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'We took a bath with the chickens': memories of childhood visits to the homeland by second-generation Greek and Greek Cypriot 'returnees'
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:57 authored by Russell King, Anastasia Christou, Janine Teerling
Drawing on a wider study of 90 second-generation Greeks and Greek Cypriots who have relocated to their ancestral homeland, in this article we focus on the significance of childhood visits to the homeland. Freedom,how children were allowed to roam free and stay up late is the key trope of such memories, in contrast with the strict spatio-temporal parenting they received in the host country. Different, sometimes less pleasant memories, however, emerge when the visits took place during later, teenage years. We explore the connections between childhood visits and adult relocation. Adult returnees find that settlement in the homeland produces a new set of challenges and reactions that differ markedly from childhood experiences and memories. They engage a second narrative trope, nostalgia, reflecting on the loss of the 'authentic' nature of the homeland and its customs and values. Instead, they highlight the materialism and xenophobia of Greek and Cypriot society nowadays. However, they see the 'homeland' as a safer place in which to raise their own children.
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