Tuesday, May 27, 2014

20 Question Time... Global Greek Style: Conversation with Dena Kouremetis - Writer, Columnist and Very Proud Mum!

Her Hellenism made her feel unique 
and Brand Strategist Peter Economides would be her nomination for a Nobel Prize
20 Question Time... Global Greek Style
with the talented

Dena Kouremetis
 Global Greek writer and Forbes Columnist who took a break from her writing
to hold this conversation with us...

Hellenism is…

The idea of being Greek and what that meant to me was established through my Greek-American parents.It told us we were special, we were unique and we had a pedigree unlike anyone else on earth – something to be cherished and perpetuated despite the fact that we lived in the U.S. 

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.

Did your Hellenism help get you where you are?


From the standpoint of feeling “different” – yes, it did. 
As a child, one would rather “blend in” and be one of the pack.  But my parents made it clear that we would never be like everyone else BECAUSE we were of Greek descent.So while immigrants in this country may have been considered lowly at a certain point in history, my siblings and I felt elevated in a way that was difficult to describe to others. 

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…

Socrates, 
Plato, 
Hippocrates, 
Archimedes, 
Aristotle, 
Pericles, 
Homer, 
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.

Greeks you don’t like…
 
I am dumbfounded by those who take their proud heritage for granted.

Your favourite Greek word…

Philotimo. 

Wikipedia defines it this way, Philotimo is almost impossible to translate sufficiently as it describes a complex array of virtues. Philotimo is considered to be the highest of all Greek virtues which determines and regulates how someone should behave in their family and social groups. In its simplest form, it means “doing good”, and it ensures your behavior will make you stand out from others. It will tell others what kind of a person you are and about the way you were raised by your family. Philotimo to a Greek is essentially a way of life. Children are said to have philotimo when they display unconditional love and respect towards their parents, grandparents, friends. It can mean gratitude for a small gift someone might have given you, or a small random act of kindness someone may have shown you. It is an appreciation and admiration for heritage, ancestors, pride. 
All that in one word.
 I ask you: Does any other language have a word that encompasses all that?


Your favourite Greek spot in the world…


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.

Your favourite Greek song…

Believe it or not, “Fengari Mou”
I first heard it on a Nana Mouskouri album in my teens.

Your favourite Greek meal… Who cooked it?

My mom’s oregano/lemon chicken, roasted potatoes, tiropita and pastitsio. Love was the main ingredient.

Your favourite Greek book…

Aesop’s Fables. 
The lessons are timeless.

Your happiest Greek memory….

The college year I spent in Athens at the American college, 
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.

Global Greeks at the Nobels  - Who would you nominate? Why?

Peter Economides
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.


You meet the Prime Minister of Greece on the beach this summer…What would you tell him?

To begin a campaign to educate everyone in government in how to recognize and attack corruption when they see it, and to make Greek government the ideal and leader in a world that so desperately needs a role model.

You are the Prime Minister of Greece… for a week!
What three things would you do first? 
    I am not astute enough about the current situation in Greece to answer this question

    You’re one of our several million Global Greeks who are Greece’s Ambassadors in the World. Public Diplomacy at its best!  Have you done something to help Greece today?

    I wish I were a “mover and shaker” but alas – I am only a writer. I often write about Greece and the experiences I have had as “one of the tribe”… but I suppose my biggest claim to fame is having produced a non-college-educated (by choice) daughter who emulates the ideals of the hard-working immigrant who sees no limits to what he or she can do in life.  

    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.

    Who would you include in a ‘Global Greeks for Greece’ Dream Team? 

    Peter Economides, 
    Gregory Pappas, 
    Rita Wilson Hanks, 
    Billy Zane, 
    Sid Ganis, 
    Alexander Payne, 
    and many, many others who are in the public eye and make no secret of their roots.

    And now for the best part… 
    Create a picture of YOUR Greece … 
    what would you put in it? 

    Seeing Greece through the simplicity and awe of my first time in the “old country”;  the glowing love of my gracious, generous relatives; the blue, blue sea against whitewashed dwellings; the bray of a donkey, the gravelly voice of a toothless yiayia dressed in black; a Greece that welcomes progressive ideas to get its people working again and capitalizes on its beauty without compromising its pristine appeal. And most of all, the pride Greeks take in just being Greek – no matter what trials and tribulations they have suffered.

