Funny when I was growing up I remember getting dragged from this dance to that dance. First it was the Kalamatiani that held their dance, then the Messinian Society. We can’t forget the Samiotes or the Athenai-Pireotes. Weekend after weekend our parents would dress in their best and off we’d go to support a local sylogo (society). Each village or territory would have their own dance to fund their group. They would be held in banquet halls holding a couple of hundred people and it would be a place where you’d see all of your friends. I can remember one event in particular at Jimmy’s Allenhurst where the girls kept running away from the boys and we snuck into a banquet hall room that wasn’t being used. Boy did we get into trouble that day. It was harmless fun and you knew you were in a safe environment.
In some places these dances have gone away. Third and fourth generation Greeks living in the diaspora may not have had the same experience that their grandparents did who immigrated to these once far off lands. I had the opportunity to grow up in a very Greek community where these dances thrived. I’m also grateful that my little one gets to grow up in a community where these dances are still taking place. This past weekend she went to her first dance. And while she could not partake in the tiropites and locanico that were being passed around as appetizers and the Greek wine that was on the table, she was able to be surrounded by the love that was in that room. The love of being Greek and in this case particularly a Greek from Petrina.
So many people came up and wanted to meet the little Miss and hold her. As I think about it, she is the next generation Greek-Canadian/American. She is the generation that we can’t let forget about her Greekness. In a country that is so culturally diverse as Canada it is very easy to do so. An uncle from Greece sent her a toy that she loves. We have named the toy Penelope, very fitting for something that speaks Greek. This toy has Greek lullabies. She sits there and listens to the teddy bear speak and she laughs. As I said to someone yesterday, it is important to me and my husband that we speak Greek to our little one as English she will hear every day of her life. If we don’t pass the Greek onto her now, it will be very easy for us to lose that piece of ourselves.
And I leave you today with one of my favourite Greek nursery rhymes that we’re lucky enough to have Penelope the teddy bear sing:
Φεγγαράκι μου λαμπρό,
Φέγγε μου να περπατώ,
Να πηγαίνω στο σχολειό
Να μαθαίνω γράμματα,
Του Θεού τα πράματα.
My little shining moon,
Light my way so I can walk
To go to school,
To learn my lessons,
Reading and writing,
Well we had another two firsts this week…our first haircut and our first γιορτή! I have to say I’m so proud of how well she did with the haircut. She sat in the convertible all by herself, wore a bright pink cape and for the most part let the hairdresser do her job. And for her ονομαστική εορτή she cut a cake with her γιαγιά that celebrates as well and she even had a little lick of the frosting thanks to her dad.
Everything you read will tell you something different about this stage of the game. I can tell you that we’re somewhere in the middle of it all. I still can’t believe that I have a six month old but it really hit me this part week. As my little one sat in her high chair it hit me that she’s not a newborn anymore. She is this amazing little person with her two teeth, killer smile and upbeat personality. She is banging on tables, blabbing away, pulling hair and moving in circles but hasn’t mastered the forward crawl yet. She has tasted a variety of food including: avocados, sweet potatoes, toast, Kalamata olives, and her godmothers famous pizza sauce. It truly is an adventure everyday and I’m just so blessed that she’s letting us go along for the ride!
And as we move along in our own little world today let’s take a moment to say thank you to all the men and women who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice. Whichever of my countries you live in, today is a day to be grateful and to remember those who made it possible for you to have the life you do.
What another amazing week we had. We celebrated our first Halloween, complete with costumes, pumpkins and candy (for mom– don’t judge me). It was great to see little Miss be able to share this with her cousins the Incredible Hulk and the Texas Burger. Seriously the pictures will serve as memories for years to come.
I also celebrated an anniversary last month of 6 years in my new country. It truly is amazing how that time flew. It was one of the hardest decisions I made in my life and yet one of the easiest. I now have an amazing life to show for it. As good as it is, there are certain times that you miss your comfort zone: your family and friends and support network. I have been able to surround myself with some great people but 30 years of friendship, in some cases, is hard to replicate in 6. Having a baby made me miss that comfort zone.
As I said to one mom, meeting new mommy friends is like dating and who liked doing that?!? You go to Starbucks and grab a coffee, as you are guaranteed to speak to another adult when you place your order. You may walk through Target in hopes of getting your baby to nap. You swear that you have a loss prevention officer tailing you as you literally are in there every day. And then you see her. She’s coming down the aisle, pushing a stroller like you. She may have it put together a bit more that day, or she may look a little more disheveled. Either way you’re getting ready to smile. You look up and smile at her and she walks by and nothing. She’s consumed at her baby fidgeting in the carriage, or she’s texting, or whatever it may be that day. And you feel as though you missed that opportunity to connect. Well I took matters into my own hands last week and started a meetup group for moms in my area. So far I’m proud to say we have 26 mommies (and the majority I don’t know yet). We have a bunch of events scheduled and it feels good. Good to be able to connect again with more than just my barista!