ΚΥΡΙΑΚΑΚΗΣ Driving School
Being Greek (well half-Greek technically) has always been a part of my identity, and something that becomes very visible as soon as I have to say, or spell, my last name. This was not the easiest thing to live with as a child growing up in suburbia Long Island, where my school was filled with students of Irish or Italian backgrounds, but something that led me to identify with the "other", the different one, the unpronounceable one. While I didn't have the typical Greek-American upbringing- centered around the Greek church, speaking Greek at home and complete with traditional holidays and Name Day celebrations- I think that this visible difference had a huge impact on how I see the world and is what has helped me identify with others and have a true sense of compassion and understanding for different ways of being and doing things.
The appreciation for the incredible beauty and magic found within different cultures, being able to switch from one language to another, from one culture to another, from one world to another is surely something that I can attribute to this upbringing. It has also helped me immensely in not being afraid to be different, in following/creating another path, another way of doing things, and in being comfortable with this (ex. I'm sitting at a cafe by myself in Greece, where people only go out with their παρέα). :)
Despite being comfortable with difference and being different, I was nevertheless ecstatic to see that in Thessaloniki, far away from Crete where my family comes from, there was a ΚΥΡΙΑΚΑΚΗΣ driving school! Yes, up on a sign, the name of the school was the same as mine (and I have seen 2 in the city so far!). It is something as seemingly insignificant as the name of a driving school but just knowing that it exists makes me happy and is a reminder of the importance of shared experiences. While I know that it doesn't necessarily mean I fit in here, there is something that in some small way reminds me that maybe I'm not, that maybe we're not, that different after all.