By Dora Aliferis
Every story has a beginning and our best journeys in life lead us back home. Until I was thirteen, I only knew Greece from afar. Only through the eyes of my parents my Greek school teacher and the endless Greek movies we would watch on the weekends.
We had regular phone calls with our relatives, however, and felt a strong connection despite the fact that we had never even met.
My parents migrated to Sydney, Australia in the late 1960s and were successful in establishing a good life in their new country and felt very fortunate — but they never stopped pining for their motherland.
My brother and I always had the feeling that Greece was a special place where our parents had spent their childhoods and we were constantly entertained by their stories from that time.
Finally our first trip to Greece was put on the agenda, but we had no idea when we were boarding the plane in Sydney about just how much of an impact this trip was going to have on us, forever.
This is where Greece entered our hearts and came to represent much more to us than just a holiday.
Now it’s 2020, some thirty years later, and I’m living in Greece with my husband and our son. But somewhere deep down I think I always knew that there would come a time where we could call Greece home, even for a little while.
It was the summer of 2017 when we arrived and spent two months traveling throughout Greece, visiting family friends and amazing places before our son had to start at his new school.
I still recall the summer coming to an end in October, pinching myself and thinking ‘Wow I’m still here!’ It filled me with a sense of excitement — and gratitude.
People regularly ask us “Why Greece?”
This is when we share with them that we were ready for a change of pace, a chance to explore our heritage, an opportunity for our son to connect to his heritage and acquire the language, a rare time to spend more quality time as a family, and to establish new social connections and friendships.
I can put my hand on my heart three years later and with a big smile on my face and confirm that all these things have actually transpired!! We have truly been blessed with meeting wonderful families who have become like family in our eyes, who we share our lives with.
We recently asked our 10-year-old son “What are the three things you love about Greece the most?” He replied: “The friendly people, the places and the Greek desserts.”
I’m proud to say his use of the Greek language has also reached new heights.
We try to remind each other regularly on how special and rich these times are, and no matter what happens, we will always carry all these people and places in our hearts forever.
Thank you Greece for giving us so much love and wisdom, for showing us how to slow down, and for giving us a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life.
Why We Finally Called Greece Our New Home
By Dora Aliferis