My Baby’s Baptism

We hosted Matilda’s baptism yesterday and it was such a wonderful day.  We organized to have her baptised as part of our Christmas visit home to Chicago.  Tony wanted to have her baptized in his childhood church and that’s exactly what we did.

In many ways, Matilda’s baptism held a lot of similarities to our own wedding in Paris.

Months in advance, I coordinated with a local seamstress to have my wedding dress turned into Matilda’s baptismal gown.  The final result was absolutely breathtaking and it confirmed for me that I made the right decision in “cutting up” my wedding dress.  We worked with a woman named Mary Catomy and I would recommend her to anyone.

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Paris Wedding

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Chicago Baptism

The paperwork and coordination was also very similar to our Paris wedding.  Given we live in Zurich, we had to attend a baptismal class at the English speaking church of Zurich.  The certificate of that class was then sent to the church in Chicago.  We also had to coordinate the registration of my sister and brother-in-law as the Godparents. For our wedding, we had to take our pre-Cana courses in Chicago and send that documentation over to the church in Paris.  We have spent quite a bit of money in postage!

The church we selected to host the baptism is St. Viator parish.  Tony grew up in this church and it meant a lot to him to have Matilda baptized here.  I had never been inside and was stunned when entering.  It is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve seen in Chicago.  What was even crazier to me was the stained glass behind the alter. I feel it looks very similar to the stained glass at St. Germain L’Auxerrois, our Paris church.

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St. Viator

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St. Germain L’Auxerrois

The ceremony was very special to Tony and I. Matilda was an absolute star and we felt so blessed to have in every way.  We finished the great day by hosting a late lunch at La Villa, also one of Tony’s childhood favs.  This is where the similarities between our wedding ended, though, because we did not eat pizza for our wedding meal. 🙂

We thank God and our family for being a part of Matilda’s special day.

baptism

baptism

Baby’s First Haircut

Matilda received her first haircut right before our visit to Chicago.  As Matilda has grown, so has her hair.  It’s a lovely reddish-brown color (still trying to figure out where that comes from…) and was starting to curl around her ears.  With us having her baptized in Chicago, we wanted to ensure she was properly coiffed. We thus began our search for a child’s hair salon in Zurich.

Lucky for us, we had spotted one during a recent visit to Sihl City.  It was bright and colorful and had cars and chariots as “seats” for kids to sit in.  The location is called Cut & Sirup and interestingly, they also cut adults hair.

Anyway, we called to make an appointment and booked “My First Haircut”, complete with diploma. At 24 CHF, it was a deal as far as Zurich is concerned.

We placed Matilda in her “car” and she sat patiently as the lovely woman (named Vanessa) draped a princess-style gown around her. Matilda kept flapping it about as she tried to get her little hands free.

haircut

haircut

Vanessa was very patient and careful with Matilda. Matilda was overall well behaved sitting there, but had a few moments where she tried to swipe Vanessa’s hand away. We tried to keep her preoccupied, and the iPad sitting in front of her (below the mirror) helped in the distraction.

haircut

haircut

The end result was great.  Matilda’s hair was cleaned up and the annoying curling near her ears was finally gone.  The diploma included the date of her first haircut, her name and a small ziplock of her hair clippings. I know I will remember this small but special moment for years to come.

Matilda was pretty pleased with her haircut too. 🙂

haircut

haircut

Visiting Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece is one of the oldest cities in the world.  It is the birthplace of democracy and home of Athena.  Prior to visiting, I didn’t think much about Athens.  I know of the economic turmoil that plagues Greece, and of the recent riots in the downtown area.  I know that Tony visited Athens in high school as part of his Greek studies.  I know that I like Greek food.   But Athens is way more than all of these things.  Nothing could have prepared me for how much I would fall in love with this incredible place.

Upon arrival, we were greeted with the most pleasant weather.  The entire trip, it was 65 degrees F (about 18 C) and sunny.  The temperature made it perfect for exploring by foot.  Our first night, we ventured around the down town area and ate a quick dinner at Feyrouz, an authentic Lebanese restaurant.  The owner’s son served us and our interaction with him set the tone for the trip – everyone in Athen’s is so incredibly nice.

I couldn’t tell you what we ate, but I can report that it was fast, cheap and delicious.

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First view of Athens

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Feyroux

The next morning we ventured off to the National Library to start our free walking tour.  Tony and I have taken a lot of free walking tours and we both agreed that this was by far the best.  Our guide was Alex and he is an actual anthropologist.  The tour was informative and interesting because Alex was passionate about his home town and the history of Athens.  For example, we learned:

  • Athens is named after Athena – she gave the Greeks the olive tree which provides food, oil and wood
  • Owls can be found in much of the architecture and artwork in Athens – it is the bird of Athena
  • Owls are native to Athens, and their usage is also symbolic – Athens spawned many intellectuals, and since owls can see in the night, it is representative of intellects being able to see and think clearly during difficult times
  • The anatomy of the marble statues was finally explained – the big heads and chest represent logic and ethics, while small genitalia represents addiction
  • Before they were round, ancient coins were shaped to be miniature animals (i.e. cow) as that is what used to be traded for goods
  • Given the history held in Athens, archeologists have to accompany most construction efforts, and many projects are delayed due to ancient discoveries

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Owls everywhere

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National Library

The following day, we visited the Parthenon and took a cooking class.  The Parthenon was one of the most magical places I have ever been, even rivaling my beloved Eiffel Tower.  It was so surreal to be walking on rocks that hosted footsteps from 2500 years prior.  It was difficult to truly comprehend the work that went into these buildings, the time taken, the tools used.  We spent a lot of time here, but the hours spent left me wanting to stay even longer.

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Matilda wasn’t as impressed as we were

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athens

In our cooking class, I learned how to make one of my all time favorite food items – tsatsiki.  The class was held at the Greek Kitchen and even though I hate cooking, I really enjoyed eating what we made.  Especially that incredible tsatsiki, yum.  The only downside was all the onions used.  My friend and I had burning eyes almost the entire class.  🙁

The last thing I want to highlight about Athens is the juxtaposition of the old and the new.  Given that Parthenon sits on top of the city, it was almost always in the background of the graffiti art that covered the city.

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Meandering through thousands of years of history, great food and kind people made Athens one of my favorite cities.  It is worth the visit and the history lesson.

Until next time, αντιο σας!