Something Borrowed

His name is Bruno and he was home alone today.

So we could borrow him!

The park was a lush green paradise of birdsong and sunshine filtered through a million leaves.

Bruno enjoyed the smell aspects of it.

And some womanising. Oh dear!

Cyprus is so gorgeous!


And apparently, smells fabulous too.

Writing for a Living

I write for money! Yes I do.

Nope, not for the Cyprus Mail. It’s there for breakfast and lunch companionship only!

I receive blueprints and pour over them like a woman possessed. Then begin frantic area research and note taking. In challenging cases, enlist a music streaming service.

What’s near the development?

What will the views be like?

How does one get anyplace?


Start typing: architecture, design. Landscaping, layouts.

And all the practical stuff, try to be a bit more brief for goodness’ sake, it isn’t a bleeding novel!

Selling points? Hmm.

Introduction. (This is everything.)

Title options. Usually too long, grimace.

Chop! Mourn.

Okay? Off it goes.

Burst through school gates. Panting, so late, so disheveled and not bearing snacks it seems actually.

Usher people to Greek tutoring.

Sit in the car a bit cold. Fantasize of writing for fun maybe tonight.

Like lock my door, turn up the music?

Then, for goodness’ sake, write like there’s no tomorrow?


Yes! Yes!!

Maybe tomorrow?

After Cyprus, Where Would You Go?

‘When the man loves the woman more, they have sons’, declared the Ukrainian grandma at the head of the table, nodding at our kids. ‘Da’ attested my gentlemanly husband, giving my thigh a gentle little pat.

We are not this slim, it’s my friend’s camera:)

We were seated around a solid wood table with flowers in the middle, this is Cyprus after all. Outside the air was restlessly shifting under November rain. It was just about to hit these cobbled alleys and mountain pines, and the village dog running up and down the main street barking at cars.

He wouldn’t mind. He had a job to do. So many funny looking Nicosiades to chase!

On the table there were glasses of red, white and water, hot plates of veg and lamb and a salad with fresh bread softening in sweet olive oil. I was tasting something with a difficult name, something quite heavenly when my friend asked of our plans after Cyprus.

‘Where would we go after Cyprus?’ I wondered, looking from plate to plate desperately trying to decide what to try next. ‘What would we eat?’

There was pleasant agreement over the impossibility of eating anything in other countries. We continued the meal surrounded by the old stone walls and happily lunching kids. My other half who has been so absent-minded lately seemed to be quite content too, amidst steaming little plates being entertained by our friend the walking library of… romantic jokes.

I can imagine someone leaving Cyprus for New York maybe. Lots of good stuff to eat there!

But right now I really can’t see where else anyone would like to go after Cyprus, nor indeed why!

And I think grandma might just agree with me! She is clearly a very wise lady.

Space Tag

Tonight we got some takeaway. It’s Sunday night and we are both a bit worse for wear.

One has muscle pain after running around in the cold evening breeze thinking they were 17.

The other has her usual number of worries, just because!

This week was the last week one unlucky stray kitten got to live. His short story ended under a heat lamp at the vet’s.

Next door to him three little former strays slept in a warm and cosy heap. To wake up again soon, curious and playful, for another lovely day.

This was the week when French Conversation was cancelled and we didn’t know that. Waiting, we covered everything from space travel to Cyprus problem.

This week our building shook violently with the pitter patter of four Darth Vaders playing some kind of a beastly space tag. One of the Darths had previously soothed a fading kitten but was now full of cheery fight again.

Like you want your kids to be, a while  after a disappointment.

It was when I woke up on Saturday and decided to contribute my five cents to the Cyprus question debate. My overture was met with a surprised and a tad exasperated look from the neighbouring pillow.

This one by my spouse who is a patient type

It was the week we froze in bed. Not so much because of the CyProb pillow talk but because it seems

summer is gone.


I wasn’t able to snap anything resembling a cat portrait because our friend was on the move all the time. ‘Let me’ said my kid!

Officially one of a million and a half. But not to us!

Because he has an old injury in his front leg but

still comes running whenever we step out the front door.

The first time my son saw him

he couldn’t think of anything but the poor broken legged cat and what would become of him.

Then we made friends with him.

And found out it’s an old problem and that

he is actually the happiest and friendliest cat we’ve ever known!

He is not in pain now.

The entire neighbourhood feeds and spoils him.

He purrs like a lawnmower.

We wish we could adopt him. But since that would slowly suffocate me to death, I’m thinking we’ll hang out instead.

Is that okay, dear little friend?

Happiness Triggers

Sometimes in my new life, going around minding my own business, something triggers a severe and unexpected attack of happiness.

Often it’s houses, like this one above. I mean, what an entrance for an ordinary block of flats! Like going into a Greek poetry library when you’re in fact just going to load up the washing machine, aren’t you!

Happiness attack.

