Living in Cyprus - February 1998

13th February:

lemon tree in our back garden in CyprusWe have friends from the UK staying with us this week as it’s half-term. They used to live round the corner from us in Bournville, then when we were in Colorado, they were in Texas! Their son is Tim’s age and one of his best friends; his sister is six, and my god-daughter.

So we’re taking the opportunity to see some museums and other places of interest around Cyprus which we hadn't not got around to seeing before. People living here say they usually see most ‘touristy’ things when they have guests. The family arrived in the middle of the night Thursday/Friday and are staying just over a week.

Richard seems to have been working every hour there is for the past few weeks trying to finish some editing; not helped by the office being refurbished! So we had video equipment in our house for part of the time, which didn’t really help as he was constantly being interrupted and ended up working very late into the night. Anyway, he’s taking off a fair amount of time this week while our friends are here, which I’m sure is good for him. Hopefully the office refurbishment will be finished by the end of this week, then they can get back to normal again.

We’ve finally discovered a place that has a clarinet teacher after several queries in vain at various music schools. The shops sell clarinet music and reeds so we guessed there must be someone SOMEWHERE that teaches it, but they were hard to find! Eventually we asked a girl at Church who’s bilingual and goes to a Greek school, whether any of the music teachers in the Greek schools might do private lessons. 

That also drew a blank, but she pointed us in the direction of a community centre which has a music school attached; apparently there’s one person there who teaches woodwind, and has reasonably good English too which is just as well. So we’re going to take Daniel there some time this week and see if we can get that settled. He’s been missing his lessons, and though he’s joined the Church ‘band’, they only play once a month.

On Saturday we went to a big park with a salt lake with our friends, and saw the flamingoes that live there during the winter, although they were some distance away so just looked like pink heads. Still, the colour was very distinctive. While we were in the park some Greek Cub Scouts came nearby, playing various games, and Richard went to talk to the leaders, who spoke good English. Tim and his friend recognised some of the songs they were singing, and Richard went to speak to the leaders who said Tim would be most welcome to join them; they meet on a Saturday afternoon. 

Tim isn’t entirely sure about this, as of course the session would be conducted in Greek, but he knows a bit, and most of the kids would speak some English; I think he’d enjoy it and probably learn a lot of Greek as a result! Anyway, we’ll see what it’s like next Saturday, probably. He still hasn’t decided absolutely if he’ll go, though he’s missed his Cubs in England.

We went to the beach yesterday afternoon; there was a cold breeze but the sun was shining and it was about 15C, so quite pleasant for an hour. The children enjoyed playing in the sand and climbing the rocks, anyway. It seemed chilly to us but I'm sure it’s warmer than the UK in February. The Cypriot children who were there were wearing warm trousers, jumpers and jackets while ours ran around in tee-shirts and shorts!

Tim does some cooking in our Cyprus kitchenI’m still teaching the boys at home, as it seems to be working out well and the only really local school is not at all suitable. It’s very formal, does almost nothing except English and maths, and no extra-curricular activities. Daniel would be going to secondary school in the Autumn if we were still at hoem so we’re looking at the options for that; he’ll probably need to take an exam in May. In the meantime it’s nice to have time to ourselves and the boys seem to enjoy home-schooling. I gather it’s increasing in popularity in the UK, and in the USA hundreds of thousands of children are taught at home right up to the age of 18.

February 20th:

We’ve had a good week; the weather has been much milder, with a lot of sunshine. We’ve been to the beach three times and seen British tourists there in swim suits although we’re now somewhat acclimatised and were wearing sweatshirts and long trousers! We’ve seen a few ancient sites too and the boys have very much enjoyed playing with their friends from Birmingham. We're looking forward to having lots more visitors from 'back home' in the next couple of years.

February 28th:

We took Tim along to the Cub pack - after a false start when we discovered a different pack in the same area, but with nobody who spoke much English. However we eventually found the group we had met in the park, and they seemed most welcoming and friendly. It's about a fifteen-minute walk from our house and in very pleasant grounds, so Tim has decided to join - at least for now. There are enough English-speaking children that he shouldn't have any difficulty knowing what to do, although it doesn't seem as structured or organised as a British Cub pack.

Cyprus diary January 1998 -  Cyprus diary March 1998