Yaya and Pop

Elle Triantafillou

I call my grandfather “Pop”. Some of my cousins call him “papou”, which is the Greek word for grandpa. One of my cousins calls him “Papou Pop”. Everyone finds this funny, including Papou Pop. Often when I’m over at their house, Papou Pop will ask me to show him how to send text messages, which I do, but he’ll often forget how to delete a message or find the punctuation keyboard and I’ll have to show him again. My grandmother’s name is Helen/Eleni but I call her Yaya, which is like an Australian version of “yiayia”. When I refer to her in conversation to friends I call her “yiayia”. This is to make her seem more authentic. Yaya is much better at texting than Papou Pop.

Yaya used to work in a factory in Milperra manufacturing the electrical components of poker machines for a company called StarGames. She would weld small electronic pieces onto green boards, or at least that’s what it sounded like when I asked. It also sounded high tech and cool, especially for a yiayia. One time her Nissan Pulsar got keyed in the car park and we were all really angry but Yaya eventually forgave whoever did it, putting faith in karma and security cameras.

One day she hurt her back. Maybe it was something specific to the StarGames job, but maybe it was the inevitable result of working in manufacturing over many years. StarGames had to make sure Yaya did something different so that her back wasn’t in so much pain. She got placed into this admin job that I’m pretty sure they invented just for her. I think it had something to do with Worker’s Comp. I don’t really know what she did in this job but she learnt how to email and she’d send my mum emails throughout the day just saying hi. My mum would then forward the emails to me and this would make mum, Yaya and I happy.

I think this is why Yaya is so much better at texting than Papou Pop, who worked in the Catering Department at Qantas. My favourite text message she has ever sent is: “Ok chao xx Yaya” but when I tell my friends about my grandma’s foray into cosmopolitanism I quote it as “Ok chao xx yiayia”.