Those who know me know that it takes some time to get me to fully open up to someone. Especially, if it’s someone I had just met. I usually test out the waters first before jumping in to full conversation with someone, mainly because that’s just how I am. But when I first met Veronica Bernaba, we instantly clicked as if we had been friends for decades.
Veronica is a senior studying biology. She was born and raised in Nashville and comes from an Egyptian and Greek background. “My mother is from Alexandria, Egypt, and my father is originally from Athens, Greece,” she said. “They both met in Alexandria, which, ironically, is still a Greek influenced city in modern-day Egypt. Both cultures are actually really similar with each other. Religion and traditions play a tremendous role in each family’s way of life, and the foods are quite similar. I like how raw and genuine people can be with one another without judgement.”
The importance of family also plays a big part in her cultures. “Every year my mother cooks five to ten family dishes during Christmas time,” she recalls. “She makes everything from scratch, and it always makes us feel so appreciative of having her cook for the whole family during special holidays.”
Her favorite kinds of food are stuffed grape leaves and macarona béchamel. “The stuffed grape leaves are made with the leaves of grapes stuffed with rice, ground beef, diced tomatoes and other vegetables and rolled sort of like a burrito,” she explained. She went on to say that they’re sometimes called grape leaf fingers because of how they resemble the shape of a finger. Her other favorite dish, macarona béchamel, is a pasta dish made out of eggs, meat and macaroni and has a lot of protein in it.
One of the things that has shaped her life recently was her time spent doing medical missions in Baja, Mexico. “I’ve gone on this trip three times, and each time I go, I think it’s going to be the same as before. But, boy, was I wrong,” she explained with a smile. “I learn something new every trip and come back radically changed with a broadened understanding of life in general. The people over there just love living life and are completely content with where they are at, even though we may think they don’t have it all. I felt so much peace and positivity there, and I know for sure that I will go back.”
Veronica’s exuberant personality and outlook on life can be seen through the huge smile on her face. She’s one of the most hardworking people I know and is a great blessing to those around her. Her heart for medicine and missions bleeds out into everything that she does and is both inspiring and refreshing to see. “I don’t really have everything figured out, but I know God has my life planned out, and I’ll see where He leads me.”
How can you experience life through different lens?