My Bilingual Self Story
I am bilingual, which means I carry two worlds inside me, and memories that start from the USA, and end in Greece. I was born in Englewood, New Jersey, half-Greek, listening to American English from my father and Greek from my mother and yiayia (grandmother).
My Bilingual Education
My sister and I started kindergarten in the American International School of Thessaloniki. The dominant language was American English, of course. However, we had Greek taught to us, and when I would come home, Greek was spoken back and forth. It became part of my life, as a second language, and world.
It was around the year 1995, and I left Greece to attend boarding school in the UK.
Bredon School, is a coed boarding school, nestled in a place called Bushley in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, and it is served as a new experience; with my being a native speaker of the English language, I was able to communicate within the atmosphere in which I was placed. Of course, there were some differences between American English and British English, which I picked up on. I was the “Girl from Greece”, the strange and unusual being that everyone took an interest in my first week as a boarder.
University Years (London)
I went back to the UK, London to be specific, for university, and in an odd way it felt like coming home. I made friends from different backgrounds and cultures: Italy, Barbados, Saudi Arabia, and China. I loved the freedom, and it paled in comparison to how the situation was from my boarding days. I was not used to the uniforms and the systematic idea that they promoted equality. In my opinion, we were all the same, but in an odd way that felt wrong and it felt more like a division among classes. In university (Roehampton + London South Bank University) my different culture and background was celebrated while I blended in; I didn’t feel the need to defend myself. I studied both Creative Writing and Writing for Media Arts and these two courses fed my imagination and helped me find my “voice”, through teamwork.
I miss the studying, the teamwork, and I miss even the essays. These days, I am back in my hometown, which is Thessaloniki, Greece (I consider a hometown to be where your heart is, not just a place of birth).