Life in Cyprus - December 2001

Dec 3rd:

We've barely seen the sun for about 10 days now. There's been extremely heavy rain some days, which is great for the reservoirs, but with poor drainage in the streets, (and a sporadic leak in our dining room roof) not so good for us. It's grey and miserable constantly. Still, after the water shortages of the previous few years, we aren't really unhappy about it. A small girl in my Sunday school class told me she had forgotten what the sun looked like - quite a statement for a child living in Cyprus!

Christmas decorations have started appearing in the shops and in people's houses, but despite the weather being reminiscent of December in Britain, it's difficult to get motivated to think about Christmas when the house is chilly and the sky grey.

Dec 9th:

Today we got out our tree and made the house look a little more festive. Daniel finally created a Christmas card and I wrote our newsletter, and bought presents for the family in England - some ordered directly from UK online bookshops, some here, to be posted. As usual we posted everything after the official last posting date, but hoped they would arrive in time!

Dec 19th:

We had a busy week last week, with the boys finishing off some of their home education coursework - not as much as we'd hoped as Daniel went down with a nasty flu-like virus on about Wednesday, and has felt quite rotten for a few days. It gave him a sore throat and he felt very tired and weak, and couldn't play his clarinet for a couple of days. This week Tim seems to have a streaming cold so it's probably the same thing.

On Saturday we had our home educators' Christmas gathering at our house, after deciding not to have an outdoor meeting with the unpredictable weather here during the winter. We were glad we made this decision, since although the day itself was fine and mostly sunny, the field near Paphos where we had considered meeting was totally destroyed by recent hurricanes and heavy rain. 

Seven families attended the meeting, including two with small children who had not been before; we organised some of the small children making Christmas tree decorations with scissors, light card, and glitter-glue pens, while the rest of us were able to talk about home education and some of the issues which were concerning the new parents. Our house is well laid-out for this kind of meeting, with a large central 'atrium', and another fairly big dining/living room next to it.

On Sunday evening Tim was singing in the 'nine lessons and carols' choir at the Anglican Church, their choir having been augmented by several people from our church, so I went along to the service too; it went very well and he thoroughly enjoyed it. The church was packed out with visitors - usually their evening services have only about 15-20 people but there must have been over 150 that night.

This week I finally made Christmas puddings, and started on mince pies. On Sunday morning there's going to be an all-age worship service at our church with an ongoing drama/narrative, and both boys are doing readings; afterwards there's another Christmas Eve carol rehearsal, then we're having people to lunch, then Tim is playing organ, and Daniel playing clarinet, in the Anglican church evening service! So I really hope to have everything ready for Christmas BEFORE Sunday, as we'll need Christmas Eve to collapse for most of the day, at least until we go carol-singing in the hotels in the evening!

Dec 23rd:

The main problem with Cyprus in December is the cold! Outside it's not too bad, about 15C, though the sky is grey, but it's so hard getting the house warm. We have thick quilts at night, and hot water bottles, plus warm cats on top, but getting up in the morning is a shock to the system despite running the kerosene heater thing constantly at present. We run the a/c on 'heat' at times when it's particularly cold, but don't leave that on overnight. We're all right so long as we keep moving and wear several layers, but it's quite amazing how different it is, and how within a few weeks we can go from being almost too hot to move, down to being this cold!

The town band plays Christmas carolsToday was even more hectic than we'd thought, as we discovered on Friday evening (!) that the Town Band Christmas concert was this morning at 10.30am! We had assumed it would be Monday. To complicate matters further, Daniel had to be at the music school by 9.30am to get a uniform, as he missed band practice on Thursday. So he went to the first half of our church service, where he did a reading in the Christmas play, then Richard whisked him off to the music school. Tim had to go to the Anglican Church for carol practice. I should have been there too, but wanted to see Daniel in his concert, which was outside in town.

The concert went well - a medley of Christmas carols - and was over within three quarters of an hour, so Daniel and I rushed back to the Anglican Church for the last part of the carol practice, and Richard rushed home, since on top of everything else we had guests to lunch! In the evening the boys both played at the Anglican Church evening service - Tim as organist, Daniel on the clarinet. I went too, as I hadn't heard Tim playing the organ before.

Dec 27th:

Tim opens presents on Christmas morningWe managed to have a fairly relaxed day on Monday, culminating with carol-singing at two hotels, which went extremely well. On Christmas morning we enjoyed present-opening before church, then had 10 people to lunch rather than the 7 we had expected, since an Egyptian family missed their flights home on Christmas Eve! It was an enjoyable day, though I was exhausted by the end! On Boxing Day we had four more people to lunch, so at least I was motivated to get tidied up straight away after Christmas!

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