[author ]Maria Katehis is a senior attending a public high school in Queens. She is planning to major in early childhood education in college and return to her native island of Corfu (Kerkira) where she hopes to teach English to preschoolers and primary grades. [/author]
I have been born and raised in one of the most diverse cities in the entire world. Growing up in New York, I have always loved the idea of meeting and connecting with others from different ethnic backgrounds. Believe it or not, there is more to the world than just baklava and souvlakia. My mother always told me her plan for me was to marry me off to “ena kalo paidi.” But when I found that “kalo paidi” she almost had a kardiako episodio. Why? Because he was Ecuadorian. Many times I had tried to explain to her that I really did not care about where he was from, but I probably would have gotten further talking to a wall.
Why is it looked down upon for Greek women to be in relationships with non-Greeks? I think it goes further than just “ti tha poune i alli?”
Our mothers and yiayias have come to America and tried to keep the Greek traditions going. It’s not a racist thing; it’s a “keep the Greek blood in you” type of thing.
The older generations believe that if we start to have mixed babies, the traditions we have been taught all these years will just go to waste. Who is to say I can’t have a half Greek/half Ecuadorian baby who goes to Greek school on Saturdays, but can also dance bachata like a professional? As long as I myself want to keep my roots and the Greek in me alive, it is very much possible. There’s more in the world than just Greek men, and dating someone outside your ethnic group can actually have so many positive influences on you as a person. You are open to trying new things, whether it be food or dances, even learning a language.
For months I kept my relationship a secret, fearing what my mother would say, but in the end, I refused to be ashamed about a relationship that I was very much happy about. So let them talk! As long as we as Greek women remember our roots, and even share them with out partners, never be fearful of what others will say. We will lose our Greekiness. Love is love, no matter what color of your flag.
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