by Heather Apostolikis (Cervantes) and Kitty Maiden
My granddaughter-in law made a trip to Greece this summer. She went to the country where her father Hercules was born and here is portion of her article to me.
Growing up on Long Island, when people found out that I was Greek, I was often asked, if my dad owned a diner. I would say no, but I would tell them my dad’s name was Hercules which us- ually surprised them and made them chu-ckle. I’m technically half Greek but have my dad’s long
Greek last name. When I got older, people would ask me if my family was like the one in the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I would tell them my dad doesn’t use Windex as a cure-all for everything, but he does think that the Greeks invented everything. In a way, they invented a lot of things, including democracy, philosophy, the Olympic games, and, lets not forget, feta cheese!
You don’t have to be Greek to feel welcome. The people are warm and friendly. There are only a handful of Greek words to get by on your visit. Most Greeks, especially in the tourist destinations speak English. If you want to impress the locals, greet them with “yasas” which means hello (and also goodbye). If you want to take it a step further the morning greeting is kali-mera, meaning good morning. Quite similar sounding kalispera, means good afternoon, and kalinikta means good night. If you are feeling excited or hear the sound of something dropping like a plate, shout out OPA!
There is a fascination with Greece. The birthplace of western civilization. It’s beauty, surrounded by the clear blue Mediterranean and Aegean sea, and stunning beaches. There’s the blue and white dome churches in Santorini, the old windmills and beach parties in Mykonos, and the history of the Acropolis in Athens. There is certain charm about this place. Did you know there are 6,000 is-lands scattered in the Greek Seas, but only 227 of them are inhabited? I have been fortunate to visit many of the islands and traveled around Athens a handful of times and there is no hype; Greece is a most beautiful country.
Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.