Attacking Life with Comedic Jaws of Sarcasm. Recovering Dating & Relationship Blogger - Made it to Step 12 When I Got Married.

Tha Pao Stin Ellada


Despite the fact that Greece is currently on fire, I am flying in to Athens tomorrow. Spending two weeks with my family is painful enough. But two weeks on islands sans internet connections and cell phones and avec women with mustaches? Oh boy. I’m bringing books with me to keep me from going stir crazy, and a bottle of Klonopin to keep me from killing someone.

James Joyce – Ulysses; Hemingway – For Whom the Bell Tolls; D.H. Lawrence – Women in Love; D.C. Noir – Various. Those are the books. If I finish all four, then you’ll know that I spent a lot of time away from the family, but more importantly, away from the Baklava. Christ, I doubled up on the running just in anticipation of all the fucking Baklava that will be shoved down my throat.

Besides not being funny, David Sedaris doesn’t do it justice. Greeks are fucking crazy. The Greeks have this phrase they say when a baby is born or christened. Na Sas Zisi! It means “May he/she live for you.” The irony here is that most Greek parents not only expect their children to live for them, they demand it. You all saw the movie. It’s sort of like that. It’s exactly like that. I remember the day my brother re-worded something my mother had said to him during an argument (an argument that spanned several years by the way and continues to this day) and he came back with, “So I owe you? For raising me?” My mom said yes. She doesn’t see anything wrong with that.

Growing up in Connecticut, everyone was either Italian or Irish. It was weird to have a background that is so rare. You don’t bump into Greeks every day. But when someone does, you will most definitely hear about it. “Oh, my doctor’s wife is Greek! She’s a nice girl!” Or, “Oh, there was a Greek guy down at the Dupont Market last weekend. What was his name? He had a funny name. Spiropolous? Do you know him?” No, you asshole. We don’t all know each other. But to a non-Greek, knowing a Greek is apparently as elusive but as claim-to-fameish as holding the winning Powerball ticket.

When I moved to the south, no one was Greek. No one was Italian or Irish either. No one was anything as a matter of fact. The south is where you find the people who have been in this country for so many generations that they can’t even trace their history back to one European country. Blasphemous! You mean to tell me that people intermarried? Savages! TI KRIMA! The Greeks didn’t even marry anyone from the next village. In church, my grandmother used to poke my father and his sisters (who I call Patty and Selma, not to their faces,) point at some other family and say “Don’t talk to them. They are from the next village!” My grandparent’s marriage was arranged. I think my grandfather was like 20 years older than her too. Score! Oh, wait, I guess that was scandalous. My grandmother was 17 when they got married.

I have never known anything other than that my grandparents all emigrated (cough, if you call jumping ship “emigration,”) from Crete and Andros. I am hoping now it will come full circle exactly why my grandparents chose to come to America. Though, I’m sure the stories have done it justice. I get it. We were poor. I don’t have to dine alongside rats and shit in a hole in someone’s backyard to understand how poor we were.

Life here was not a huge improvement over life on the islands in Greece. But here, there was opportunity – something lacking in a country historically torn by war and poverty; a country so geographically vulnerable that one day you may wake up to find your country was now occupied by the Turks. TI KRIMA! I love my family’s and ancestor’s relationship with money. They never had it, now they do and they stuff it in the bank when they get it and won’t part with it for anything. I’m the same way. It’s comical to me that there are so many people in this country who “came from money,” yet, they don’t have any. The American way. Spend spend spend. Why save? I mean really. You can file bankruptcy and someone will bail you out. That someone will probably be me by the way, and the rest of the immigrants who pay cash for everything and don’t incur any debt. Shit, my grandfather paid cash for his house. In 1930!!!

Greece is close to the Middle East. It holds its place in Europe only because Yugoslavia hasn’t let go yet. It is a couple hundred miles from Egypt. With hundreds of islands out there exposed in the Mediterranean, Greece has had to fight for everything. More irony, considering that most Greeks who come to the states end up fighting and hating each other. Just the other day my father started the story again about how the Greek Priest. Yessssss dad……..I already heard this story…….. like 100 times…….

Anyway, the quirks of my ancestry that I used to take for granted I am hoping to finally appreciate. Another tattoo will be in order upon my return. That is, if the fires don’t kill us first.

Someone keep an eye on the cops while I’m gone…okay?





  1. suicide_blond

    wait!!!! what do you mean NO internet connection??? youre kidding right???
    how can you relax with NO INTERNET CONNECTION????

  2. homeimprovementninja

    Two things:

    1) you don’t think Sedaris is funny? Wow. You’re a tough critic.

    2) I knew a greek guy once. Nick, Somethingopolis…from Astoria, queens? Know him?

