Southern Hospitality–Scratch That, GREEK Hospitality!

The opportunity to go visit Greece as a Nutrition major is an incredible one. Sitting family style, passing around delicious Greek foods, while learning and discussing how these foods came about with authentic Greek people is truly a blessing. Not to mention, the hospitality from the Greeks made it all the more enjoyable. Even the giggles that came from Greeks when we mispronounced words (plenty of times) were amicable. Throughout all the places we visited, we saw little acts of kindness everywhere.

One of the biggest traditions seen in Greece are the holiday cookies. When visitors come, it is customary to invite them in with cookies and coffee. When arriving in our temporary homes in Aegina, a plate of holiday cookies was waiting for us in our rooms. And when we visited the monastery, the nuns invited us to eat holiday cookies in their home! These acts of kindness were so comforting to us. Since the trip all the way from the US to Greece wasn’t the easiest to make, being welcomed with such hospitality made the transition easier.  However, the biggest example of Greek hospitality that I could give is Helen. This woman could not be anymore kind hearted and attentive to us. She opened up her home, had patience with us while we learned her delicious recipes, and fed us until we were stuffed. I think I enjoyed her company so much because she reminded me of my own grandmother in Honduras. Helen not only made us eat our weight in food, but she made gifts for us before we left Greece!

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Helen made us “good luck rocks” that had handcrafted ceramic flowers on them. Not only did she make this, but a calendar attached to a wooden heart that would hang on our walls back home. She packaged us fresh olive oil, and gifted us spoon sweets to bring back. When I spoke to her (through her son translating), Helen said that cooking and crafting are her passion. She loves it when people enjoy eating her food, and likes to prepare gifts for them too. Helen got her recipes from her mother, like most Greeks do; passing down family recipes is a huge tradition in the Greek culture.

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She met her husband, Takis, at a disco. And together they have three sons. Both Takis and his son, Spiros, showed us around Argolis. Even though we ran into some trouble with the weather, Takis took us to plenty of great sites. My favorite being the castle that was one of the last weaponries built. It took us near to 1000 steps to climb, and Lyell yelling constantly, “Get down from there!! You’re going to fall!!!”, but the view and pictures we took were amazing.

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Takis, acting as our personal tour guide, also took us up plenty more mountains. We were able to go to a family’s restaurant right before we headed to the Natural History Museum. I enjoyed that restaurant, because they were so hospitable. Along the walls were shelves full of things displaying the history of Greece and their family. The kindest woman brought us into her kitchen and showed us what she was cooking. And this was at a restaurant! You would never see this at a restaurant in the US.

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img_2333Along with Takis, we all took a liking to his son. In the end Spiros and all the girls had a book full of inside jokes. He was kind enough to show us around and joke with us as if we were family. This family truly showed us Greek hospitality. Everything from Helen’s “SUPER!” to Max’s playfulness was a thing to remember about our trip. It was a unique experience to be able to share this with my classmates and Ms. Myhand, but honestly what made it better was to be able to be so far away from home, yet still feel welcome in the beautiful places we visited.

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