Maria the Stuffed Teddy Bear

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
A recent photo of Maria, my stuffed teddy bear.
A recent photo of Maria, my stuffed teddy bear.

To properly understand the origins of my stuffed teddy bear Maria and why she’s so important, we have to begin with my mum. My mum was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. She lived there for most of her life until she met my dad. A few years after they married, I was born. Not long after that, my great-aunt Maria asked bought me a stuffed bear as a gift. It was almost as tall as baby me. I grew up with the bear and named it Maria, after my great-aunt, to thank her for gifting it to me. Having it with me helped a lot. For example, when I moved to New York in 2015 I went through a lot of changes and had to adjust to how different it was from my hometown, Oxford. Maria was a great help since she was one of the familiar things I had brought over from England and she made me feel much less lonely. I appreciate the gift my great-aunt gave me because it comforts me and reminds me of my family and my roots in Greece, which are important parts of who I am. The bear also encouraged me to buy more stuffed animals and embrace my childish side, which is important. Maria was and is a key part of my life. She represents my Greek heritage and makes me proud to have such kind and generous family from my mum’s side.

Place(s): New York, Thessaloniki, Oxford.
Year: 2015

– Vassiliki M.

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant