Who’s Afraid?

Sometimes they get to me, they do. The little worries, doubts and regrets of everyday life. Some days I can wave them off with an amused smirk, on others they pile up on my heart and I feel it’s getting a little bit heavy now, actually.

Everyone struggles with something.

The art of it, I guess, is to check again each morning if it’s one of those days when I can shrug it off again.

If not, cuddling.

Solitude.

Wistful Rufus Wainwright singalongs.

Who’s afraid of the little sorrows of everyday life?

To the Seaside

Last time we lived in Cyprus, we were new first-time parents.

I remember the idea was to drive to the seaside every now and then for a refreshing weekend away from the busy streets of Nicosia.

It was an excellent plan and we did it, at least twice!

The packing, the driving, the sleeping con baby… Truth be told, the seaside might as well have been on the other side of the world! We never went.

We sat in dusty, hot Nicosia all pale. All the while just an hour away, tourists ran into the waves screaming with delight, morning to night.

Eight years on, we are returning to Nicosia with two lively boys. The idea is to drive to the seaside every now and then for a refreshing weekend away from the busy streets of the capital.

Or maybe just a quick visit to the beach and back home again for dinner, but really often.

In Cyprus when it rains, it rains (and only when one is on the motorway).

How do you think we’ll do?

The Barbecue

One thing my husband really misses about life in Cyprus is the long and leisurely Sunday barbecue with extended family. I say extended but here, aunts, uncles, cousins, their spouses and kids and even these family members’ in-laws are family, just family from next door or wherever.

Family who brought him up, who grew up with him, and who joined the family later but are just as welcome.

To make the barbecue, it is necessary that several men spend Sunday morning staring at it and talking to it down in the courtyard. Maybe other measures are required, too? I wouldn’t know as I like to steer my vegetarian person a bit clear from the smoke.

My kids, on the other hand, are very successfully being introduced to the art of the ’souvla’ staring and talking (or whatever is involved). They, too, spent hours under the lemon tree this weekend and came upstairs smelling of tradition. I think it’s brilliant. They are out of the house. They learn to cook. I can blog. Perfect!

For the women, it seems only the eldest generation is expected to make a real contribution to the common table. Perhaps because we, the 30 and 40 somethings, are considered children (which we are, of course – this is the Mediterranean and we will only maybe reach adulthood after we become grandparents).

Or perhaps it’s because we are lousy and uninspired cooks and no-one would want to risk having to taste any creations from our useless hands? No, that’s probably just me and my hands. I haven’t actually asked why we are excused. I just gratefully and silently wonder.

Once the barbecue is ready and everyone has been lured in by its intoxicating aroma, there are easily a dozen or more hungry folks flocking towards the kitchen. There is so much food you could quite easily feed a large Finnish wedding party with what’s on offer.

And it is good! So good.

By the time dessert rolls around the littlest member of the lunch party is nearly asleep in his high chair. Politics and football, schools and christenings, work days and trips and the rain yesterday. Everything has been talked about and the food was great and so it is an excellent day.

A good Sunday.

Whatever It Is

Up again too early thinking, maybe today is the day.

And it was!

We haven’t signed yet but hopefully tomorrow we can toast to a brand new rental contract of an undetermined duration. Two years, three, four or five – whatever it is, we would love to spend it here!

Trying to See It

Woke up too early to a thought: Maybe this is the day!

It wasn’t.

Brushed and combed, the kids met year leaders and did their very best. We await. Bite our nails and wait.

Carefully hopeful, D and I met estate agents and looked around people’s homes trying to see it, see us, see something.

Of course we couldn’t.

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But late in the evening, we slipped out the door once more. A little freedom, a little meze! Music, sweet hookah steam and a tiny ridiculous caraffe of white and suddenly, everything of course, will turn out fine. Just fine!

We are back in Cyprus and everything will soon again flow.

The Roundabout of No

Woke up to a sublime, fragrant morning and ran out of bed to do stuff.

Back and forth in the morning rush hour, I am being reintroduced to the exciting, unwritten geography of the Cyprus capital.

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You see, life in Nicosia is kind of a big hide and seek where the locals live somewhere and the foreigners can’t find the way there until the party is finished and all the wine is gone.

