Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Why didn't I think of this sooner? Take the children to a modern Greek play as a "live" and "lively" way of educating them in the language.  It seems so natural, and so obvious, yet I never thought of it.  So, as a result of my mom suggesting we go and see a comedy called Ta Kitrina Gantia, (If the Glove Fits, or literally, The Yellow Gloves) at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria, Queens, I jumped at the chance.  Usually,  Mother's Day, is fun for about a half hour of opening cards and then going to church and out to eat, Mother's Day was exceptional this year.

For one, I spent it with my husband and children in the morning, and then later, he enjoyed a day with his mom, while I drove my children and mom in to Astoria to see this Greek comedy.  Having already warned my children, that if they misbehave during the play on this particular day, every silly band they own will be {xilia milia komatia mesa sta skoupithia}.  That means in a million pieces in the garbage.  Look, they owe me a few, as I do go out of my way, as most of us to make them "enjoy" Greek school.  Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?  If you do your home work well, and with out whining, we'll go to the movies tomorrow.  If you want ice cream then you need to say, "thelo pagoto se parakalo, Mama".  Child repeats it then we go crazy high fiving the kid.  Such is the life of raising a bilingual child as a first generation Greek-American parent. Not easy.  All our parents had to do was the stare down...and the kicker is that this worked.  If I give my children the look, they whisper to each other, mommy looks funny....yes mommy looks funny all right until.....

Back to my reasons for acknowleding this as the greatest mother's day. 
The second reason that it was so special was that after all my concern that my children behave, they genuinely enjoyed the show.  Who would have thought?  What happened was an unexpected reward for the children, Yiayia and me.  It's not easy teaching our children any second language if it is not spoken exclusively in the home and here is this wonderful revelation and opportunity to further the childrens' bilingualism, as well as appreciation for their culture.  Mother's Day, this year, brought my children a renewed sense of their abilities, and progress in the acquisition of the Greek language.  Simply for them though, it was more about the fun.   That night, and every night since my children have asked me to read Greek stories to them.  All three are competing with each other to be the first to tell me what each sentence meant. 

This is my thank you to Ta Kitrina Gantia of the Ichneftes Theater.  Thank you for wonderful acting and tin perifania pou estanthikane ta paidia mou, kai estanounde tora pou eivai ellines. Sas euxapistw. 
With love.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

***Crisis in Greece***

Christos Anesti,
Today, I'm taking the opportunity to discuss my concern over the growing crisis in Greece.   Given, that I have family in Greece, but more than that, a permanent connection to all that my grandparents, and hence Greece has/ had given me; I am deeply saddened by the deaths of  three people and the chaos that is at hand. 

      I was thinking, what could one person do?  Me alone, if I could do anything to help I would but, truly what can one person alone do?  It only takes one person though to talk to one other, and then the second person talks to someone else...You get what I mean.  I can't do anything alone.  However, all of us together those of us who are Greek, those of us who are not, all together we certainly can.  Maybe you fell in love with Greece through books, or visiting Greece or maybe just visiting a Greek household, where you were automatically welcomed in as family.  To you all I am writing, please pray that the crisis subsides and that Greece's economy is restored.   Please also consider, if in any way, there is a channel provided for us to legitimately help restore Greece's economy even slightly and we are requested to assist, please consider offering what you are capable of.
            Please enjoy the following three videos...

God Bless Us All.  

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Greek Parade in NYC 2010

Being fortunate enough to live in the New York tri state area allows us to commemorate a plethora of cultures through parades in Manhattan.  This allows those of us who may never travel to Italy, the Domenican Republic or Greece to get a lovely glimpse of some of the dances, hear music and see beautiful and unfamiliar costumes.  For me, living in New York, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to parade in the Greek Independence day parade with my three children.

This year we did not go on the float but rather they all marched in parts of the parade (Girl Scouts division, Greek School division).  For my children, it was an opportunity to feel and be filled with pride as so many Greeks, as well as non -Greeks spilled into the streets of NYC blanketing the streets between 69th and 83rd, with beautiful blue and white Greek flags and of course the American flag.  This for the children that are forced to attend Greek school each week is like the Olympic games for the athletes that have to get up at 5am for practice before school each day.  Finally, on this day, the children get a chance to wave the flag, dare I say enjoy the audience on the street sidelines and feel somewhat like a celebrity.  From what I can see with my own children, and what I remember growing up marching, this is a yearly highlight of the Greek school experience.  For even the children that may initially go kicking and screaming, or just "grumpy", by the end of the day, they too will be smiling. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Celebrating March 25, Greek Independence Day

A wonderful advantage of living in the United States, especially New York, is that we can vicariously travel the world with all the different cultures, religions and languages that we are exposed to here.  Just as St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in our childrens' schools by wearing of green being that Greek Independence Day is hard for our children to grasp at a young age, I take this as an opportunity to instill pride and a looking forward to celebration.  My children know that back in 1821, under the Ottoman empire, parents who were caught teaching their children Greek, were beaten and often killed.  Hence, there was "to kreefo skoleio"...which means the Secret school, where children were taught our language in the churches or caves in the middle of the night.  So, as much as my children may not like going to Greek school, they know what others had to go through to learn Greek.  Because they are young, now is the time to instill this day as a day of celebration at new found freedom.

So, I remind my children and students as well that the Greek flag has nine lines for the Greek word Elef8eria which means freedom.  The children come off there school bus to see blue and white balloons outside on the lamp post as well as nine balloons in the house with a cake made as the Greek flag.  The first year I did this, they were all overjoyed and surprised.  Since then they truly look forward to this day.

Essentially, regardless of whether you are trying to instill a love of the country, Israel, Italy, Spain or a part of Africa, it helps a child internalize it when we point out various holidays that may not be recognized  strongly in the area you live in.  This is part of America's beauty; We are able to enjoy and take pride in our roots that started in other countries.  We will soon be participating in the Greek parade in Manhattan, where we have the opportunity many cultures do to offer some visual beauty of Greek ethnic costumes and a chance to enjoy a positive focus on Greece in these difficult times.

Today, I say, Zntw n Ellas (long live Greece), and God Bless America.

This is on our way to Greek School for the Greek Independence Day Show.