    If we’ve missed something you would like to share with us in this 20 Question Global Greek Style interview, 
    please tell us …

    I firmly believe that you don’t have to have Greek blood to be a Hellene. 
    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!
    Ευχαριστούμε πολύ!



    More about Dena

    Since her debut as a newspaper columnist back in 1997, Dena Kouremetis has been tapping the keys as a journalist, author, and freelance writer for publications all across the country, including providing blog content for the prestigious Forbes.  

    She is the national Greek-American culture examiner for Examiner.com, as well as a regular blogger for her site, Communic8or.com, and regularly contributes to anthologies, web sites, and journals on topics ranging from love to pets to just being... Greek.
    Dena published her own coming-of-age eBook memoir, Climbing St.Friday in 2010, chronicling her life-changing year as a student in Athens’ American College of Greece during the military junta,  Climbing St Friday is a story that most of us who have grown up abroad can identify with readily, its many references to situations and experiences which we  have 'lived' shall we say, will make you smile, if not laugh outright!
      
    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! 

    As we Greeks say, the apple is sure to fall under the apple tree!

    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
    © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    Ας Μην Ξεχάσουμε τον Μαυρογιαλούρο! Greek Local Elections 2014 - Δημοτικές Εκλογές 2014


    For those who love the classic Black and White Greek Movies here is one very appropriate for the times we live in, in view of all the corruption scandals that have occurred over the years and particularly those that have come to light in the last few years. 


    This oh-so-reflective-of-Greek-Society film should be required viewing by all those taking public office and should be repeated once a week by all TV channels in Greece in case we the people forget!




    It is a political satire, ' Yparhei kai Filotimo' with Lambros Konstandaras as Andreas Mavrogialouros, the consummate Greek politician... 

     
     
    Andreas Mavrogialouros is a minister of the Greek government who goes to visit a small village for the inauguration of a local maternity clinic. Going there he gets more than he bargained for but in the process discovers that his associates have been fooling him for years, using state funds to accumulate wealth, property and riches for themselves while the people around them suffer. They are excluded from the public institutions they have helped finance through their taxes, solely because of their political ID, because they belong to the wrong political party! 

    Sound familiar? The film is over 50 years old and in many ways not much appears to have changed since then, but we are hopeful! .... 


    We at Global Greek World are hoping that our politicians, local and national, are finally getting the message and are genuinely ready to shed the dreadful image the people have of them by acting for the good of the people at last!

    We are hoping that from tomorrow things will change for the better, at least locally!

     
    Enjoy &
    Kali Psifo!!! :) !!!


     


                                            


    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
    © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014

    Save #Greece's Shores! Sign the Petition, Spread the Word! ACT NOW!

    We want THIS

    Unrestricted access to the Greek shores 
    for people and wildlife alike

     Small, manageable development, 
    blending in with the environment

    NOT THIS

    Swimming pools on the shoreline, 
    A concrete jungle on the rocks
    Figurettes Beach, Ibiza
    Photo Source: Clubbers Paradise

    Environmental organisations, social media activists, as well as political parties and several public figures have denounced a proposed law that would end free public access to the Greek coastline, remove deterrent provisions to construction, provide an amnesty to those who have built illegally on it and have adverse environmental consequences of a permanent and severe nature.

    Proposed by the Minister of Finance Yannis Stournaras as a means to “release the potential for economic development that the coastal areas offer”, the bill, if enacted, will dismantle the existing legal regime that has 


    (a) helped Greece keep largely free of concrete high-rises that blight coastal regions of other countries and 
    (b) allowed the public’s free access to all coastal areas.
     

    The bill has raised public attention and strong criticism as it:
    1. Grants to developers the right to appropriate, build on and even modify the coastline altering a landscape that has remained unchanged for centuries,
    2. Restricts the public’s longstanding right of free access to the coastline,
    3. Grants an amnesty to existing structures built in breach of existing legislation,
    4. Permits seasonal beach establishments (e.g. beach bars, umbrellas and summer beds) to occupy the entire length of beaches,
    5. Is expected to have a permanent, material and adverse impact on the environment including on the coastal and marine ecosystems.

