My Big Fat Greek Story – Meeting the Greek boyfriend’s family.

Thessaloniki, Greece

During this trip, I have seen some remarkable sceneries, fantastic beaches and wonderful places in some of the Greek islands that we’ve visited but it was meeting the boyfriend’s family which I consider as the highlight of my trip.

I have been with the The Greek Boyfriend for almost 5 years now and this trip was our second time to go to Greece. I have met his parents during the first time that we were there but it was a very quick and random meeting. So for this holiday we’ve decided to spend a night at their house to formally be introduced to each other. I must say that I wasn’t very psyched with the arrangement, in fact I was terrified. I have never met a boyfriend’s mother and frankly, I’m not even sure what to be like when meeting one. Is there a code of conduct that I must follow? Should I be bringing gifts? What gifts are considered imposing and the ones that are not? What gift says “I come in peace”?

Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece

I ended up bringing a Patchi chocolate for his mother from Dubai which turned out to be a very good decision as she loves chocolates. I thought to myself that a chocolate doesn’t say anything really but just that I remembered to bring her something. It’s also not very imposing because trust me, showing her that I am trying to win her over is not really my cup of tea.

Never have I imagined that meeting the Greek boyfriend’s family for a night will be the highlight of this trip for me.

We arrived in Thessaloniki at around 6 in the evening and by the time I got out of the car, I could feel my heart beating so fast and so strong that I suddenly had the urge to throw up. I was so nervous more on because I’ve no idea what to expect or what to say when I finally meet his parents. The Boyfriend was totally oblivious of what I was feeling as I did a good job hiding my nervousness. I walked in the elevator still feeling jittery and when the doors opened to their apartment, I heard myself whisper “here goes….”

I extended my arm for a handshake to greet his mother which went unnoticed and ignored. Instead, a warm big hug and a kiss in both cheeks welcomed me. I managed to say kalimera but the sound of my voice was drowned from all the imaginable Greek greetings that somehow got me lost in translation.

Kalimera Noemi! Ti kanis? Ola Kala?

I do know the responses to those greetings but I felt like I swallowed my tongue as I wasn’t expecting such welcome. At that point, I somehow already knew that I was in for a treat. The warmth, love and the hospitality emanated in their house. The atmosphere was very vibrant even if it was just the 4 of us at the time. His mother was an epitome of a Greek goddess – dark black hair, deep-set eyes, fair smooth skin and a very lean built. After all the greetings she asked the inevitable: eh Noemi, do you want coffee? The Greeks love their coffee as I have already mentioned on my previous posts, I politely declined the offer because at that point in time I only wanted to do one thing – to take a shower since we’ve been traveling the whole day.

All fresh and showered, I went out to their balcony to join the boyfriend and his mother having a frappe. His mother then brought the family photos out which made me excited! I thought that these kinds of things happen only in movies – there I was, sitting beside The Boyfriend’s mother as she flips through the photos of the boyfriend when he was still but a child. She can speak English yes, enough for me to understand what she’s trying to say and somehow we managed to have a conversation of our own without the boyfriend’s translations which I think was crap anyway. The Boyfriend will translate 5 whole sentences down to two words, it’s not really rocket science to understand that he’s not very good at it, yes?

At some point, it was The Boyfriend’s turn to take a shower so it was just me and his mother at the balcony for quite some time. I was no longer feeling nervous nor jittery in fact, I was enjoying her company. She showed me some more photos and asked me about my family. I was surprised that she knows a lot about my family, it’s a nice feeling that she took time to know me more. All these small talks transpired while the sun sets in front of us from their balcony. I was enjoying our conversation and didn’t even realize that the boyfriend was back from his shower.

The seaview from their balcony.

The seaview from their balcony.

They called The Boyfriend’s grandparents who live in the same building to join us afterwards. I was very excited to meet them as The Boyfriend couldn’t stop talking about them. A few moments later, the doors swung open and a lively Greek chatter filled the room. All the words were directed towards me which I unfortunately could not understand but I do know that they were happy to see me. The kisses, the hugs, the smile and the radiance in their eyes all say one thing – they were looking forward to this meeting as much as I was. I was overwhelmed.

I thought that the Greek hospitality was just a cliché made famous by Hollywood. In reality though, Hollywood cannot even show the reality of this genuine warmth and hospitality of the Greeks. Not even close. The grandmother insisted that I call her yaiya which is Greek for grandmother and the grandfather insisted that I call him papou, Greek for grandfather. Yaiya had a bouquet of flowers for me and I was feeling so bad that I had nothing for her. I am not a fan of flowers but these flowers that I’ve received from yaiya are now dried up, kept in a frame and displayed in our living room.

