressed up for the parade to honor the flag and recite the parralel poetry fit to praise the day.

As known Greek tradition goes, lunch was cooked and served for everyone in the square of the village, an event that filled us all with the sence of celebration, unity, sharing, and caring. The plate of the day: cooked goat, a traditional dish that fits the Autumn season. Of course, after food comes dancing, an important part of the celebration.

But what really makes it home is the home itself. Our house in Karyes was build 50 years ago as a traditional house of Karyes. One year ago, my daughter Vivia decided to renovate this house, the Floreico house as we call it. Her grandparents, my parents, never left this house. Thrilled with the renovation they helped in keeping all the details that grandpa, or “pappou” has put in it that mark his style and his life there with grandma or “giagia”.

I feel quite blessed that they are there where they feel that they belong and where I feel will always be home.

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