    Driven to significant extent by social media activity, public consultation on the bill, which only opened on April 17 2014 and was originally set to close on 2 May 2014 has now been extended to 13 May 2014, with the Ministry of Finance conceding that “citizens’ participation and contribution to the consultation process has raised issues that must be further examined”.

    For more information contact the citizens’ initiative ‘Save The Greek Seashore’ at savethegreekseashore@outlook.com


    For announcements and updates, follow the initiative on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/aigialoi or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SaveGRSeashore

    Save Greece's shores. We don't want to become Ibiza, we don't want enormous concrete constructions on our shorelines.

    Sign now and spread the word. Help save what Greece is famous for, unrestricted access to our magnificent shoreline... http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/greek-goverment-stop-proposed-legislation-for-the-greek-shoreline?share_id=odUvOjAfJL&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

    You can also sign the petition at AVAAZ  http://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Ypoyrgo_Oikonomikon_G_Stoyrnara_Ypografoyme_Ohi_sto_xepoylima_ton_Ellinikon_paralion/?beNMHab&v=39640

    Just say NO! 

    If you're in Greece, make your opposition known in the public consultation which has been extended to May 13. http://www.opengov.gr/minfin/?p=4692

    If you're abroad, email the tourism ministry (info@gnto.gr). Let them know you love Greece BECAUSE of its pristine, accessible beaches and that this bill will HARM, not HELP tourism.


    If you speak Greek you may like to watch the video below from Skai TV's Eco News discussing the issue.

    null

    Save Greece's shores for her people, for her friends! 

     For all our sakes! 
     

    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
     © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

    Monday, May 5, 2014

    This Is Crete! This is Greece! Flash Pentozali at Chania's Beautiful Old Harbour....


    Chania's picturesque Old Harbour is always a very popular place for coffee and a snack but on Megalo Savvato - Holy Saturday this year it was particularly crowded...


    Along with all the people basking in the warm Saturday sunshine, popular Cretan performers George and Nikos Stratakis were also enjoying their coffee at the old port of Chania. On their table sat a big drum, a daouli... 

     

     It attracted a child's interest and when he started to beat a rhythm....
    the performers picked up their instruments and started to strum and play along, unable to resist the temptation.


    It didn't take long for the dancing to start...  


    Greek and foreign passers-by alike joined in the traditional "pentozali", joining in the fun all along the harbour.




    The dancers hand-in-hand, lined up from one end of the old port to the other...


    Sit back and watch the whole thing in the video Dancing with a Cretan Heart below...  then book your flight to Greece! 

    OPA! 




    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
    © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

    #BuyGREEK4Xmas 2013: And the winners were.....




    Thanks so much for being part of our #BuyGREEK4Xmas Internet Campaign this year and supporting Greece! It gets better and better each year!

    Let's look at some numbers:

    Western Christmas shopping is about 1 trillion USD!!! 

    If even one in 100 people had bought something made in Greece this last Christmas period, it would add 10 billion to our GDP pulling Greece out of recession and into marginal growth. It would add 100,000 manufacturing jobs which would ripple out to a good reduction in Greece's unemployment rate.

    1 in 100.

    Let's aim for that next year!

    After a long time while we waited for two of the original winners to contact us, we had to redraw.

    The lucky winners are Georgia Constantin (USA), Stavros Nashi )USA), Sue Harper Angelakos (Greece) , Eleanna Giannopoulou (Greece), Aslaug M Neset (Norway), and Sofia Georgaki (Greece)! Congratulations to all concerned!

    Our thanks to our wonderful donors

    Asimika Konstantopoulou

    from ΑΣΗΜΙΚΑ ΧΡΥΣΑ ΚΩΝΣΤΑΝΤΟΠΟΥΛΟΥ, and is a traditional New Year gouri, a good luck charm given to good friends and loved ones in the New Year. Appropriatelly named ' Grammi' and beautifully crafted in 925 Sterling Silver, this year's charm represents the unbroken line of life, symbolising the power of creativity and development. 
    Thanks so much Katerina Konstantopoulou and www.silverware.gr for this lovely gift.

