My (Big, Fat, Greek) Culture

by Alexandria | November 1, 2017
2017 Art Contest

My family and I find many ways to celebrate our culture. I am an American who was born in New Jersey, and my parents are also American. However, my mom and her parents were born in South America (my mother and grandfather were born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and my grandmother was born in Paraguay)--my father's parents were both born in Greece. I am both Greek and Argentinian by blood, but I am pretty sure that I have family members from other parts of South America and Egypt. My family celebrates both of these cultures through the food we eat, the music we make/listen to, the languages we speak, the names that we give our children, and the projects that we create/ things we do on a daily basis. I personally feel equally proud of both cultures from which my family originates, but I have always felt a deeper connection to my Greek heritage. Besides me already having a Greek last name (from my dad's side), I was also given a Greek first name--Alexandria. I heard that my mom originally wanted to name me Gabriella, but my Dad ended up having a dream about the burned Library of Alexandria in ancient Egypt--and insisted that I be given that name. Not only am I Greek and have a Greek name, but I also inherited my father's genes for a "Greek nose" and long, brown, thick hair. It used to be curly, but it somewhat lost its curl over time since it weighs so much--from growing all the way down to my knees. My house is decorated with Greek columns, ivy leaves, beautiful vases, column style dishwear in a cabinet shaped almost like the Parthenon, and mini souvenirs from Greece. My Greek grandmother (Yiayia) makes the best, authentic food from our culture--Spanakopita (spinach pie), Dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Moussaka (an eggplant-based dish), Youvetsi (lamb with orzo), Horiatiki (traditional Greek salad), Keftedes (Meatballs cooked with herbs and onions), Yemista (Tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice), and and other specialties such as Tzatziki sauce (made out of strained yogurt, cucumbers and garlic), Baklava (A rich pastry made with layers of filo filled with nuts and honey), Loukoumades (Fried dough balls drenched in honey and cinnamon), Kourabiedes (Light almond shortbread), Melomakarona (Cookies with honey and walnuts), Tsoureki (A sweet, egg-enriched bread served at Christmas and Easter), and Vasilopita (a New Year’s Day cake traditionally made with a coin baked into the middle, and whoever finds it is said to have good luck for the year)--my father has become very skilled in recreating these delicious dishes, and will be successful in carrying on her tradition. My dad, his parents, and his other family members who are from Greece/still living in Greece all speak their language fluently, and I hope to soon learn how to speak the language as well. We have a very large family, and almost every member of my dad's side of the family has a name of Greek origin. Greece is such a gorgeous, breathtaking place--and I really hope to visit there with my family some day in the near future. ☺

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