Flowers from yaiya.

Flowers from yaiya.

The whole night was filled with laughter, fun and just pure love. I didn’t feel like I was an outcast nor did it make me feel awkward as they all were making sure that I was alright. Before this trip, I never bothered to learn more Greek words but while I was spending the night with The Boyfriend’s family I had this inclination to learn Greek as fast as I can for me to be able to converse with them more and listen to their fascinating stories and not just get the shortcut version from The Boyfriend’s lose translations. At the end of the night, yaiya gave me the biggest hug I have ever received and told me with much gusto: Noemi, s’agapo poli poli! (Noemi, I love you very very much!) I said the same thing to her and it delighted her, but not as much as it delighted me. Greeks are famous for being very demonstrative and affectionate but you really have to witness it because they show these to you in a very genuine way, they truly mean it.

Meeting The Boyfriend’s family really was the highlight of this trip for me. I felt so grateful that his family did not only accept me in their home but they have welcomed me like I was a part of theirs. Like a long lost family member who went on a big trip and have just recently returned home. The graciousness, the hospitality and the genuine love they showed me was remarkable. I have never felt so accepted by a family other than my own until I met them. Truly, the Greeks are beautiful people with warm hearts which will definitely make you fall in love with Greece even more.

Yaiya's bouquet of flowers and myself. :)

Yaiya’s bouquet of flowers and myself. 🙂

P.S. I’m very happy to announce that The Boyfriend is now The Husband. We got married in 2014, a year after this wonderful meeting with his family.

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Meeting the greek family


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  • Toni January 4, 2018 at 00:15

    This is really great to read. I have a Greek boyfriend myself and will be travelling to Thessaloniki myself to meet his family in March, hence how I stumbled across this blog! He met my family in December and everyone loved him just as much as I do and I hope to have the same positive experience with his family! Feeling very anxious and nervous at the moment though. I have visited Thessaloniki already having spent time working in Halkidiki. I meet his family in March and then I return to Halkidiki in March to work over the summer again. We are very much in love despite the temporary distance and we are already olanning our future together so thank you for providing a little insight and helping me to prepare for my own Greek family experience! ☺️

  • carlinn meyer March 19, 2017 at 06:41

    Aww thats such a nice story! Its always a good thing when your partners family is great! They sound like lovely people and you look lovely as well! Best of luck! 🙂

  • Global Girl Travels March 19, 2017 at 06:19

    What a sweet story that is! I remember the first time I met my now mother-in-law too – it was nerve wracking! You don’t know them yet and don’t know if they will like you. But it just takes off a huge load from your shoulder when they end up liking you, which was what happened with you here.

  • Alissa March 18, 2017 at 22:15

    Awwww so cute! Thanks for putting a smile on my face with this post 🙂 It’s really a special thing to meet a partner’s family (and subsequently, to have your partner meet your own family!). I can relate that it’s a bit extra nerve-wracking when there are cultural/language differences at play, though it seems like that didn’t end up being a problem in the end! Did you end up learning Greek since then? Wishing you a happy life with your partner and new family!!

  • Penelopi March 18, 2017 at 21:21

    Very happy that you enjoyed the Greek hospitality!!! believe me could end up in a very different way!! hahaha I am Greek and i tell you this as a fact!!
    Welcome to the Crazy Greek community!! kisses from Greece! 🙂

  • Nicky March 18, 2017 at 20:05

    I loved reading this, they sound like a wonderful, loving family and it was so kind of them to welcome you with open arms!

  • Katie March 18, 2017 at 12:22

    Aww sounds like you had a fantastic time and congratulations! It is so fantastic when you can have fun with the in-laws – some of our best nights out are when we head to the local with my partners parents! 🙂

  • Meghan March 18, 2017 at 12:16

    What a great experience! I love when things turn out better than they planned – especially in relationships. It can be so nerve racking meeting a SO’s parents and this sounds like a great time.

  • Cory Varga March 18, 2017 at 12:16

    I can so relate (at least with some of the awkward parts when I have no idea what to reply). My husband is Hungarian and the first time I met his parents it was sooo weird. They were talking at me, and had no idea what to say. I was smiling around hehe. They too, were very welcoming and nice. They gave me so much food. I would love to go to Greece and experience this hospitality. I think it’s awesome they loved you from the start. Nothing better than marrying into an awesome family.

