Immersing Myself Into Being A “True Greek”

I am officially into my classes and have completed my first week at Deree. The classes I am taking this semester are Oceanography, Finite math, Modern Greek and Greek Literature. Considering that I am in a completely different environment, I have adapted very well to my classes, teachers, peers, and have been making some local Greek friends. My favorite class that I am really enjoying is my Modern Greek course. Before I came to Greece I gave myself a couple goals and one of them was to master my Greek language and writing skills. I prefer to speak Greek over English, with others that are fluent in both languages, so me and my friends came to a common ground where we can both learn from each other where I speak Greek to them and they respond in English.

My Modern Greek class is exactly what I needed to brush up on some of my daily vocabulary, writing and grammar skills, my professor is more then helpful, guiding me and answering any questions I have. I am excited for my semester to keep progressing and to learn new life, educational, and cultural lessons daily.

Returning back to my goals that I have here in Greece, everyday when classes are over I come home and teach myself a new Greek word and then after I have figured out my word of the day, I teach my roommates a new word for them as well. So far they have learned some basic words that can help them get around if they need anything or have a question.

I am truly in love with the lifestyle here in Greece, I love that fact that you can walk around anywhere and see a strip of kafenia (cafes) in a matter of a couple of blocks. At anytime of the day these places are packed with people. Everyone looks happy, they have a sort of free spirit and aura that puts your mind at ease when you walk into one of these places. I love to see people happy and I truly believe that when you live a happy life achieving your goals comes easy and  even if you didn’t have the best day just knowing that you where able to put a smile on someone elses face ,will put a smile on my face! 🙂

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Every Monday right in front of our building theiris a local market  called the (Λαικι Αγορα), at the market you can find organic meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, herbs, honey (Meli), olive oil, nuts, beans and homemade wine. The market has local farmers come and vend their products so the people who live in the area are able to have fresh produce and foods for their family for the week. In Greece right now oranges are in season and their is an enormous amount of them, it makes for a great fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning! Me and my roommates really love waking up early in the morning on Mondays to go get all our fresh groceries for the week! Who knows maybe one Monday we might deiced to buy a chicken and raise it so that we can have fresh eggs all the time and eventually as times goes by make a nice chicken dinner!

In the sideshow above, their is a picture of stuffed tomatoes, which are called gemista. On Saturday night we have dinner night where I try to make something Greek for my roommates, that they are not familiar with. Since we had bought allot of fresh tomatoes and spices at the market I was able to prepare enough gemista for all of us. Gemista are a dish where usually tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are taken and hollowed out. Then they are stuffed with rice, ground beef and herbs, after they are filled they are placed into a pan and olive oil is poured on top. This is one of the first times I was able to make gemista where the rice turned out perfect and it was not hard or overdone, my yiayia (grandma) would be very proud. I have a deep passion of cooking, its something that I really enjoy and I think that I am good at. I have been cooking ever since I was in 6th grade always watching my yiayia cooking in the kitchen and always trying new recipes. In a Greek family,  mothers are huge food pushers, I told myself I would never do that to my kids. I am 22 years old and have no children but I have become a huge food pusher on others, I guess it runs through my veins, my roommates don’t seem to mind at all!  I plan on making lots of great traditional Greek dishes while I am here for me and my roommates to enjoy! Stay tuned!

Right now in Greece Apokrias is happening which is a time where everyone is in celebration. Its  a chance to escape everyday monotony and enter a world of party, fantasy and “kefi” (high-spirits). This is a feast of  wine, meat, and partying before the sacrifices and fasting of lent arrive. Tomorrow is clean monday, which is called “Kathara Deftera” clean Monday marks the end of  the carnival “apokrias” and is the first day of lent. Traditionally their is no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products or oil allowed to be eaten during these 49 days leading to Easter. Clean Monday is the start of spring and is a day where everyone gets together in their towns and has a meal together and it is tradition to fly a kite!

Stay tuned to see all the new adventures and traditions that I encounter!

xoxo-

Κατερινα Βασιλικι Γκροσσο…

A special thanks goes out to my roommate Janelle for the amazing photographs, you have true talent!

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11 Comments

Filed under Catherine Grosso, Student Blogs

11 responses to “Immersing Myself Into Being A “True Greek”

  1. Mama

    Thank God you spent so much time with Yiayia…You are amazing !!! I have such a craving for Gemista, but for some reason they always taste so much better in Greece.
    Kalo Sarakostee..

    Filakia…Mama

  2. Thank you Katerina for sharing your adventures with us. You really have a talent for writing, educational with a twist of humor…. very enjoyable to read. The photos are so clear they make us feel like we are there with you. We are looking forward to learning about all your new adventures and traditions that you will encounter next!

    Happy Travels!

  3. Jim Pantazis

    Hey Catherine! Looks like you’re having an amazing time. I would have loved to have done what you’re doing right now. If you go to Finikounda, go see my cousin Yianni at their new restaurant underneath our house. Have an awesome time and best wishes to you!

    Jim

  4. Nouna

    Hi Catherine,
    Your adventure in Greece sounds wonderful so far! You were very wise to pay attention to your Yiayia while she was cooking, I’m sure you’ll be just as amazing a cook as she is! I’m sure she’s beaming with pride! As am I !
    I love seeing the pictures and reading about your life there. I use to love going to the farmers market and getting everything so fresh to eat. And the taste of the fruits, vegetables and fish is beyond description. Wish I was there with you too! Have a wonderful “saracosti” and I’ll look forward to reading more each week. Hugs & kisses, Nouna

  5. Anna K.

    Katerina,
    I’m really enjoying your blogs. Keep’em comin’!!!!
    I hear it was snowing in Athens. Did you go out at all that day? How were people reacting?

  6. Koula

    Hey Catherine,

    So much fun to read about your adventures. I am sOOO jealous. What an experience for you. Sounds like you are making the best of it. These are once in a life opportunities. You are very fotunate. Absorb as much as you can honey, and keep sharing with us. Love you, Koula

  7. Kristen

    Dearest Roomie,
    Your blog is amazing, just like you! I am so thankful to be in Greece and have a roommate that is so willing to teach and share her culture with me (and all of us)! My experience here would not be the same without you. Each day I learn something new and exciting, and that makes me fall in love with this country even more. I can’t wait for all of the adventures and stories we are going to have in the future!!
    Love you!
    Kristen

  8. The Wittmers

    We love the blog! And the pictures! Obviously you are having a great time so keep it up and we will keep reading all about it!

  9. Paul

    I hope you are having fun in Greece. It is cold here and jealous you are there but happy for you too. Say hi to your roommates they seem nice. I miss your cooking.
    See you this summer, get us ready for our performance. It will be really nice. What a beautiful school. I can’t wait to go when I get older…I hope !!!

    Love ya,
    Paul

  10. Elaina

    Ahh Catherine! I love your blog…I hear your voice when I read it. It seems like you’re having such a wonderful time in Greece. I am having a wonderful time just reading about your experiences, can’t even imagine what it must be living them. You will have so many stories to share when you get home…And I want to hear them all!

    But until then, I’ll just have to wait for you next blog…

    filakia,
    Elaina

  11. theia marina

    Hi Catherine,
    Happy Greek Independence Day! I hope you are having fun while learning! Ya Sou! Theia Marina

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