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It’s played so that instead of a street address, the participants are given a list of landmarks – both existing and long gone – that all the good Cypriot folk know and no silly old xeni like moi will ever learn. But my good man is trying to share his wisdom, bless! He has such faith in my capacity!

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I promise I will give the unofficial geography a shot.

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But Kalispera traffic lights? That means good evening, for heaven’s sake!

The roundabout of ’no’?

 

The star above Larnaca

We landed in Larnaca and it was all surprisingly familiar. The city underneath, fading light and orange and white and slightly boxy shapes. The hard surface of the sea terrifyingly close in the side window. We are here! Awaited by some, forgotten by most.

Out of the plane some giddy, some confused. Through quietly opening glass doors and deserted airport corridors. Outside the car park ticket machines the air is still thick with smoke and unrushed voices discussing today’s fresh political dramas.

From the motorway we suddenly spot that certain star again. Of course it’s not actually a star but a planet, with the same Greek name as Cyprus’ very own goddess. Aphrodite, Venus in the evening sky looks down on her home island and seems to wink at my clueless lump of a shape in the window of the quickly moving car. She’s so confident that everything will be alright. She would be. She’s a goddess!

Renegades

We have a friend visiting this weekend. She came with her hubby to see us and to indulge in some nutty endurance sports.

In sixth grade this friend and I liked the same boy. We have recently gotten over that.

Our lovely couple are not pictured here. These are paragliders (is that the term?) up on Mont Salève where we went together today.

On eight grade, she refused to play the violin at our mega giga amazeballs spring concert. It would have been deadly embarrassing, end of quote.

(What a weirdo, right? Everyone knows that violins and class spring concerts are the coolest!)

At 21, we spent long evenings watching films and series in our shared apartment. We were in Helsinki, my boyfriend was in Cyprus and her boyfriend was a bit vague. But we had French fries and beer!

When she got ill, my boyfriend and I wanted to cheer her up. And wine was just so easy to smuggle into the hospital in a juice carton, duh! I mean if they didn’t want that sort of thing happening then they surely would have done something to prevent such initiatives, right? Like a big illustrated sign? Or a police dog specialising in Cyprus reds, maybe?

Before my hen party, she called me up to say she couldn’t come. The wonderful reason for her absence is now at sports camp, with her own lovely friends. Hopefully they’re not into the same boys, or girls, or whatever. That sorta thing is just so hard to get over, isn’t it. Can take decades..!

Oh and yes, those boyfriends from when we were 21 are both here. One’s about to run the Harmony Geneva Marathon for UNICEF and the other is about to have a nap in the afternoon. I mean, there’s no sign against that, is there? Definitely not.

(And if there was, we are renegades! Aren’t we?)

You thought I wasn’t going to post a picture of our friends, didn’t you? So did I, but here it is! Come to me any day if you, too, would like a sweet and intimate portrait taken together with your spouse! A lovely idea for a wedding anniversary t-shirt, for example, to remind you both of a tender little moment forever. And ever.

May Day

Back home tonight, my people are getting drunk on spring. They wrap themselves head to toe in streamers, then roam the streets looking for misplaced Prosecco glasses. Joke wigs, soap bubbles, study buddies and such. It’s the custom. The law, one could say!

Some carnival goers will be struck by the divine inspiration to splash around in neo-classical fountains. Without exception, they will badly freeze. A lucky dripping person can perhaps warm up with someone cute who lives downtown and was (what a coincidence!) similarly inspired in the same fountain at the same time..!

Some will end up necking other people’s boyfriends and girlfriends and undefined friends in the dark of the morning hours. Then crying bitter gin tears into tomorrow’s picnic basket.

Others will no doubt meet the love of their life. They won’t be able to get out of their student associations’ worker’s overalls fast enough. Try undoing two (or more? it’s 2018!) sets of painter’s overalls quickly in the dark while tipsy, and secretly looking for something serious!

Elsewhere, the kids are finally in bed. The grown-ups can toast to a day off work tomorrow. Sure, it will be more work than actually going to work. But at least, at last, summer is coming!

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