  • ARIANA DEL RIO March 18, 2017 at 12:10

    I’m currently learning Italian because my boyfriend’s mother doesn’t speak any English or Spanish. But how wonderful for you that they were so open and loving. I’m now inspired to look up some homestays when I travel in Greece next year. Could be way more fun if I got a taste of that Greek Hospitality you have witnessed. 🙂

  • Ellie Cleary March 18, 2017 at 10:11

    Such a beautiful story! I’ve never been to Greece (yet) but have met many very warm and friendly Greeks. I find it true – living in Northern Europe – that so often we are prepared for coldness/hostility or fear the worst and people can surprise us by being so open hearted, warm and welcoming! I think that’s the best part of travel too – meeting wonderful people that make us feel really a part of their culture and give us the best experiences to take away :-). Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  • Maria March 18, 2017 at 09:55

    Very sweet story of yours, I love how you seem so overwhelmed with the overbearing hospitality at first but then you just kinda go with it 😀 Happened to my boyfriend when he first met the Italian half of my family, although I tried me best to do a better job at translating then your boyfriend/husband did 😉 Hope you’re enjoying many more joyous days with your new Greek family! Cheers, Maria

  • SindhuMurthy March 17, 2017 at 15:07

    Such a sweet story. I could feel the tension you had before you met the guy’s mom but am quite happy that you both could gel well. Chocolates can never fail as gift and you played it smart by gifting her some chocolates.

  • Rhiannon March 17, 2017 at 11:01

    This is such a sweet story!! I haven’t yet had a good experience with a boyfriend’s mother but honestly, something like yours is what I really really want one day. Your husband’s family sound like such lovely and welcoming people, I honestly couldn’t stop smiling throughout the whole post. And just like you, I default to chocolates when I don’t know what else to gift someone 😉 you can’t go wrong with chocolate!

  • Bhushavali March 17, 2017 at 08:53

    This is oh so gorgeous!! Such a beautiful experience!!! I’m so glad that his parents and relatives loved you so much. Its such a blessing!!! And I’m more than glad that you got married as well!!! Its so so beautiful!!!! And I saw your wedding post as well. Your dress looks incredible and you looks just wow!!!

  • Marlies - Crazy Dutch Abroad March 17, 2017 at 01:50

    I really loved reading your version of this hilarious movie. Many moments I would have felt exactly the same, that chocolate gift is awesome. Glad you are part of a hearth warming family in Greece now, you seem to have learned a lot as well

  • Scenes From Nadine (Nadine Smith) March 16, 2017 at 18:42

    Aww! I love this story! My husband’s family has also been so warm and kind to me, from the moment I first met them, so I am very happy for you because you received the same warmth and love from your (ex) boyfriend’s family. They sound like lovely people… imagine, they even gave you flowers! The mom of your (ex) boyfriend sounds wonderful too. 🙂 I don’t know her but when she hugged you excitedly, I could tell that she is the kind of mother-in-law any girl would ever want! 🙂 Now, I really want to go to Greece!

  • alison taylor February 3, 2015 at 11:33

    Iv had a lot of holidays in greece and i tell people their the most genuine people u can ever meet and i llove their country

    • Pinay Flying High February 3, 2015 at 12:01

      Absolutely true! They are extremely warm and hospitable, it’s just extremely overwhelming to meet such genuine people. 🙂

  • Mimi December 17, 2014 at 21:31

    Thanks for sharing this! I want to date a Greek guy one day! Oh btw, I kinda look like you except i’m Hispanic lol. I didn’t know if Greek families, especially ones who actually ive in Greece were accepting of different ethnicities. But I guess they are!

    • Pinay Flying High December 17, 2014 at 21:44

      Really??? Now I am curious… I’d love to see a photo of you to see how I’d look like as Hispanic. :p

      • Anonymous April 9, 2015 at 16:20

        Haha I don’t know how to send pics on here buuut how’s the married life going?! Any kids yet? Haha. I’m so happy for you! I still want to marry a Greek or Italian btw! Oh yeah, what state do you guys live in? I want to know where all the Greek Americans are! Do you guys live near his Greek family in the USA or is his entire family in Greece? Also, what do you do for a living? Do you travel a lot for your job?

  • Mitzie Mee November 8, 2013 at 14:09

    What a wonderful experience!

  • Iksa November 8, 2013 at 09:23

    A nice experience and well written … thanks for sharing it …

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    Welcome to my blog! My name is Noemi, a Filipina who caught the travel bug at an early age and has never been cured. I blog about travel, food and my extraordinary mundane life in London with the Greek Mister.

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