Tales of a wandering lesbian


I am exactly 1/8 Greek.  I was brought up, however, approximately 120% Greek and 110% Italian, depending on the day.  You see, the Greeks invented math, so we get to change the rules.

My grandfather is 1/2 Greek, but I think he’s pretty much all Greek.  Because his mom was from France, he wasn’t allowed to attend the Greek Orthodox church, or the Greek School at the church.  Well, they let him attend, but they wouldn’t speak Greek to him.  So, he is still making up for it.

When I was a kid, my mother made amazing Greek food.  We had a small group of Greek folks in our town of 3000.  That meant that the neighbors would show up to summer bbq’s with tiropita (cheese pies), and there was a Greek festival at the local Greek restaurant.  Yummy.  My dad would wear a funny hat that had a Greek soldier and the word “Yasou!” on it.  Yasou means literally, God is great, and is used as a type of greeting.  I can still hear “Yasou” hurled through the air as friends joined the festival.


When I moved to Portland for college, I had no idea there was a rather large Greek community here.  Every year when the leaves start to change, I start getting excited for the Portland Greek Festival.  It’s held every October on the grounds of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.  Being away from home, the festival always makes me feel better.  When I’m there, I’m not the only one with bushy eyebrows or big hair.  I don’t have the huskiest voice, and I’m not the only one gesturing wildly.  In fact, I’m pretty mild in comparison.  (I know, hard to believe.)

Olives Cheese and Spanikopita

Today, I’m sitting in front of the computer eating leftovers from the festival (a first – I can’t remember ever having leftovers), and remembering the olive-pit-spitting contest from the little festival in Ketchum Idaho.  I’m also wondering if the next time I have Greek food it will be in Greece, and whether it will be at the Plaka in Athens, or a little village on an island.  It makes me giggle.  Yasou! indeed.

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October 7, 2009   6 Comments