My Big Fat Greek Life
Posted on 22 September 2016
"I love you up to the moon," said Little Nutbrown Hare.
"Oh, that's far," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "That is very, very far." Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves.
He leaned over and kissed him goodnight. Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you to the moon and back." 'Guess How Much I Love You'...Sam McBratney
When we first started thinking about names for our Online Children's Boutique we found it very difficult to find a name that fit us perfectly and that wasn't already taken. I had remembered a term of endearment that my Aunt in Greece used to call me whenever I was visiting. Hearing the phrase out loud just gave me chills and filled me with so much excitement that I hoped that Sabrina would agree to it. Being that she wasn't Greek, I wasn't sure it would resonate the same with her as it did with me. 'Kamari mou' my aunt would say with a big smile and open arms. 'Kamari mou' literally means 'my pride' or 'my love to the nth degree'. A term that was reserved mostly for children or the love of your life. When I asked Sabrina what she thought of the name 'Kamari Kids' she automatically loved it, when she found out the meaning, she knew it was meant to be.
Both Sabrina and I are first generation Americans. Her family emigrated over from Croatia and mine from Greece. Even though our parents were from two different countries our upbringing was still very similar. Both our families were very strict, and both enforced very similar values in us growing up in a country where they barely knew the language. Even though I was born in America, my first language was Greek. It was tough being different from everyone else. Although I spoke English, I always translated things I wanted to say in my head from Greek to English and let's just say it didn't always come out the right way. Can you believe I never even had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich until I became an adult? Instead my lunch box was filled with pastitsio and spinach pie. I had to go to Greek school after school was done for the day twice a week in the evenings while all my 'non-greek' friends were either playing or going to Girl Scouts. If you've ever seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" you understand a little bit about what life was like growing up as a Greek American girl. Aside from the Windex ( I really don't know anyone who uses it other than to clean their mirrors and windows) it pretty much sums up my life. Instead of a bunch of Nick's in my family my sixteen first cousins on my mothers side are named Effie or Louie and we all pretty much live in a three block radius of each other. I couldn't leave my house without bumping into a relative who was asking me where I was going. I had to move all the way across the country to Los Angeles for six years just to escape that. Needles to say I didn't always enjoy being Greek when I was young. My parents tried to enforce the importance of being proud of my heritage, but to me it was just more things that I needed to go to school to learn. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles and a friend of mine would brag to people that I was Spartan that I started to believe it was something to be proud of. I had the pleasure to meet Gerard Butler who played 'King Leonidas' in the movie "300" and he was so excited to actually meet someone with a Spartan background as well. That year Greece was honoring him with the key to Sparta, he was very proud of that and so was I.
Back when I was in College at New York University I became very active in the Greek Club. The Greek Community at NYU was very tight knit. We all were very supportive of each other and basically did everything together. We even went on trips together with other Greek clubs from other colleges. I soon realized that the Greek community in general is very tight. My sister, friends and I would go to Greece every summer only to come back depressed that we had left the motherland and were now back in the states. We managed to hang out at the same couple of Astoria Bars that played all the songs that we heard that summer in Mykonos, Santorini or any of the other Greek Islands we had visited that summer.
Now that I am married and have a little girl believe it or not I have moved back to the neighborhood where I grew up, where my 557 greek cousins all live with their spouses and kids and I honestly wouldn't change a thing. I now see how important family is and how important it is to be proud of where you come from. I'm excited for my daughter to grow up surrounded by family, I'm also excited for her to go to Greek school, which I know she will hate but one day thank me for.
Last year when we first launched we were asked to participate in the Archangel Michael Greek Festival on the Harbor in Port Washington. I can't tell you how surprising and amazing it was to see people that I hadn't seen in so many years, that I didn't know lived in the neighborhood. These people that I knew from College or high school were so supportive and happy for Sabrina and I that we really felt the love. The festival itself was amazing. They basically have it on the beach in this big open space. It's like a mini six flags with so many fun rides, amazing Greek food and a firework celebration on Saturday night. I'm so excited that we will be participating at the festival again this weekend. I know that I will see so many familiar faces, people that bring back so many happy memories for me, people that I may have grown apart from but they are the kind of people that no matter how long it's been that we haven't spoken we pick up where we left off.
While I'm excited to see these old faces again I'm also so excited to meet new ones. The people that don't know about us yet, I know they will love us!
If you are in the neighborhood this weekend come by and say hello, we would love to meet you.
2016 GREEK FESTIVAL ON THE HARBOR
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23th 4 pm – 11 pm
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24th NOON – 11 pm
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th 1 pm – 8 pm
North Hempstead Beach Park, Port Washington, NY
(Some of our favorite Kamari Kids! Boys in Jagged Culture)
(These cuties stopped by to say hello and pose in front of Kamari the Koala)
(Sabrina and I last year at the Festival)