Our own stories can connect us to the wider world in surprising ways.
My family makes it impossible for me to see myself as an island. It has been born from many places around the world. My grandparents from my mother’s side came from India, and Nepal. My dad’s parents came from Greece. Through them I have learned how I am Anglo-Indian, or as I say, British Indian and Nepalese. I am also Greek, but my father’s dad wasn’t even from Greece – he is from a part of the country now in Turkey.
The main thing that I’ve learned from my family is the ability to celebrate all kinds of achievements and occasions. They teach me to always live my life to the fullest and commemorate it, because it is worth living and living well.
I remember the day I got home from school in Year 4 and my house was laced with balloons. The table was covered with all my favourite foods, from a fluffy stack of pancakes to pastries of all kinds. This elaborate setting was all because I was rewarded my pen licence earlier that day. It may sound ridiculous, but it is how we express our love.
Aside from the spur of the moment parties, we have special traditions like Greek Easter, where we join with our cousins at church. Our faces are lit by candles burning in the cold air, gifted to us by our godparents, as we laugh under our breaths and march around the church. The next day is followed by a midnight sing-along at the church, leading to a midnight feast.
We are connected not only through blood relatives but other families. When I was very young, around one year old, my family moved to New Zealand. We did not have family there but we made a new family. A family as close to us as ours back in Australia, Greece and India. I had a best friend who lived next door to me and even though we live far from each other today, we still connect. I also have a best friend in Australia whose parents knew my parents from a very young age.
Family, for me, is the warm and familiar feeling I get when I drive into the driveway and see all the faces smiling and I feel myself smile back at them. It is the surge of energy I get when I see my cousins, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. It is the feeling of belonging, the feeling of home. The feeling that is matched by no other.
It is the only thing that my grandparents needed to persuade them to move to another side of the world. They left everything they knew, to start new lives, create new opportunities and create more family.
They travelled for family and created more families.
Flnd questions and activities for the classroom to go with this story here.
Morgan Triskelidis is a student at Avila College, Mount Waverley, Vic.