Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Greeks

I didn't have a big fat Greek wedding...I'm not Orthodox. However, I did grow up in a Greek/American home with lots of Greek pride and definitely a lot of influence. When I was small, I did attend Greek School and learned to faithfully read up to the 1st Grade reading level. Impressive huh! I can still sound out a decent amount of Greek words and when in practice, can understand the gist of a conversation. I mean, come on now, even though I am only a half-breed, I am still Greek and proud of it!! Once I married (without all the pomp and circumstance) I did lose my last name though which was the tell-tale sign that I was of Greek lineage. And that's okay because I was happy to become a part of my husband and leave behind my old life. Now, I'm a Dauphin (and I love it!) but really, it makes me sound French. Although my husband isn't French whatsoever, or so he tells me. But with the last name or without it, I'm still a Greek and proud of it!!

However, like I mentioned before, the Greeks are very proud people. They're proud of their families (they should be), they're proud of their history and all the wisdom they have contributed to the modern world and they want you to know about it. When I saw the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, my Dad and his family were written all over that thing. All growing up my Dad explained to me, whenever he could, what English words came from the Greek language and what their meaning was. When I saw the Dad doing that on the movie, I just about lost it. I thought it was just my Dad.

When my husband met my Dad for the first time, we were going out for Gyros (pronounced Yee-ros) and my silly husband thought he'd be sly and funny. So when my Dad announced we were going out for Gyros, Steve corrected him and said, "You mean Gyros!" (Jiiiiros, long "I" sound-the very red-neck pronunciation) thinking my Dad would know he was joking and that he was pretty witty as well. Hmmm...my Dad looked at him very seriously and said, "It's Gyros (Yee-ros) I know, I'm Greek." Nice first meeting. We still laugh about that one. My Dad swears he doesn't remember that. However, I was there and I know Steve remembers it. There's no correcting a Greek when it comes to their stuff. Just back off!! Ha ha!

But even amidst all of the pride lessons and history, my Dad could only have so much influence because my mom had her family as well and they're just about as American as you can get. They're a mix of every nationality and they're from Oklahoma. So, in many respects, I still ended up pretty American.

But then, my older brother met a fellow Greek and they got married in a beautiful, meaningful ceremony (a true Big Fat Greek Wedding) and we got introduced to a whole new world of Greeks. Let me tell you, they're the real thing. When we traveled to her hometown, we met the Greek community, ate lavish feasts about every two hours and learned how to do the traditional Greek village dances so that we would know how to dance at the wedding. We learned all of the societal rules about visiting, where we could stand in church and how to not insult an elder by bringing them a present. This was all in a major crash course before the wedding. And of course, like I said before, we were encouraged to eat and eat. It was beautiful. It was fun. It was strangely like home to me with a little more punch. Okay a lot more punch. But it was wonderful. My Grandma had taught me to do some Greek cooking but my sister-in-law's mother taught me a ton! I watched her make all sorts of amazing treats and took the knowledge home with me to share with our family. My husband and I loved our time visiting (thanks Mom and Dad for footing the bill for that trip!!) and we have great memories.

Over the last 2 1/2 months, my sister-in-law's parents have been visiting from overseas and helping my brother and his wife with their new baby and so we've been able to see a lot of them. Her Dad can still be found daily in the garden and her mom in the kitchen. My parents have been so helpful too in taking them around places and generally, everyone has had a great time. But it's now come time for them to go home. So this weekend, we said goodbye to the Greeks. I'm not sure when we'll get to see them again. It may be quite some time but, it's been a nice visit. It's been fun to feast on Greek food and to laugh when I'm being told to "Eat! Eat!" again. Most of all, it's been fun to be together as a family.

All of the cousins!

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