Thursday, September 29, 2005

What's in a name?

Because my last blog entry was so lame and unorganized, I figured I owed it to everyone to post a decent piece (although the information in the last entry is very exciting, I might add).

The reason for this post, also, is that on the drive home from church we started talking about what was discussed during Theology 101 (adult Sunday school) and my husband wanted to know why I had not given such a great and elaborate answer to the following discussion as I just did in the car. So I will impart these words of “wisdom” to you. The topic ended up on names. I believe the original question had something to do with why Simon was changed to Peter (herein referred to as Petros just in case my dad ever reads my blog he won’t be offended (his name is Petros… but more on my dad in a second). First, Father pointed out that my dad, Petros, came up to him at the end of the service and asked why Father referred to Simon as Simon and not Petros (and my dad probably pointed out to Father Theodore, for the millionth time, that St. Petros is the only apostle that Christ named during his earthly ministry or something like that). And Father Theodore gave a reasonable enough answer to my dad, I am sure.
So what is in a name? Greeks have a tendency to be very “in” to their names. According to my husband, he has never seen someone so into their own name as my dad. My dad feels a kinship to St. Petros… as if they share the same struggles and are the same people. And this probably has something to do with the fact that in my family the name Petros goes back many, many generations. In fact, our family church is named Agios Petros. And no one knows how old the church really is (but we do know that the new addition on my grandparents home is 400 years old… ahem… that’s the NEW addition). So let’s say that the name Petros has been in my family for 600 years. That’s 600 years of my ancestors praying to St. Petros, celebrating the feast day of Sts. Petros and Pavlos, naming their first born sons Petros. No wonder my dad is so keen on his own name AND on his patron saint. And that goes for many Greek families that I grew up with… the names are all repeated through generations. Antique icons are passed down of these saints from generation to generation. Churches are built for these saints. Name days are huge family events (because half your cousins have the same name as you) celebrating these saints. And it’s not looked on as weird or funny to name a child after a particular saint if a miracle has occurred in your life through prayers to that saint. It’s like naming that child after a favorite great aunt or uncle. Our son’s middle name is after St. Nektarios because of the easy pregnancy I had with him (when doctors predicted a horrible pregnancy because of some health problems I have).
Now I don’t want to glorify Greece (because I have lived there and been there numerous times and I see the Western influences that have crept into this beautiful country). And I don’t know much about other Orthodox practices. But it seems to me that in the U.S., we have a tendency to name our children after the latest Disney character. What kind of a name is that to live up to? Or, I have heard people say that they like a name because it sounds nice. Where’s the history? Granted, there are many people that do use family names (which I think is a beautiful tradition). But my mom, who used to work in the labor room, would come home with the most hysterical stories of names people have given to their children.
Anyway, this post is already getting to long. We do hope to continue the tradition of using the name Petros in our family, if we are having a boy. Pavlos is named after his grandpa (my father in law). Let us all live up to the name that either we have been given or we have chosen for ourselves!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Anyone still reading this?

Just checking to see if anyone still checks out my siteJ Just kidding…
I haven’t posted because I guess I haven’t felt like there is anything to post. Obviously, there are always things to post, but my brain seems to have been fizzling out lately. Our biggest news is that we are expecting… that makes four of us at church, pregnant, at the same time. (and, actually, there was a new baby born two weeks ago so we had five at one time). We like to keep God busy watching over us, I guess. We are due April 5 and we are, of course, very excited. So now begins my many doctor visits and lab tests and ultrasounds. I forgot how tired being pregnant makes a person. That’s part of the reason for not posting any news (and I’m really only posting this because Katie posted that she’s pregnant on her blog).

Other than that… we are in our new home. Very exciting. We got rid of one care just in time for the gas prices to jump way up (Paul takes public transportation to work). Pavlos is three. My parents, my sister, and her two children (age 3 and 5) are all going to Greece in two weeks (I have to admit that I am a bit envious, but I know I will get back there someday… but I would love to go with them… we haven’t gone as a family in many, many years… actually, when I was 15 we went together, minus dad so we haven’t ever really gone as a whole family).

My grandmother has lived beyond what the doctors thought she would. She is not doing well, but she is still alive (and she may still be alive when my family goes to visit). It shows her strength of character. She has not had an easy life and because she has survived so much (poverty, famine, civil wars, dictatorship, etc.) her will to live is so strong and admirable. Although, I have to admit there were times when I was living in Greece that she drove me absolutely CRAZY like only a Greek yiayia can do.

My ten year college reunion is this weekend so we are heading to Walla Walla for Saturday to Sunday. This is going to be so clich├ęd, but… where has the time flown? I can’t believe it’s been ten years!!! It will be interesting and I am excited to show Paul and Pavlos Walla Walla and the Whitman College campus.

That’s all for now… here’s hoping that this rather disjointed post will lead to something more profound in the near future…