What was supposed to be a “dream trip” to the United States turned out to be a nightmare for two newlyweds from Greece.
Valasia Limnioti and Konstantinos Patronis were forced to end their honeymoon when they were suddenly left penniless in New York City after their credit and debit cards, issued by Greek banks, were declined amid the ongoing financial crisis in their homeland.
“[It] was the dream trip of our lives. Everything was all right – then ‘boom!’ in New York,” Limnioti told the Associated Press.
The couple even had to skip a few meals before spending their last dollars on dinner at McDonald’s.
“We were hungry, and I cried for two days. I felt homeless in New York,” she added.
In a desperate bid to get home, the couple contacted the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Two Greek Orthodox churches, St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Queens, offered them about $350 as survival cash.
An anonymous Greek journalist is also believed to have donated some money to them. They can now take a flight back to Greece.
Despite her troubles, Limnioti says she's heard worse stories about other Greeks abroad who have found themselves in similar situations, including some in American hospitals who cannot pay their medical expenses.
As Greek citizens are preparing themselves to vote in a referendum on the future of their country’s finances, Limnioti wants the world to remember, “We Greeks are a proud people, and I want the world to know that we are not in this situation because we're lazy or did something wrong.”