Living in Cyprus - November 1997

sunny day on the beach
Sunny day on the beach

1st Nov: Today we were taken to Cape Greco beach, at the East of the island, by some colleagues who have been here for some years. We took a fairly slow route there - first stopping at Ayia Napa, a resort that's popular (or rather, infamous!) for night-life and teenage clubbing, during the summer. It's fairly peaceful now, however, and we looked at the harbour. We also drove a little way into the mountains to see the Moufflon - a rather shy animal that's quite rare now, and protected by law. We did manage to spot a couple of them in the distance. 

Finally we drove on to the most beautiful cove - well worth the drive - and had a picnic. The boys built sandcastles, and we relaxed in the sunshine. It was around 25C. Despite feeling somewhat homesick, I could appreciate that Cyprus was a good place to be: in the morning I had an email from someone in the UK telling me they had just had the first frost of the season, and one from a friend in Colorado Springs, telling us they'd just had 24 inches of snow!

We visited the Larnaca Community Church today. It's quite small, an oldish looking church with pews and a nice yard all round. Richard introduced us, as they always get new people to say hello. I can't say I was very impressed: the preacher (a visiting one) said some rather odd things, and the music was a bit dull. We'd been told there was a lively music group there, but apparently it was mostly teenagers who have now left to go to college in the UK. There was a piano at the front, but I didn't even know all the songs. The pew was remarkably uncomfortable too, and it seemed so hot. It doesn't have air conditioning. The boys went out to Sunday School - Daniel reluctantly, Tim enthusiastically. Apparently Tim had a great time but Daniel got upset because he was put in a group of 8-11s which he felt was very babyish. However they were very helpful and let him go into the teenage group, supposedly 12+ (though he's only just 11!) and he said that wasn't too bad.

We're planning to visit the other three English-speaking churches locally - one Anglican, one charismatic, one Reformed Presbyterian (whatever that means!) but decided we'd go for each to at least two weeks. It doesn't seem quite fair to make a judgement based on just one week, particularly when there was a visiting preacher.

We did have one bit of excitement: a colleague phoned to say that an elderly lady in the Anglican church is moving from a large old house to a small flat, and wants to sell her piano. She asked if we were interested. A piano was one thing we'd worried about, so the boys can continue playing. In fact they'd asked our church back in Birmingham to pray about us getting one!

We went to see the lady, who was delightful. We were worried that the piano might be worn out, or untunable, but it was a lovely one - old, and in need of tuning, but all the notes work and Richard thinks it will be fine. What's more, the lady told us that it's her niece's piano, and she's willing to LEND it to us for a couple of years - so it won't even cost anything! We said we'd have to let our church friends know that their prayers were answered... and perhaps we should ask them to pray for table and chairs and beds as well! But as it happened, this lady had two very nice single beds that she wanted to sell us, so as we'd paid nothing for the piano, and she wasn't asking a huge amount, we decided to have those too.

7th Nov:  We got started on home education this past week - see the November 1997 home ed diary page for details. 

our rental house in Cyprus
Our rental house

8th Nov: Today we moved into the house we're going to rent. We appreciated having a furnished flat to stay in for our first couple of weeks, but it was quite cramped for four of us. The new house seems huge, as the ceilings are four metres high (yes, that's 13 feet!) and everywhere is painted off-white. We're borrowing some furniture from the store of furniture owned by Richard's work; if we decide to keep some of it, we'll buy it from them. 

There's a large thrift shop which seems well-equipped with furniture at good prices; people come and go quite often here. So we'll have to visit there frequently and see what's available. Anyway, we have beds, chairs and so on; also a washing-machine, cooker and fridge (very important). About 15 colleagues helped with the moving, so it didn't take long. Afterwards we had a barbecue in our back garden - which is huge and overgrown. There's a patio - which was covered in dust and leaves, but somebody kindly swept it, and it made a good place for eating.

At the far end of the garden is a five-storey block of flats. I hadn't really noticed them before, but as we started eating, someone appeared on one of the balconies and stared at us. Then she went in, and five minutes later more people started apperaing on other balconies. Before long we had about 20 people looking down. It felt rather intrusive, but perhaps they were interested as the house has been empty for six months or more. And of course they might be wondering if 20 people are moving in!

9th Nov:< We visited the Community Church again. The preacher was much better, and I discovered there are some cushion things, which make the pews more comfortable. Two or three people spoke to us afterwards, and it all seemed quite friendly. Later on, we told the boys we'd be visiting another church the following week, and they immediately said that wasn't possible, because they've agreed to do readings and other things in the Harvest Service that's coming up in two weeks' time! So it looks like we'll be going all month. Oh well, it's important that the boys feel comfortable in whatever church we go to.. perhaps we'll visit another one in December.

28th Nov: We're expecting our first overnight guests today (people from our Church in the UK, who are visiting Cyprus on holiday). So - leaving things to the last minute, as ever - we decided we had better buy another mattress! The bed we have borrowed is really quite uncomfortable, and we didn't feel we could ask guests to sleep on it. We have a sofa-bed where we intended to sleep that night, if we could find a new mattress for our bed.

We decided we had nothing to lose - so we went to have a look at the bed. It turned out to be a king-size bed with magnolia facings, and a built-in radio in the headboard, as well as two little bedside drawer units. The mattress did seem comfortable, and it all looked in excellent condition. As we considered it, the owners said they were throwing out two old sofas, and if we bought the bed we could have those for nothing. So as they seemed quite good sofas (albeit rather tatty) we decided to go ahead. We agreed a price of 100 for the lot, to be collected tomorrow.

29th Nov: We collected the bed and sofas! We put the bed up in our room, where it looks pretty good, being a similar style to the built-in wardrobes. We decided to let our guests sleep there, and to put our borrowed bed up temporarily in the study, for us to sleep on. Then we'll return it, and try to find a good sofa-bed before the next time we have guests. This arrangement seemed to work out well. It was nice to see some people from home, and they were most interested in the house, if a bit horrified at the state of some of it! Still, they agreed it was an excellent bargain, and had a lot of potential. They could also see that the kitchen was well-equipped, if rather garish colours.

30th Nov: After church (still the Larnaka Community church - I think we'll stay there now the boys seem so settled) and lunch, we took our friends along the sea-front, and to the yogurt ice cream shop we've been introduced to. We ate our ice creams by the sea, and by the time we'd finished felt distinctly chilly. There was quite a breeze, and as the afternoon wore on it actually began to feel cold. Not something we'd really expected in Cyprus, but people have told us that the winters can be chilly here.

Cyprus diary October 1997 -  Cyprus diary December 1997