Yesterday (10 February 2017) I woke up early as usual on school days. I got up and went to do my morning routines – preparing breakfast for my daughter, tea, coffee; then I took her to school and the day continued in its habitual rhythm.
8 years earlier it wasn’t a regular day. It was a day, that became a door into my new life. 8 years earlier, I woke up with the dawn. Sleep hardly visited me that night. I was waking up every 10 minutes checking the time. My daughter, who was year and half then, and I, were about to have our first flight. We were flying to Cyprus to join my husband, who was already living and working here. He arrived a little under year and a half prior to us. Our daughter was only two months, when my husband came here. It was one of the hardest periods in our life together. We just had a baby and he had to leave and look for a better life opportunity. I don’t even want to remember that period.
When we arrived and after the initial joy of our reunion and the excitement from the new, we were soon taken over by the reality of living in a completely new place. I knew no one, my husband was working long hours, we were very short on money at the beginning. The loneliness, the nostalgia, the despair, all added to my underlying condition of anxiety disorder. I turned into a fearful, scared creature. I had panic attacks daily, I was afraid to go out. I knew I was depriving my child of normal routines like a walk to the playground. My husband, who was very tired from his job, managed to find time and join us for a walk before his work. I couldn’t go anywhere without him. The moment I would cross the threshold, I would start filling with dread. It was a life in hell. My inner invisible hell.
I was ready to leave any minute. I wanted to return home. I was ready to pack my suitcase and go back. I was basically ready to give up.
I met one Cypriot guy on Skype and later we arranged going out for a coffee – him and the three of us. He was always telling us and especially me: Stay positive, believe and have patience. Those weren’t empty words as he had recently returned from the USA after 20 years living there. He knew what being an immigrant was.
I stayed patient. I didn’t give up. Even in my darkest hours I was able to find a faint ray of hope in my life. And today I can only say, that this is the best decision I have ever made.
Those 8 years, that we celebrated yesterday, are the happiest, the most fruitful and transformative years in my life. And I hope 8 turns into ∞ (infinity). I hope the rest of our lives will be the best of our lives. Now, as I look back, I am grateful for everything, for the hardest moments too, because without them I would not be able to appreciate the good ones.
Now we know people and places. We have a fairly organized life. There are some things we still strive for, but I believe the hardest and scariest part is over, and I am simply grateful!
Here I share with you 8 things I love about Cyprus. There are much more than 8 things I love about this beautiful place, but in honor of the anniversary, I dedicate a great reason of my top eight to every year spent here.
Here we go:
1. Cyprus became my home – It doesn’t even feel like “second home” anymore. It feels like “the home”. My daughter spent most of her life here. She basically grew up here. We became a real family here. Everything is so familiar, so endearing and well known. So ours.
2. Plethora of sun – Those, who know me well, know that I can’t stand the horrible heat of Cyprus summer. Honestly, I don’t know a single person who loves it, but the abundance of sunny days during the year becomes something I am getting used to.
I love how sun enters through the shutters’ holes in summer. I love it, that we see sunny days even during winter. In January or February there are still days you can go out and warm yourself in the sun.
3. Abundance and variety of fruits and vegetables – People get used to good things easily, right? I feel absolutely blessed to have access to all kinds of fruits and vegetables all year round. Avocados, pomelos, lemons, etc. I can’t imagine my life without them!
I saw and tasted kinds of fruits I didn’t even know existed. It is such an amazing opportunity to have access to different types of nature gifts throughout the whole year.
4. Sea is so close – We don’t live by the sea and I am grateful, because I would not be able to handle the influx of tourists during summer. I am a person who runs in the opposite direction when they see crowds. But Cyprus is small and you can go to the sea and return all in the same day. In my country of nationality, I would not be able to do that and would have probably still be dreaming to go to the sea. Here in Cyprus, sea is a reality within reach. It is a dream that came true.
5. Cyprus is small and tangible – It is an individual choice whether to communicate with people or not, but because it is a small place, Cyprus is very comfortable. People actually communicate between them. They are not rushing sea of people, who never notice you, never smile, never show they are alive, like it is in much bigger countries and cities. Here you can begin greeting people simply because you keep encountering them on the streets.
Cyprus has a unique intimate feel and I hope she doesn’t lose it.
6. The “Siga-siga” attitude – The stressful life reached Cyprus too. People are rushing to their jobs, life responsibilities, etc. But there is this innate attitude towards life where there is no rush. “Siga-siga” means exactly this – slowly, without rush, step by step. I am enjoying my coffee now, what’s the rush? 🙂
Sometimes it might seem impractical and annoying, if you are visiting an institution, but I find it to be a great attitude towards life in general and totally matching my personality. I can’t feel overwhelmed. My brain doesn’t work that way.
Lay back, enjoy, savor the moment.
7. I love my daughter’s school – My daughter visits a public school and I am very happy with what they offer. I compare it with the potential school she would had gone to if we were back in our country, and there is simply no room for comparison.
They visit museums, they have trips, they have all kinds of different events. She goes and returns happy.
Also my child never felt discriminated in any way. There are many other foreign kids there and I love the idea of them growing up together along with the local Cypriot kids.
I am not a supporter of multiculturalism in the political sense. Well, not anymore. But I love that my kid can meet children from different nationalities and have cultural exchange on personal level. Many of these kids are actually born here, they are fluent in the language, as is my daughter, and I think kids see no difference between themselves.
8. Cyprus triggered my personal transformation – This might not be a feature of Cyprus, but for me it is extremely important that this change in me happened here. This way I feel immensely connected to Cyprus. I started my yoga practice here. I learned how to manage my anxiety disorder here. I gained a lot of life wisdom here. I was so silly and naive when I first arrived. I learned a lot and grew as a person here. I went under big inner transformation (which is still happening) here! I love this place for all the lessons and gifts!
Yes, there is corruption, crazy driving, people, who consider it normal to treat you as a slave because you come from another country, there is animal abuse, etc. There are many things we can classify as negative. But they exist in many other countries too.
On the other hand, here feels home, it is warm and familiar, there is a lot of sun and positivity here too. I love this place and hope it loves me back too.