So, it’s no secret that I didn’t love Greece. I felt bad for not loving it, but then I asked my mom if she would go back again and she choked, then said something like, “HA! NO FUCKING WAY!” (Obviously, I didn’t learn to swear like a sailor by hanging out at bars.) I won’t, and can’t, get into the details of our last 24 hours in Greece but I will tell you that they involved the words, “Call Security,” and that upon our return to the states, everyone’s response on hearing the details were, “You are lucky to be alive.”
Honestly. We are. Had you told me this prior to our trip, I would have assumed it would have been something the Velvet Family would have done. But, I promise, none of this was our fault. And I think my parents are effectively not answering their phone or front door for a while at the Velvet Family Compound.
Anyway, there was one good part of the trip in all of the mess.
The island my grandfather came from is a place no one has heard of, is on no cruise line route, and frankly, I want to go back there. And I don’t want to be hearing no stinking English when I do, so I will not be naming said island. You can find your own island anyway.
We stayed at our cousin’s house. I knew it was primitive when they said, “The bathroom is outside.” Shit. The first morning, I was woken by roosters. They wouldn’t let me sleep, cock-a-doodle-doo-ing each other from every side of the island, so I got up to take a walk. I went up the hill to the main road and scared the shit out of a bunch of goats. Look how cute they are. I want one!!!
You can’t see it in this picture, but they tie the goat’s front foot to its corresponding back foot. I know goats can kick some ass climbing mountains, but I didn’t understand why they tie their hands to their feet. Our cousins said it was because they will run away. My mom was threatening to do that to my dad if he didn’t behave. Anyway, that was when I realized just how far in the middle of nowhere we really were. No. Wait. When I was reading D.C. Noir and a Donkey walked by…THAT’S when I realized just how in the middle of nowhere we were. And it was awesome. This is him, later on, being led by his owner.
The cousins are trying to get me to come back and spend a month next summer. I said, “Bitch, ain’t you heard of no job and shit?” But they are Greeks, and Greeks take plenty of time off without worrying about a job and two weeks vacation.
We went to see the house where my grandfather was born and lived until he illegally came to the U.S. My great grandparents raised seven children in a hut the same size as my shoebox in D.C. Because I’m not a materialistic, I actually never complain about the size of my condo. I could pack everything I own and move in probably less than 5 hours. But with a man and seven kids? Shit. Anyway here is my living proof of how POOR my family was.
Now, of course the house wasn’t originally trashed on the inside. But, according to the Greeks, “that’s what happens when Albanians buy it.”
My grandparents up and left Greece and came here to live out their arranged marriages, sling hash in diners, work at Bethlehem Steel, and sew garments in a sweatshop. They did it for my parents, who then became the first generation on both sides of the family to choose their own spouse and to attend college. And my parents did it for my brothers and I, who then went on to grad school, got good jobs, and don’t have to worry about money. There is a fallacy in the American Dream for my grandparents. It existed – but not for them. For their kids and grandkids.
Because my grandparents were born in Greece, I can actually get dual citizenship. My brother and I thought that was pretty cool the first few days of our trip and vowed to look into it. But by the end? All I could think was how our grandparents wanted so badly to get out of there, and how, 80 years later, we wanted to leave after only being there a few weeks, and I’m not so sure.
Capitalism. Democracy. Being an American. We may not be perfect, but we’re a whole lot better than a lot of other places.