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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Young Greek Girl in the 21st Century

           It was 9 a.m. on a Friday. I woke up, opened the blinds, and started to prepare for my exam at noon. I had a missed call from an unknown number with an area code of (212). My first thought was this must be another telemarketer who is trying to sell me something that I don’t have money to pay for, but I quickly noticed that there was a voicemail waiting for me and it was my employer’s voice, Rachael. The voicemail was to notify me that I had been selected to be one of ten Glamour interns for their NYC office this summer. She mentioned that they receive at least ten thousand applications per semester. The summer internship is the most popular because it takes place in New York, there are more photo shoots in the summer, and the intern can focus solely on the internship without the distraction of school. I was so excited to hear the news that I screamed and jumped up and down in my room.

            When I called my closest family members and told them the good news, my mom’s side of the family which is Polish, wanted to congratulate me by throwing me a party in honor of my new internship. However my dad’s side, which is Greek, was not pleased with my choice. When talking to my dad, the decision maker in my family, he said, “really? ...but that means you will live in New York this summer?” His disapproval of my internship quickly changed my mood.

            Growing up in a Greek family is different than your average all American family because of the Greek values and beliefs. Greeks don’t mix with non-Greeks; it is preferred that you marry within the Greek culture. My dad’s first mistake was marrying my mom Jane, a non-Greek who loves to travel. Her traveling ways rubbed off on me, and is why I applied for this internship in New York. I wanted to gain some independence away from my family and travel outside the small bubble of Orange County. This experience would allow me to grow as a person, but getting my dad to say yes was going to be a difficult battle. I needed some advice on how to handle the situation, so I turned to my all-time favorite movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

My struggle to gain my own sense of independence was relatable to the struggle of Toula Portokalos, the main character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Toula is a Greek woman still living with her parent’s, unmarried, and working as a seating hostess at the family’s restaurant. She wants to educate herself by going back to college but her family is not supportive of her decision. She eventually enrolled in a computer class, and started to branch away from her family’s restaurant business. Toula established her independence by going against her father’s orders, left the restaurant, and enrolled in the college courses. In the Greek culture, it is not custom for the children to leave home in order to get a higher education. My father did not leave his parents’ house until he was engaged at the age of twenty nine. Greek families are highly cohesive, and my Greek family had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was moving to NYC for the summer. I can relate to Toula because branching away from my family was a way for me to gain independence and work experience. In a highly cohesive family, change is not welcome and my role as a member of this Greek family did not include leaving the family in order to further my career. Like Toula, I had to go against my family’s wishes and move forward without any regrets.



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