So You Want To Be Syrian?
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So You Want To Be Syrian?

The uncanny parallels between my life and the "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" movies.

So You Want To Be Syrian?
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Have you ever watched a movie that resembled your family almost exactly? Where the countless number of cousins all had similar names, your aunts couldn’t feed you enough food and your grandmother kept telling you that you needed to get married because you were starting to look old? Throughout the constant chaos, though, you cannot help but love them because they’re your family. Well, that’s my life as a first generation Syrian-American, and I absolutely love it.

My father moved to America from Syria with his family at the young age of 9, and I am so thankful for it. If he had not, he would have never become the successful businessman he is today, met my beautiful mother or had myself and my triplet brothers (Yes, triplets, but that’s another story).

Anyways, it took me a long time to understand the Syrian culture, but I soon learned to love it and would not want a life any different from the one I have today. Here are my reasons why:

1. I have a lot of cousins, and some even have the same name!

Gus: “Over here is my brother, Ted, and his wife Melissa, and their children Anita, Diane, and Nick. Over here, my brother Tommy, his wife Angie, and they (sic) children Anita, Diane, and Nick. My brother George, his wife Frieda, and they (sic) children, Anita, Diane, and Nick.”

My father is one of nine children, and each of them have two or more children. So I have 20 first cousins. And out of those 20, 14 are guys and the remaining six are just us girls. But out of those 14 guys, three names are used more than once. Obviously it is not that big of deal as it is in the movie, but hey, that is still quite a few names!

2. Eat the food, ALL the food.

Maria: “Ian, are you hungry?”
Ian: “No thanks, I already ate.”
Maria: “Okay, I make you something.”

Yeah, that pretty much just sums it up. Not eating in someone’s house is one of the ‘seven deadly sins’ in Middle Eastern culture, as I like to think of it. But seriously, it is super rude if you don’t eat anything, especially when they put it on the table in front of you. So if you ever walk into a Syrian’s home and they ask you if you’re hungry, just say yes!

3. Here is a nice Syrian boy for you.

Gus: “Toula, when are you going to get married? You’re starting to look old.”

Okay, so this one has never happened to me. But another one of those ‘seven deadly sins’ of Middle Eastern culture is not getting married and having children. All of my aunts and uncles are married and have children. Most of my cousins are also married with children now and I know their children, along with my future children, will follow in our parent’s and grandparent’s footsteps.

4. Come over and meet my family.

Maria: “I am peeling the potatoes.”
Toula: “Why? I peeled some this morning.”
Maria: “It wasn’t enough for the family.”
Toula: “The whole family? I told Ian’s parents to come over for a nice, quiet dinner to meet my parents.”

I feel like this might happen at any big family gathering. While I have not been able to introduce my boyfriend to my loving and loud Syrian family because they all live in Pennsylvania and my immediate family and I have recently moved to Georgia, I know one day this will happen. I cannot wait to experience it!

Side note: Toula’s grandma (Yiayia) is my grandmother’s (Sitoo) doppelganger and it is the coolest thing EVER!


(My sitoo and I)

So yeah, the movie and my life are pretty similar. But, I love it and never want to live my life differently.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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