Let’s start this story, my story, since the beginning, since I was not born yet.
It sounds a bit like a movie, and actually it recalls the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin movie.
It was something in between 1940-1945 and my grandfather was sent to Kefalonia, a beautiful Greek island, during the II World War, as a soldier.
Here he met my grandmother and they fell in love.
During those years they had a first baby, in 1944, a girl.
Then the war was over and they decided to move back to Italy to see what was going on there.
It was another time, no internet, no phones, communication was not easy.
My grandparents decided to leave the island and to leave my aunt with the greek family as they were not sure of what they would have found once back in South Italy. At least this is one version of the story. Or the story we have learnt which sounded more reasonable to us.
The thing is that once back in Italy, my father was born, in 1945. And after him other three brothers and sisters and my grandmother never got the chance to go back to her island and her first daughter as she passed away when she was only 33 years old.
I not only have 1/4 of greek blood in my body.
I also have a greek surname as my grandfather was already married before the war, he was also divorced but in a time when the divorce did not exist, so my father could not have his surname.
I don’t have a greek name though. It was given to my sister.
After the death of my grandmother, my grandfather married again a lovely woman who is actually my grandmother and who raised the children of the previous greek wife and her own other five to come. She is an amazing person and we all love her a lot.
But the presence of the Greek grandmother has always been very strong in our family and in my life.
My father was only nine when she passed away, he has quite messy memories of that time. He thinks she spoke to him in greek as he naturally knows some greek words.
There is nothing left about her, not a letter or a dress, nothing.
All we have are few pictures where she smiles, she seems happy and beautiful.
My father and my grandfather went back to Greece to meet my aunt, for the first time, when my father was 18. She has always been living in Greece and doesn’t speak a good italian.
So, let’s recap:
My father is 1/2 Italian and 1/2 Greek, but he feels Italian.
Then there is my aunt who is 1/2 Greek and 1/2 Italian, but she recognises herself as Greek.
And then there is me, 1/4 Greek and 3/4 Italian.
At some point of my life I started feeling that Greece was my place, my inner one.
I found it in Santorini.
I started learning greek few years ago.
I moved here finally in February 2017.
PS: and yes, my grandfather played mandolin too!
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