Saturday, July 14, 2012

It's the End of Bachelorhood as I Know It, and I Feel Fine

Let's cut to the chase = in 37 hours, I will be a married man.  This past week, as the abstractness of marriage has hardened into the concreteness of reality, I have oscillated between feelings of bewilderment and acceptance, with shades of excitement, fear, anxiety, and various other emotions thrown in for good measure.  

Every guy taking the plunge knows that a certain part of himself is about to die a sudden death at the wedding altar.  The times of being accountable only to oneself are gone; not only will a man's spouse be looking to him for support and guidance, but so too will his kids someday.  Every other about-to-be-married guy in the history of masculinity has undoubtedly been in my mental shoes before.

Why then would we commit to be married?  And by "we" I mean men (sorry gals).

Perhaps it's the awareness that we are not to live alone.  God (uh oh, here he goes with the Scripture) in Genesis 2:18, says, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."

And men need help; it is not the other way around.  As the prophet Bono said in the book of AchtungBaby, Chapter 9, (quoting Irinia Dunn), "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle."  Women don't need men, but we surely need women, and not just for primal, fleshy companionship.  There is a God-given deficiency in our molecular makeup that only a woman can satisfy, on an experiential, personal, relational level, beyond mere sexuality or common friendship.

In short, Suzanne is the only one that can satiate that deficiency in me.  And thank God for that.

Tonight I had a blessed time with "the bros" at my bachelor party, with ridiculously good steaks at Alexander's in Cupertino and a great comedy show by Nick Griffin and Tom Clark at Rooster T Feathers in Sunnyvale.  I couldn't ask for better male companionship and camaraderie as I head off into the sunset of bachelorhood.

With that said, I'm thankful to be leaving bachelorhood, and to be heading forth into a union both mystical and mysterious with my beloved wife-to-be.

The time has come, and it feels both right and necessary.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Athens, Greece, 2007

In 2007, I went on a trek from Athens to Egypt... by land.  I've posted many other segments of this journey (including Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and parts of Egypt), but I haven't posted anything from the start of my trip in Greece and Turkey.  Here goes:

 Since I arrived in the wee hours of the morning on a Sunday, I stayed up in order to not miss church (since this was my very first day in an Orthodox country).  I decided to head to to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens, home of the Archbishop of Athens.

 Seeing TV cameras inside an Orthodox church was new to me, but apparently it's quite common in Orthodox countries to have the services videotaped and broadcast if presided over by a bishop.

 The interior was, of course, beautiful.

 My only photo of the archbishop (blurry, sorry).

 It was a sweltering day; the mercury was well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (I think it was actually close to 110, believe it or not), but with the humidity it felt more like 130 or 140.  I tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible, but at the same time, I had sights to see.

 This adorable church is right next to the Metropolitan Cathedral.  It's called Agios Eleftherios Church, and dates to the 13th century.  It was closed, however.

 Despite the heat, I went to these ruins not far from the church.  I have totally forgotten which ruins they were (they weren't part of the Ancient Agora, however).  Note the Acropolis in the background, with the Parthenon at center.  

 The flea market in Plaka.

 Sadly, between this photo and the one below, approximately 150 photos of Athens were deleted somehow.  They include the rest of my Sunday photos and the most important of my Monday photos.  What was lost (the list is tragic) = my pics of the Ancient Agora, the cemetery at Kerameikos, the Temple of Olympian Zeus (which was right by my hostel), my Sunday night concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus featuring the Vienna Boys Choir (in town for the Athens and Epidaurus Festival), the Acropolis and Parthenon, my walk across Areopagus Hill (site of St. Paul's preaching), and all except one blurry photo inside the Benaki Museum.  

As awful as it is in any circumstance to lose photos, I feel blessed to have this be my only such loss.  At least I have a few other Athens photos, and the remainder of my trip photos for the entire summer.  There are a gazillion photos online of the sights I saw, so I'm not as depressed about it as one might think... but it's still annoying.

 Strangely, my pics resume right around my entry to the National Archaeological Museum, a must-see if you're in Athens (all of the cruise ship tours happened to arrive just as I did - lame sauce).

If I know details about the picture, I'll post it; otherwise, just enjoy.

 The Mask of Agamemnon (disputed)

 Aphrodite, of the Syracuse type

 Augustus Caesar

 To end my Monday, I went to the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds, seen here.

 It was constructed around 50 BC, according to one theory; it was a clocktower, and had sundials.

Two of the eight wind deities (Skiron, the northwest wind, on the left) depicted at the top of the tower.

Coming up next = Delphi.  Stay tuned.