Friday, June 29, 2007

Greek Washingtonians

I have to confess-the first time I went to Greece, I was nineteen years old, had left the nest and was not in the best frame of mind to travel back to my grandfather's home land with my family. And so, shortly after we arrived in Athens, I went to my room. And stayed there.  My cousin, Nikos had graciously given up his bedroom for me, and I was happy to have it. I slept so much that I never heard the end of it.

It was not the best of trips for me. My mother would throw open the curtains and cheerfully chirp "good morning, mary sunshine." I was unmoved and tried to go back to sleep.

I made note one day that it NEVER rained, and I got grief for being teenage cranky. But it's true- Greece is very hot and dry in the summer, from June through September, and I enjoy a good thunderstorm.  ( And I still like a cloudy cool day in the summer.)
The Greeks, I have to admit, know how to roll with the flow, sleeping all afternoon siesta style, then getting back to life towards evening. Another set back- I had to have minor surgery on my toe that summer, and going to a hospital where very few people spoke my language was spooky scary.

A few years later our cousin, Nikos came to Washington to study Orthodontics at Georgetown. He lived with our Aunt Catherine in Chevy Chase so I was called upon to amuse him now and then. I would pic him up and take him to my very scruffy group house in College Park which must have seemed like a colony from Mars to him, but he was a very good sport about it. And like a brother, he still teased me about my trip to Greece, and how I never came out of "my" room.

 I have to hand it to him; he became my friend despite my bad behavior. We don't see each other very often, but it is always a joy when we do. And to this day, quite a few years and trips and children later, we are still fond of each other- just like our fathers who led the way when they forged an overseas friendship way back when they were boys growing up- one cousin in the old country and one in the new.