In Uncategorized on October 16, 2012 at 1:07 am

Since being back, I’ve been lucky enough to see Meghan and Leslie in Wildwood for the world’s largest Ultimate beach tournament, where we lost every single game in style. I even got to see Leslie at home in North Carolina on my way back from a road trip of the southeast US. I felt like I was back in Nicosia’s old city – academic papers strewn over her coffee table just like on Megalou Alexandrou, drinking coffee and watching dance videos on her laptop in the middle of story-sharing. (Damn, Michael Jackson could dance.)

Ismini finally came back to the US, and invited me to come visit her for her church’s Greek festival. Not one to turn down an invitation to pretend I speak Greek again, I was soon stuffing myself with tiropita and frappé in New Jersey. I even stayed an extra day to go to a hookah bar in Philly with a bunch of her friends and witness some incredible dabke dancing from some of the other patrons. She and Ali and I are planning a reunion in Brooklyn to commemorate our one year anniversary of our Barcelona vacation.

It’s been an adjustment for all of us to say the least. I think finally talking to everyone was the necessary catharsis that has allowed me to bring this blog to a close. (FYI! Cathartic actually comes from the Greek καθαίρω! I’m one of those now.)  I’ve been avoiding it half because I didn’t want it to end and half because I wasn’t sure how to do it. Regardless, the name of the link isn’t just A is For Adventure – technically, it’s A is For Adventure in Cyprus.

Soon I’ll be starting on my next adventure but I don’t want to ruin the surprise by telling you all what it is just yet. That’s for another day, and maybe another blog.

Someone recently asked me what my favorite quote was. Che Guevara said it, but truth be told I first saw it on the cover of The Motorcycle Diaries. Don’t read too much into that. Though my freshman year roommate may argue differently due to the alarming number of vintage USSR posters I hung up on my side of the room because I thought they went nicely with my red comforter, I am not actually a communist, nor a “Che” t-shirt wearer. I simply think it is something everyone should hear:

Let the world change you, and you can change the world.

And that’s it. Thanks for reading, everyone. It means the world to me.



Reverse Culture Shock? Not yet!

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Since it’s summer and I have not already jumped into work, I have been missing out on culture shock. In fact it’s been frighteningly easy to jump back into the swing of things. I also attribute this lack of culture shock to the fact that I’ve only been in Forty Fort for a grand total of  seven days since I’ve been back, living life at 150 mph going up and down the East Coast per usual.

Things I’ve noticed:

  • When I got off the plane at JFK I felt COLD. It was 74 degrees out and I had goosebumps. I’m currently wearing pants.
  • I do love the fact that when I order a coffee I just get a coffee – none of that Nescafe crap. Though in a true “grass-is-always-greener” moment, I am craving a Turkish/Cypriot/Greek/Byzantine/Levantine coffee or a frappé. Just to be difficult I suppose.
  • It’s nice to have a CD player in my car that plays my mixes. But I miss the Syrian music channel that always came in, and I miss hearing Greek. I had Simone send me a bunch of artists we used to hear on the radio to download.
  • The bugs are not Jurassic here. Got a mosquito bite, scratched it, and it didn’t blow up to take over the length of my arm.
  • It feels like I’m back in high school: home for the summer, swimming in a friend’s pool, hanging out with my best friends from home, driving around Forty Fort…
  • I keep reaching for the gear-changer in my car on my left, as well as turning on the windshield wipers instead of the blinkers. (Pappou was the opposite!)
  • I love my car.
  • The CD collection in my car is rad.
  • My bed is HUGE.
  • My phone has internet (for better or worse).
  • Cyprus may have some nationalism issues, but Americans can be straight obnoxious about our own nationalism. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve heard a U-S-A chant in the past month.
  • I can now understand where the term “heartache” comes from. When I allow myself to sit and think about it, or print out, I don’t know, 600 pictures, my heart hurts. Cyprus, what have you done to me?!

Some things I have found helpful:

There are people in my life who have lived abroad for a time and have reached out to me, knowing that I needed to talk to them even before I realized it. One person offered up some stories on how hard it can be to come back to the US after a time living abroad, and how difficult it is to explain to other people. Another person with experience living abroad made me feel better about coming back and gave me an inspiring and completely rational explanation on why I should give the US job search a chance. And, a few friends and family allowed me to talk for an entire night when I hosted a meze and made everyone watch a Cypriot film and then chat over wine and halloumi. Many thanks for that, guys!


In Uncategorized on August 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Tuesday, My Very Last Nicosia Hash House Harrier Run

It’s very possible that you may have realized that the most important event on my social calendar was my Tuesday night run with the hashers, my family away from family. It was very apropos then, that my very last night in Cyprus was a Tuesday. There was a block of ice at the end of the run waiting for me for the down-downs, just as there was at my very first hash when the Travel Channel was there to film us. No professional camera crews this time but I appreciated the extra effort nonetheless. It was surreal to think that I was leaving in the morning and therefore all my goodbyes felt more like I was going on a vacation of sorts. Which, coincidentally, is how I kept thinking of my time back in the states: a summer vacation to see friends and family before starting out on my next adventure. When will I be back? September? Next summer? Five years? I’m not sure but I’m confident I’ll be back someday. It’s hard to explain since my experience in Cyprus is unlike anything I’ve known – not a study abroad, not a vacation, not entirely a job. I’m incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity, and I’m not sure how I’ll ever top it. I can’t help but think of how Aphrodite has claimed a part of my heart to stay on her island, through all of its ups and downs, its scars and its glimpses of paradise.

Thanking Dingbat Chubby for being so kind as to send me off by having me sit on a block of ice while my fellow hashers serenade me with every song they’ve ever sung combined into one numbness-inducing warble.

On another note, I feel the need to announce my favorite bars in Nicosia:

1) Brewfellas – I know, I know, it feels as though this bar could be straight out of Brooklyn, but I can’t help it. The crowd, the bartenders, the atmosphere, the proximity to my apartment… it was just the whole package. Not to mention the excellent selection of beers – a welcome change from your standard Keo/Carlsberg. Many a great night was spent in Brewfellas. I think it’s possible I had been there on each day of the week.

2) New Division – I need to give Cipri and Simeon credit for introducing me to the city. Truly, I don’t know where I would have been without them. They also introduced me to these top two bars – along with many, many other honorable mentions. New Division is located outside of the old city, which is notable given my total obsession affinity for everything and anything within those Venetian walls. In the winter it was dark and had a fantastic soundtrack, highly valued in a place where many bars seem to vacillate between top-40 and heavy metal. In the summer, whoa. The porch opened up and there was a giant patio area, full of leafy trees and flowers growing in between tables. I wanted to move in.

3) To Haratsi – I wrote about this place recently, when I was interviewed for a Fulbright event. Though a relative newcomer to my personal bar scene, I had to include it because of its immediate impact. I am genuinely disappointed I did not get to know the owner better – the few times I was there I had some really great conversations with him. During the day the cafe looks old and abandoned, another victim of proximity to the Green Line. But once it opens up and the traditional cafe chairs are set up on the street, it really comes to life – always with an interesting mix of people who are enticed by the labyrinth of the old city.

Honorable mention: Svoura. How many nights did I end up dancing there in the half-darkness, jumping around to strange music and running into friends? Not nearly enough.

Hash run 1242