Could I Get Anymore Greek Than This?
Music Vibes: Lavrentis Mahairitsas "Enas Tourkos sto Parisi"
Growing up Greek
Words by Billy George
I'm Greek. I've grown up around the culture, the food, the 'fashion' and the general lifestyle that comes with being 'ethnic'. So growing up in an all Australian / white neighbour wasn't all what it was cracked up to be! Definitely not. My parents worked extremely hard to get my family there! No one's contesting that.
Looking back at times, I felt like I had a decent childhood - every family has their issues but for the most part, it was fun! I had an older brother and sister who were almost like parents and would take my younger brother and I out all the time. I hear stories of how they'd take me out with their friends and I would cry if I wasn't able to the next time. My older brother apparently used to take me to 'pick up'. I must have been hella cute cause apparently it would work! We'd go on road trips to Healesville to visit the animal sanctuary or visits to the park with a McDonald's picnic. Even just going out with my older brother and his friends to play cricket (I would fetch the balls).
It was all fun and games to my young eyes. I later learnt that our neighbours at the time weren't very forthcoming on us. It's a pity even today that people face discrimination. I felt the kids at primary school were much more accepting than the adults in the area! But this isn't what this article is about.
Greek life was good. Really good. I think a lot of you reading this can kind of understand if your parents come from a different culture. Be it Italian, South American or Vietnamese, growing up and experiencing two worlds taught you a lot about life and how to not take it for granted. We're the first generation who got to experience the 'good life' our parents left home for Australia. My parents worked there butts off to get to where they are - they're not super rich or wealthy but we got to live comfortably in the nicer part of town.
Growing up Greek was the BEST because of one reason. The FOOD. My mom, even today, spends a lot of time in the kitchen and I would watch her cook dinner and help where I could, or bake some kind of greek cake or biscuits that would have you hanging off the edge of your seat if you caught a whiff! Over time, it's taught me a thing or two about how to put a nice meal together without having to follow recipes word for word. I don't cook so often but it definitely has helped me understand what does and doesn't go well together.
I grew up with a love of gastronomy. Over the years, it's only developed more and getting the chance to experience food of different cultures. I've never been one to stick to one type of cuisine all the time. I mean pizza and pasta is great, burgers are delicious but variety is the definite spice of life. I'm quite fortunate to have like minded friends who are all from the same or different cultures themselves and are more than willing to try different cuisines at different parts of town.
I guess that's one of the reasons why I love going to Japan. The food! Ugh, it's to die for! I've gone twice in the last, hmm what is it? Like 14 months. Definitely due for another quick trip. As for experiencing Europe and the food there? Maybe next year?