A couple of days ago, I wrote about the price I had to pay, when I moved from Greece to Norway. I wrote about how I sometimes feel alone in my greekness, but being a Greek is really of little significance in the context of moving abroad. I could have been an Italian living in Norway or a Norwegian living in Greece, missing home just as much.
In that same piece, I wrote how I make frape here in Oslo, because it’s one of the things I miss the most from home. Is frappe better than espresso or filter coffee? I don’t think so. The familiar is most of the times sacred, regardless of its objective value.
What is familiar to us, is not necessarily the best, yet it’s priceless to us because we attach many of our memories to it. The familiar, helps us form and maintain our sense of identity and it offers a much needed break from the constant struggle to evolve and discover new aspects of our existence while we grow.
I remember during one of my first months here, I bought ice cream and looked forward to having it after dinner. To my surprise, my husband didn’t share my enthusiasm. A little time went by and I came home another day with chocolate pudding and vanilla sauce. My husband’s reaction to it, resembled mine when I’d laid eyes on that ice cream. His eyes lit up and it’s only fair to say he had more of it than I did.
When my husband wants to comfort me, he covers me with a blanket, even during the summer. When I want to comfort him I ask him if he wants something to eat or drink. He enjoys going for walks after dinner, I enjoy putting my feet up and relaxing. He eats his burger with a fork and knife. I like to only use my hands. He prefers salmon, I prefer white fish.
I could go on with similar examples but my point is made and it’s simple. We have different ways, but none of us is worth more than the other. Nobody’s habits, preferences, ways or even views on what’s important in life are better than the other’s. Chocolate pudding and ice cream are equally nice and walks are as important as putting your feet up sometimes.
The same logic, applies to all dessert types and all ways of living, from all corners of the world. I do enjoy my greekness to the extent that it reminds me who I am and helps me unwind, but I don’t otherwise take it too seriously. The only thing I take very very very seriously is how amazing Greek virgin olive oil is! My father would probably disown me if I didn’t mention it.
Jokes aside, don’t take your ways too seriously. Celebrate them, share them with the world, teach people that there’s so much out there to discover, so many things that can enrich their lives and add more colour to the vast mosaic of humanity, but don’t preach.
Stay yourself open to new things, you might find things that you like better. Don’t be the Greek that goes abroad for 5 days and looks for a Greek restaurant to eat at, or the Irishman that goes straight to the Irish pub. Be more than just the familiar and don’t forget that it’s only after a long journey we appreciate home the most.