Sunday, 22 November 2015

Island Life

Cyprus: a small island on the outskirts of Europe that boasts a unique and privileged geographical location, a rich history and a deeply rooted culture, and the place I called home for three years. 
Cyprus as an island gave me a lot, not least a beautiful bronzed, year round glow thanks to the endless hours of sunshine and delicious Mediterranean weather on offer. But it also gave me a family and afforded me the sort of friendships that never die, even when you depart the confines of the island. 

It taught me about the history and conflict and intense background that has made it the place it is today. And it gave me knowledge; I learnt the language, the culture and the cooking. But for me one of the most interesting things about the island is it's rich history and I don't mean the rise and fall of Ayia Napa as the 20-somethings party destination of choice. And while I have heard first hand accounts of the conflict Cyprus was engulfed in, I never really understood the severity of it. 

So when I returned this summer for 2 weeks of Mediterranean sun and relaxation, I decided on a pretty relevant choice of reading. The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop tells the story of the Turkish invasion of the island in 1974 and aside from being a brilliantly written piece of literature, it makes the historical elements of the countries background, digestible. 

It's all to easy to forget the history of a place, a person or a relationship. I look at granny, sitting under the vine leaves in the shade, in the garden of her house that she moved into when she fled her home in 1974 and I never really understood the events that she had lived through. 

I take in every inch of the landscape from the light blue sky to the dusty terrain, the lush green mountains and the deep blue ocean. I make sure I appreciate every word of Greek spoken to me and I make a conscious effort to scour my brain for the correct pronunciation of the Greek words I still remember. I immerse myself in the culture around me and capture every expression of the people I miss on a daily basis.

Now I soak up every moment of my time on the island and think how lucky we are to enjoy it so carelessly. 

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