In less than two weeks I’ll be jetting off to Cyprus to eat, sleep, eat, be merry and eat. And of course, see my family.
Did I mention that I’ll be eating? A. Lot.
Being Greek, you’re expected to love food, and I do just that.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed when a Greek bumps into another Greek, they will instantly form a strong bond. A bond over the Greek language, the weather, the food – not just any food, their Grandma’s food. Nothing could ever beat a Greek Grandma’s cooking.
For breakfast, you’ll have toast, cereal AND last night’s leftovers because she of course made enough to feed a thousand, and you love her for it. Grilled halloumi, fresh tomatoes and olives are served with every meal. And the kebabs my Grandad makes…
Sorry, I’m just dribbling.
Ever since we were little, Mam and Dad would ship us three kids off to our Grandparents in Cyprus every summer for the full six weeks, and not once did we complain. Who else is lucky enough to have a six week holiday in Cyprus that you don’t have to pay a penny for? Every year we were fortunate enough to hang out with cousins of a similar age to us and roam around the countryside and wilderness of Cypriot villages.
Back then before they started making Cyprus a bit more commercialised, we would play on the roads in front of my Grandparents’ house, chase lizards and wander the village for hours finding our own adventures. My Grandad would drop us off at the beach with our Grandma and cousins and we’d spend the day there sunbathing, playing and looking for crabs in rock pools. We’d have sandwiches filled with fresh tomatoes and cucumber, halloumi, spam and a little bit of sand. If you dropped your food, you wouldn’t just stare at it, you’d pick it up, don’t you know we Greeks like to eat? And those were the days.
I’ll admit, we like to shout and we use our hands a lot when we’re speaking. We are just very passionate people. People often mistake our tone of voice to be rude or aggressive but we’re just trying to get our point across because we’re passionate about what we’re thinking and feeling, and as my Mam always says, she was born near the railway.
It’s true you’ll have lots of cousins, aunties, uncles and extended members of the family with either the same name, or similar sounding names, ie
Me – Androula, Mam – Stavroula, Auntie – Tasoula, Cousin – Yiannoula, Great Auntie – Fodoula.
And the guy’s names aren’t any better, they’re pretty much the same but ending in “i” or “os” at the end instead of “a”.
Now we’re getting older, it’s sad that we can’t play on the streets anymore chasing lizards and looking for snakes. But what is fun, is going out now as adults with our cousins, and going to each other’s weddings and celebrations. I’ve been waiting for a reason to start smashing some plates.
Bless my Grandma, she can’t speak a lot of English since she moved back to Cyprus. She rang up one day asking how we were, she said she had a cold so I suggested she make the lemon chicken and rice soup she used to make us when we were sick. It was only halfway through her spelling out the recipe for me that I realised she misunderstood me and thought I said I had a cold. “Pour in the water, slowly slowly… You want more lemon? Put more lemon…” Awww my Yiayia.
Ever seen the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding? I’m telling you it’s all true. I’m nearing 26 years old and I haven’t got a husband, kids or house and I’m not home all day cooking for my Grandchildren so clearly something is wrong with me. “When I was your age Androula, I had a house, children, Grandchildren, goats and I was cooking cooking cooking.”
Yes I have the Greek nose and the passionate temper, but hey…I’ve also got the year-round tan baby.
One thing I’m not looking forward to is that when Greek ladies get older, apparently they start growing a moustache?
If that is true, it’s a good thing I’m only half Greek then!
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the Irish…