Absurdity is another trigger. Yesterday I bent my head to pass from under the branches of a tree standing on the pavement – and the whole thing buzzed. The entire tree was alive with thousands of bees. (Meanwhile in Finland, snow is drifting onto the ground.)

Surprise happiness attacks. Oof.

Doing something new is a suspected happiness source as well. Last Saturday I chaired a meeting between similarly motivated strangers. Something new was established for young Finns in Nicosia. Afterwards, smelling of smoke (the kids’ play area was in the smoking section of the café – because kid smokers?) I got into my car and BANG! Stinky happy driver approaching from twelve o’clock!

The fourth culprit is pleasant repetition after a tumultuous time. I lounge on in the balcony contemplating nothing. A bit unsteady, it’s not a sofa I sit on but an old spare mattress on a cardboard box. Some people don’t have time for garden furniture shopping apparently. And then the moon rises shyly from the corner of my building: Hey Aino, how are you, how’s Cyprus?


Hey moon, Cyprus is just so lovely!

And I’m here and the food really is just so good and we have a stray cat friend you know!

And people friends. Please say hello to home country when you get there. It’s the one with the thousand lakes and the thousand freezing postmen.

The New Normal: Day

10.00 Laptop most definitely will not switch on.

Contemplate the situation. Seems I kind of have a day off. Also seems I have no computer.

Feel sad.

Why is life with technology such an uphill battle?

10.01-12.00 Non-photogenic activities. (So I here’s my favourite plant Rosalie instead.) Feel obliged to unpack the joyous remains of a fun weekend by the sea. Not fun. Kind of gross. As is the laundry. As is blog writing in ugly housewear (way too hot to write elegantly dressed – otherwise obviously would).

12.00 Toddle off to the bakery to buy some good veggie protein with a village salad. Get told off for taking a pic of the bread shelf. Feel stupid.




Feel stupid taking a photo of my lunch, take one anyway. And post it here. There it is.

13.30 Watch Sister Wives.

Don’t feel stupid. Haven’t got a computer and the seaside weekend was a bit consuming actually. And Mariah has recently come out as gay to her five fundamentalist Mormon parents. Five! Fundamentalist! Gay! Mormon!

15.00 Reunited with my tanned rascals on the school yard.

Gather all our courage and ask one boy’s mum if he could join us for pizza on Friday. He can! Oh their joyous little faces!

Oh the dawn of a friendship.

Oh my poor old heart.

The New Normal: Morning

The new normal. I think we are now living it because days are starting to resemble each other. So maybe I can now show you what life is like on a regular Monday and maybe it will still ring true after a year or two? I wouldn’t mind if it did.

6.40 Out of bed, to the command centre located at the fruit bowl. That’s where all important papers seem to hang out, uninvited. (Different devices also like to charge their batteries there, on top of the avocados. So rude!)

Try to make out my kids’ ever-changing school schedules, can’t see anything. Remember now have reading glasses, put them on. Husband bought them for me after my protests that I couldn’t see his work tweets when he stuck his phone in my face and asked for opinions. Such an amazing present. Can now admire his work tweets so much. Also have little reading lights on both sides. Like the headlights of a car. Can read things in the dark!

6.45 Finally up to speed about who has P.E. today and can start ironing uniforms. Do it on the bed because of the rush, accidentally iron sheets underneath into tight creases. Dang. Meanwhile husband has carried comatose offspring to sofa and disappeared. Don’t know what to do with poor floppy children. Only brought them home at 9.20 last night forchristssake! Weekend by the sea – fun during, painful the morning after. Put on Cartoon Network. Disappear into the kitchen.

7.10 Cartoon Network revived children. Hurrah! But they don’t like the butter because it’s not the same brand they they were used to in Switzerland. Lecture/encouraging pep talk about aquired tastes and angry daddies who detest being late for work. Pack third grader’s backpack, like every morning. I know I said I wouldn’t do it anymore! But 7.10! Butter dispute! Swimming after school! Brother has tennis! Angry husband alert! Where is the racquet?

7.30 There they go. Phew! Follow their departure from the balcony to be absolutely sure.

Then coo at balcony plants. Give water to whoever is looking a bit rough. Coo some more.

Worry about lost youth. Reading glasses! Talking to plants! What next?

Panicky fit of ‘what happened to my youth?’: Put on sneakers and cap and rush out for sporty walk. Should probably run but use 2009 knee problem as excuse as always. Happily stroll around taking pictures with my phone instead.

As always.

Love it.

This unflattering shadow was harrassing me all the way

Getting a bit hot around 8.20.

But what flowers!

What views!

What trees!

And what a light.

Our block of flats in the background
Our balcony is the one with the moving box peeking down, of course
Someone pretty next to our entrance

9.05 Back home quite sweaty. Type a message to my client asking if they need any writing done. Remember computer refused to start on Friday. Stop typing.

Have breakfast and shower in peace.

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, tanned 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.

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