Savides’ Greek background influences her future

Andi Fox, Feature Editor

Sophomore Elisavet Savides was born in Harrisonburg, but didn’t learn English until she was five years old. Her dad was born in Thessaloniki, Greece, and her mom was born in New York, but her family primarily speaks Greek.

“I am fluent in Greek, because it was my first language. When I get tired, I start speaking to people in Greek by accident,” Savides said.

Savides’s father came to America at a young age, and has lived here ever since. Initially, Savides’s family moved to Harrisonburg to escape the political and economic turmoil that Greece was going through.

“My dad moved to Harrisonburg when he was seven because his brother was really sick and needed help from the doctors in America,” Savides said. “Greece was in bad shape and wasn’t a good place to be in [at that time].”

Her dad’s Greek background has influenced her family’s life in America. Her family still has a lot of Greek traditions that her dad’s side of the family has passed on.

“[For example], for New Year’s we make this pound cake and we put a silver coin in the cake, and after midnight comes everyone gets a piece. Whoever gets the silver coin has good luck for the whole year,” Savides said.

Savides is still able to see her family in Greece often. Every summer, they go to Greece for a few weeks. Savides loves to go back to Greece to see her family and to enjoy the food and beaches on the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the other differences in Greece include the dynamics between people in Europe compared to in America.

“The biggest difference is that in Greece everything is family-based. Everyone leaves school and work so they can have a meal and a nap together,” Savides said. “Family is just valued more.”

The closeness to family and friends that is practiced in Greece influenced Savides’s interest in psychology.

“I want to do so many things, but definitely the top of on the list is to be a psychologist. I’m really interested in why people do things and act how they do, and I love helping and listening,” Savides said. “I started being interested in it when I started enjoying helping my friends and family talk through things going on in their life.”

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