    Το νέο γούρι ονομάζεται «Γραμμή», απεικονίζει την ατελείωτη γραμμή της ζωής και συμβολίζει την ανεξάντλητη δημιουργική δύναμη και εξέλιξη, από την αιτία ως το αποτέλεσμα. Ευχαριστούμε πολύ!

    Litrivi Oil


    Litrivi - Extra Virgin Olive Oil. A bottle of Litrivi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, from their limited production (1200 bottles for 2013). Litrivi Olive Oil is produced from olive trees that are cultivated exclusively with traditional methods in the Peloponnese area. Privately owned olive groves, self harvesting, bottling and personal packaging ensure that each bottle is unique and part of the Litrivi family. 
    Thank you to Vangelis Antonopoulos for this lovely offer! http://www.litrivi.com/

    Ergani Weaving


    ERGANI weaving workshop which started in 1998 in Poros, a small #Greek island, close to Athens. Eleni loves to weave traditional Greek designs and mix them with contemporary and natural shapes to make bed covers, afghans, curtains, rags, table cloths/table runners, wall hangings. 
    Thank you Eleni! http://www.facebook.com/pages/ERGANI-weaving-workshop/102400479812493



    Demetra Mantheakis

    Demetra Mantheaki donated a copy of her latest book,  Μια Στιγμή Αρκεί, a love story set in the exclusive fast-moving world of Greek shipping.
    Λονδίνο 1955. Η Χριστιάνα, κόρη του βαθύπλουτου Έλληνα πλοιοκτήτη Μάνθου Λαζαρίδη, ερωτεύεται τον Νικόλα Αγγελίδη, γυιό καπετάνιου από την Άνδρο. Η αγάπη τους, όμως, διακόπτεται μετά τη βίαιη παρέμβαση του πατέρα της που απορρίπτει τον Νικόλα τον οποίο θεωρεί παρακατιανό. Η Χριστιάνα υποχρεώνεται να συμβιβαστεί με την επιθυμία του πατέρα της. Θα αναγκαστεί να παντρευτεί έναν άντρα είκοσι χρόνια μεγαλύτερό της, και θα ζήσει δίπλα του μια φαινομενικά ήρεμη κι ευτυχισμένη ζωή, θάβοντας ένα τρομερό μυστικό μαζί με την ανεξίτηλη ανάμνηση του Νικόλα βαθιά στη ψυχή της… Όμως ο χρόνος θα φέρει στην επιφάνεια τις κρυμμένες αλήθειες και ηχηρά σκάνδαλα θα συγκλονίσουν τους πρωταγωνιστές, ανατρέποντας για άλλη μια φορά τις ζωές τους...


    Thank you Alexis and Dimitra Mantheaki! May it become a bestseller fast!

    http://www.ianos.gr/eshop/biblia/pezografia-poiisi/pezografia-elliniki/mia-stigmi-arkei/0298936pp/

    Alexis Stamatis

    Celebrated Greek author and poet Alexis Stamatis donated a copy of his second novel, Βar Flaubert for our #BuyGREEK4Xmas draw. Bar Flaubert is a critically acclaimed best seller in Greece, and has been published in UK, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Serbia. 
    Thank you so much Alexis Stamatis! We hope it becomes a bestseller worldwide!
    http://www.amazon.com/Bar-Flaubert-Alexis-Stamatis/dp/1900850575

    Angela Bereri 

    Gifted artist Angela Bereri has been living outside Greece for the last few years with her family, following her husband's posting to Skopje. She works with semi-precious stones creating beautiful handmade creations which are a delight to wear. Angela donated this very Greek and unique piece of neck jewellery made with turquoise and pearls and other beads. A beautiful piece which can be worn in many different ways.
    Thank you Angela! 

    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
    © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Photo of the Day: Happy May Day! Καλή Πρωτομαγιά!



    My daughter's bouquet of wildflowers perfectly match her purple hoodie 

    Paradise is...

    gathering some of the beautiful flowers growing on Pendeli Mountain in the late afternoon sunshine
    as we give thanks for those that sacrificed themselves so that we could do this

    Καλή Πρωτομαγιά!

    Have a great May Day everyone!

    Καλημέρα - Καλό Μήνα! 

    Kalimera - Kalo Mina!





    At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows! 
    © GlobalGreekWorld 2014 All Rights Reserved

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