Note to self: When visiting family they will treat you like their own, there’s no point trying to fight it, accept it and move on.
I could totally get used to this lifestyle. I know that I’m not getting a true indication of what life is like here, to be living with 2 retirees and spend time with their grandchildren who are on their 3 month summer holidays from school isn’t to be living real life. Still, I’m having the best time and I’ve probably said it at least once an hour since I got here, but δεν θέλω να φύγω!! (I don’t want to leave)
It’s funny, Dad and Em had both said to me that when I went to Greece I’d feel like I was going home, and I didn’t understand what they meant, now I do. Back in Sydney all of my family is Greek, my closest friend is Greek and her family treats me like their own, but my other friends, my work, the rest of the country isn’t Greek. The way we were raised and in which we live our lives is extremely different to other cultures. However, here in Zakynthos they do, and it’s an intense magnification of all the things I love about being Greek; the food, the language and the culture.
Most importantly though the reason that I feel at home here is because of the hospitality of my Aunts, Uncles and cousins. (I use the term aunts and uncles loosely, even though Tanya and Costas and Joanna (Costas’ wife) are my cousins, they’re a lot older than me so I call them Θεα, aunt, and Θεο, uncle, out of respect)
From the moment they picked me up at the airport they haven’t stopped fussing over me; “our house is your house, do whatever you like. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you have clothes that need washing? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you hungry? Do you want to go for a walk? Do you want to play a game? Are you hungry?”…you get the drift, it’s safe to say I’m not hungry.
This is exactly how all of my grandparents are towards me and my siblings, it’s exactly how my parents treated all of my family and friends growing up; anyone that steps foot in our home is not a guest but family and will be made to feel as such. It is so amazing to know that, halfway around the world, I have people who love me just as much as my family back home.
Today’s prime examples of this hospitality and familial love includes:
- Having Θεο Νικος pick me up from Κώστας house in the morning on the bike. Whilst on the journey (all of 3 minutes) back to his house he pointed out his growing beetroots, asked if I liked them and when I said I love beetroot he stopped the car, picked 4 or 5 out of the ground and said he’d have Θεα Βάσο cook them for me tomorrow.
- Having breakfast waiting for me when I got home.
- Visiting my grandfather’s 81 year old sister for the first time and having her fawn all over me for an hour and give me a top to take home that she had knit herself.
- Going to a monastery and having Θεο Νικος try and fail to explain the importance of the saint after which the monastery is named while Νικος and Βασιλις laugh at me and make jokes as if they’ve known me their whole life (St. Dionysus is famous for being the priest who forgave the man who killed his own brother, not for killing his own brother, which is what I thought happened, which makes no sense, why would they make a priest a saint if he killed his own brother???, βλάκας είμαι)
- Visiting a cliff face to look at some islands off of Zakynthos and have Θεο Νίκο freak the hell out that I was going to fall off the cliff and refuse to let me go near the edge, even though I’m 25 and not his grandchild.
- Spend 5 hours with Κώστας and Ιωαννα in the evening while they went about their errands and the boys had karate lessons in the town centre, as if I was their own child.
- Whilst shopping for clothes for Κόστα I went to go buy myself a singlet to wear while I’m here and Ιωαννα didn’t let the store assistant take money from me and bought it for me as a present no matter how much I said no and tried to give the assistant cash.
- They also bought me λουκουμάδες (honey donuts) and corn on the cob while we waited for Νίκος to finish karate because our wires got crossed and they thought I’d never tried either but I meant I hadn’t ate either in a long time. (Κωστας didn’t know if we had corn in Australia hahahaha)default
I know that this sounds like I’m being treated like a princess and absolutely loving it, but it’s not like that at all. This is, to me, what it means to be Greek. Doing whatever you can in life to make those around you happy, while doing your own life proud. It’s how I was raised to be and now I understand why.
Λοιπόν, πρέπει να κοιμηθώ.