Zachy’s Godfather threw a surprise birthday party for his Dad (that’s Uncle George to you and me) last weekend.
Much cooking and freezing of food was done. Much hiding of presents and bottles of wine. Much emailing back and forth to provide a decoy event.
Everything was ready and everyone knew exactly where they had to be, and when.
Every last detail had been covered for the big reveal.
There was absolutely nothing that could ruin this celebration.
Then the day before, news broke of a banking crisis in Cyprus and changed everything.
Phone calls to discuss menus and meeting times were abandoned and urgent messages were left for friends and family.
Cyprus was broke.
The banks were collapsing and taking everyone’s money down with them.
The only way the Cyprus government could see out of it, was to tax everyone’s personal savings accounts and use that money to pay down the debt.
Just help themselves to people’s hard-earned cash.
Cyprus is not only a tax haven for rich Russians to stash their cash. Innocent Greek people have lived and worked their entire lives and invested their life savings in these institutions.
A move like this would be totally devastating for the Cypriot people.
Most are not rich, they are ordinary people like you and me, just trying to support their families and provide for their future.
If the banks collapse, they will lose everything.
It is heartbreaking.
So when we arrived at Uncle George’s house and yelled ‘Surprise!’ it was with a little less ooomp than we’d hoped.
Of course, the crisis was the main topic of conversation throughout the day and the mood felt slightly heavier than normal.
Thankfully, the kids were blissfully unaware of what was happening and they charged around the house with as much energy as always.
It never ceases to amaze me how the simple sound of a child squealing out in laughter can lift any mood, and this day it could not have been needed more.
For a few hours we enjoyed watching them play together as they delighted in kicking a football around outside in the rain; chasing each other up and down the stairs; watching films on the iPad, and being tickled until they could take no more.
They filled the house with warmth, fun and love and we soaked up every moment of their joy and basked in it.
What is in store next for Cyprus still remains to be seen. There will be difficult times ahead, of that I am sure, but I believe that the genuine love and warmth that oozes out of every pore of the beautiful Greek people, their family and their friends, will help see them through the darkest days.
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