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Έλληνες: Πόσοι είμαστε, ποιοι είμαστε

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Δεν ξερω ποσοι ειμαστε αλλα σιγουρα ειμαστε παντου...Δεν υπαρχει μερος που εχω παει και να μην συναντησω πατριωτη...Στη Φλωρεντια ετυχε καποια στιγμη σε ενα καφε να ειμαστε 4 παρεες και οι 4 απο Ελλαδα.Στη Βουδαπεστη Μαρτη μετα τις 9μιση το βραδυ κυκλοφορουσαν μονο Ελληνες,μεχρι και στο Αμπου Νταμπι ειδα πολλους Ελληνες...Το πιο αστειο βεβαια ηταν οταν ειχαμε παει στο Παρισι και κοβαμε βολτες μεσα στο Λουβρο.Ολοι συνεπαρμενοι με τα εκθεματα και ξαφνικα ακουμε "ΣΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΑΚΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗΗ μην τρεχεις παιδι μουουουουουυο και ενοχλεις τους ανθρωπους" κλασσικη ελληνιδα μανα...Το τι γελια καναμε δεν λεγετε.

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Ετσι. Οποια πετρα κι αν σηκωσεις θα βρες Ελληνα. Εχω βρει Ελληνες στα πιο παραξενα μερη (ειδικα Ελληνες που εχουν μαγαζια, κυριως εστιατορια).

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There are lots of Greeks 2nd, 3rd, 4th generation all over the US and Canada. I've found and spoke to Greeks in the strangest of places. In Hawaii for example (there's a sizeable Greek community too in Honolulu), in several remote small towns in the US and Canada, not to mention of course the big cities where you can find Greeks everywhere (NY, Chicago, Toronto, etc.).

Years ago I found a Greek (who owned a restaurant of course...) in some tiny town in northern Canada. We're talking about one of those towns where there's only a main street and some stores and houses built around it - no more than 200-300 people altogether. The guy had married a local girl when he moved there in the 60's and stayed there ever since. He has never gone back to Greece since then, in over 50 years!

When I walked in his restaurant and saw a painting of the Acropolis in one corner I knew that the owner was Greek for sure. I asked the server who's the owner and she showed me an old guy working away in the kitchen - and I thought to myself, he's Greek for sure. So I stood up, walked towards the kitchen and casually said "kalispera, ti kaneis?" The guy lifted his head, dropped whatever he was holding, and came running out of the kitchen to hug me. Never seen anything like this before. We were just driving by this time so I didn't have much time to spend with him, but boy was he happy to see me. He was literally in tears the whole time I was there and he was telling me his life story. Over 50 years in a small town in northern Canada, we're talking about far far north. No communication or interaction with any other Greeks in 50 years. He told me he used to write and receive letters from his parents back in the 60's but then his parents died and he lost contact with Greece and anything Greek. He had a loving family in that town, wife and 2 kids (didn't meet the kids but I'd assume they'd be in their 50s). I still remember him to this day - he may be dead by now for all I know - I still remember his happiness to hear someone speaking Greek to him after all those years.

I've got several stories about Greeks in Canada and the US. Another time I was having dinner in a small town in British Columbia with my wife and my first born son and I was speaking Greek to him. So an old lady - she must have been in her 80s at the time, we're talking about 2003-2004 - who was sitting next to us leans over and says "you're Greek, aren't you? Unfortunately I don't speak Greek anymore but my father was one of the first Greeks to move to Vancouver in the early 1900s. He got married to a Canadian girl but he never forgot his Greek heritage". And then she started singing a lullaby in Greek to my son who was 2 years old at the time. She said that this was one of the few things she still remembered in Greek since the time she was a kid.

Our heritage - not only the Greek heritage of course - is a powerful reminder of where we come from, and many people keep these memories of their heritage close to their heart until they die. 

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