What My Greek Heritage Has Taught Me

I am not only French — I am also Greek.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have spent my summers in Greece, making it my second home. I remember playing in the sand while surrounded by the voices of my Greek cousins. I know the Athens airport better than any other place in the world. It symbolizes a beginning and an end for me — it is where my grandfather always welcomes us into his arms, and where we say goodbye to him before we go back to France.

Despite the Greek stereotype of being stubborn and loud, it comes from a place of pride — we are proud of our cultural heritage, our delicious food, and our awe-inspiring islands.

Yet we also value community, shown through how passionate, caring, generous, kind, and welcoming we are. We look out for one another and make sure that no one feels left out. If that means spending two days cooking for 27 people or welcoming “cousins” that we’ve never seen before into our homes, we do it with a smile on our face. Despite our broad definition of the word “family,” we are tight-knit — we cook, dance, laugh, celebrate, love and live together.

Being Greek has taught me that there is no fun in building up walls to protect ourselves from strangers. Through my heritage, I’ve learned to grab another chair and welcome new friends at the table; to open my hands and invite them to take part into the dance — simply, the more, the merrier.

 

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