to hold this conversation with us...
During my most formative years, I did not live in a place where there were many other hyphenated Greeks. My parents were not college educated and none of their immigrant parents made it past the 4th grade, so my siblings and I had a very sketchy representation of ancient Greek history. It was not until my father took us to Greece when I was 13 that I began to appreciate the true depth of my heritage. It lives and breathes within me -- part of both the way I think of myself as well as the legacy I leave behind.
From the standpoint of feeling “different” – yes, it did.
Being Greek: Best Part….
How can you single just one thing out?
It’s just FUN to be Greek!
It’s the food, the holidays, speaking Greek with your mom while trying on clothes and KNOWING the sales lady doesn’t know what you’re saying, the dancing, the jokes, the laughter – and being part of something much bigger than all of it put together.
Being Greek: Worst part….
Trying to watch your weight at Easter time…
Greeks who inspire(d) you…
Alexander the Great
and so many others,
I would take you well beyond your word count for this article…
Greeks you like…
I can’t answer this question… I admire so many.
I am dumbfounded by those who take their proud heritage for granted.
All that in one word.
While my magical “everything’s-a-photo-op” place on earth is Santorini, my favorite place has to be the balcony of my grandfather’s lofty house at the end of a cobbled goat path in the tiny Pelopponesian village of Isari. Even now I can close my eyes and hear donkey and goat bells, the faint wafting/wailing of bouzoukia and lyra during the “apoyevma” (afternoon siesta time), the aroma of a well-cooked meal, and a vista of grape vines and olive trees. In this image, I dream of what life must have been like for those who came before me but were determined to make better lives for their families.
I remember my first trip to Greece, when my father took us to someone’s house in the village our relatives wanted us to meet. It was an old woman who was very poor. She offered us cold artesian water to drink and mint leaves to breathe in because she had no food to offer. Hanging prominently on the wall of her sparse one-room house was a huge transistor radio, as if it were a piece of artwork. She explained that her cousin in the U.S. had given it to her so she could listen to music. She heaved a big sigh and looked out her window to the valley below and said, “I am not poor. I have the mountains, the delicious cold water that comes from the earth, and loving people around me. I am a wealthy woman.” I have never forgotten the simplicity of this woman’s outlook on life.
Believe it or not, “Fengari Mou”
I first heard it on a Nana Mouskouri album in my teens.
The lessons are timeless.
Your happiest Greek memory….
chronicled in my eBook, “Climbing St. Friday”…
It was a year that changed my life.
Your saddest Greek memory…
Losing an older relative the year I spent in Athens and being too stupid and insensitive to visit him before he passed away.
As the person who helped re-brand Apple computers, this remarkable man is doing everything he possibly can to help the Greeks renew faith in themselves. He is a brand strategist with a global perspective, working hard to bring Greece into step with the rest of Europe while making sure the things that make Greece unique and special are not lost.
I come from a long line of business owners and self-determined types. My daughter was never really close to people who earned wages. And while there is certainly no shame in the seeking out the predictability of a paycheck, I think people often let go of their dreams while strapping themselves to having to have what others do in life. They live their entire lives not knowing the thrill of creating something that comes from deep within them.
Each day is such a gift.
Not honoring that gift – to me – is tantamount to a travesty.
Rita Wilson Hanks,
and many, many others who are in the public eye and make no secret of their roots.
Create a picture of YOUR Greece …
what would you put in it?
please tell us …
The many gifts Greeks have given to the world – mathematics, architecture, philosophy, philotimo, poetry, athletics, science and on and on – these are gifts being celebrated by and improved upon all over the modern world.
It is the spirit of Greece that lives in us all.
Thank you Dena - It's been a pleasure!
More about Dena
A talented and accomplished musician, she and her soul-mate George are regular members of a Sacramento, CA-based jazz/pops chorale and are at present preparing for upcoming performances in Barcelona.
Talent and business acumen run in the family... so it is only natural that the next generation is doing well too... the Greek beat goes on.
Dena's daughter, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, recently won the coveted GABBY (Greek America’s Best and Brightest, similar to the Oscars but for accomplished Greeks) award for entrepreneurial excellence beating out well-known challengers, and is now a New York Times best-selling author with her memoir/business book #Girlboss. This comes after a whirlwind press and book tour, accompanied by none other than her justifiably proud Global Greek Mum!
At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!