Several years ago, I watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding just to appease a friend. I didn’t expect to enjoy it, since I considered most North American comedies annoying. To my surprise, it resonated with me. Nia Vardalos starred as Toula, a Greek woman questioning her cultural conventions — the tale of an ongoing conflict between her collective family values versus her individuality.

The Portokalos family constantly poked into the most personal details of Toula’s life. She was excessively shy and plain. Her family believed Greek women should only marry their own kind and other such-like sundry old-world ideas. Toula, however, dreamed much more than her family had planned for her.

The movie helped me to reflect upon the disparity between first generation immigrants and their children’s divergent ways. It allowed me to contemplate the contradictions of my own Italian heritage. As the movie illustrated, certain cultures are composed of people who are typically loud, extroverted, hard-hitting, intrusive, paternalistic and not very reflective. My family was no exception, yet in the midst of this domain, I was born: introverted, soft spoken, private and reflective.

Advertisements