    3) Have a nice trip! Eat some souvlaki in my honor.

  3. freckledk

    With the fires already raging, at least no one can blame you for starting them up. It wouldn’t be the first time you’d been accused of something that wasn’t your doing.

    Have a great time. Bring me back something pretty. Love you!

  4. jordanbaker

    And you complain about my vacations. . .

  5. I-66

    Panatha mou, se aghapo, opou ki an pezis panda tha s’akoloutho…

  6. Velvet

    SB – Yes, it doesn’t look good for internet. Athens will be fine, but the islands? Shit. I think people still kill their own dinners out there.

    Ninja – I don’t find Sedaris comical at all. Though I’ve heard that you need to hear him deliver his stuff, not just read it. And after that whole scandal where he admitted taking liberties, as in, makes shit up, I just lost respect. As you well know, truth is stranger than fiction. No souvlaki for me. I’m a veg. Remember?

    FK – Wouldn’t be the first time for sure. Though, I’m used to taking the fall for someone else’s doing.

    JB – When did I complain! Okay, yes, I complained when it got in the way of our social life here in D.C. I admit it.

  7. Velvet

    I66 – What is that? A song about soccer and drugs?

  8. carrie m

    have a great trip and I’ll see you when you get back!

    and i’m telling you – bring your laptop. the stuff you put down could be a better-than-Sedaris book.

  9. minijonb

    with the Klonopin by your side, you can handle anything. just go have a great time and chill for two weeks.

  10. JohnnyDC

    So what youre saying is the grampies were a hair away from moving to Canaduh…

    Whats that all aboot?

  11. Momentary Academic

    Have a wonderful time! I look forward to the stories, koritza.

  12. I-66

    Actually yes, though it’s not limited to soccer. Panathinaikos basketball fans sing it as well. It’s actually quite a spectacle.

    They say “Panatha mou, se aghapo, san heroini, sa skliro narcotico”, which you don’t really even need to know Greek to understand.

  13. CrazyGirl

    Have a great time!

  14. Velvet

    Carrie M – I’ve got the notebook. Most of my best work is all over scraps of paper. I was talked out of bringing the laptop, only because Greeks are fucking thieves, and it probably wouldn’t last in my hotel.

    Mini Jon – Someone at the dog park tried to warn me that I could get addicted to the Klonopin. I laughed. I don’t get addicted to anything.

    Johnny – Hmm. Maybe they should have.

    MA – Oh…I can only imagine with the Velvet clan will do. At least the fires seem to be contained now.

    I66 – No, you don’t, do you.

    Crazy Girl – Thank you. We are loooooong overdue for some drinks.

  15. Melly Mel

    Enjoy luv! Lord knows you deserve it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Tacoma!

    I’d been going to the Greek fest in our city for a couple of years (YUM), and every year I wondered why I never saw these people outside of going to their festival (I’ve lived here all of my life).
    Then I read your blog. All is explained!

  17. barbara

    As I recall, fires were burning as Desdemona and Lefty left Greece. What a perfect welcome for you since you just read Middlesex. How are you and Gloom and Doom really getting along? I was once on a 3-week trip with my parents. By the time we got home we were ready to kill each other. But the funny thing is after a few months we never remembered or mentioned that part of the trip. Have fun! Can’t wait to hear the whole story when you return.

  18. WildbillthePirate

    You’re Greek? That explains you’re wicked sense of Humor! Get a group of Greek girls & OZO together & watch the funny fly! Seriously, Stay awayfrom the fires (if you can) Kiss you oldest Grandma’s head and knw she went her whole life without the Klonipin.

  19. Washington Cube

    Skelo skata ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Doink

    Hoping to find a Greek hubby-to-be over there…?

  21. barbara

    OMG! Your parents didn’t take you to Greece to arrange a marriage, did they? I know they would be most excited if you found a Greek husband, but that might be an extreme way to do it. Then again, it would save you the agony of all that dating… ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. ela statoumou


  23. CrazyGirl

    Yes we are. I am metro accessible now at my job, so we can meet up after work….WHENEVAH!

    I’ll email you the new work address.

  24. LiaInvictus

    Yiasou! Enjoy the islands; they are PERFECT this time of year (raging wildfires not withstanding). The men? Not so much…

  25. Siryn

    I met a greek guy today who reminded me of fucking GEORGE HAMILTON. What a schmoozer. Hugs, give me a buzz when you get home.

  26. Washington Cube

    Hey wait a minute. I know a Greek guy who reminds me of George Hamilton…I was going to hook Velvet up with him back in the day. In fact, come to think of it, today is his birthday. MGG (my Greek guy)…not George Hamilton…or maybe George Hamilton.

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