Marilyn Rouvelas writes in her book “A Guide to Greek Traditions and Customs in America” (p.355):
For generations, seagoing Greeks told stories to their families of faraway places where their ships had docked. These stories invariably included meeting patriótes (fellow countrymen) in restaurants and at card tables in exotic places.
Years ago these chance encounters seemed wondrous. A Greek could travel halfway around the world and find a fellow Greek speaking the mother tongue and sharing common friends and relatives from a village or town in Greece.
These transplanted Greeks comprised the Greek Diaspora still thriving throughout the world. According to a Greek government ministry, “[M]ore than five million Greeks (or more than half of Greece’s domestic population) live outside of Greece’s borders.”