Sunday, November 25, 2012

"Nightswimming Deserves a Quiet Night"

 Hello again, readers! I figured it’s time for a Cyprus update, so you’re going to hear about my Cypriot Dance lesson, my 21st Birthday weekend, and of course Thanksgiving! Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Cypriot Dancing

     For my European Cultures class I was assigned a research project and paper relating to a cultural aspect of Cyprus. Since I am a theatre major and love to dance, I thought it would be fun and interesting to research Traditional Cypriot dances! To jump-start my research, I looked up local dance studios in Nicosia that offered Cypriot dance lessons, and I was lucky enough to find Revolution Dance Studio. With them I arranged a private Traditional Cypriot/Greek Dance lesson for four friends and myself. Katie, Kyle, Kristi, and Jessica were just as eager to learn as I was!
Cypriot Dance Lesson
            Monika was our dance teacher, a 20-year-old Cypriot student studying dance and education. As she was teaching, she kept saying it was funny to see non-Greeks dancing in the traditional Greek style, but she was happy to teach us and was thrilled that I wanted to learn the dances for my culture project. During our one-hour lesson we learned 4 types of dances: Kalamatianos, Tsamikos, Tsifteteli and Syrtos. Tsamikos was my favorite because it was the most complicated and involved a lot of steps to learn. I’m really glad I decided to research traditional Cypriot dances for my culture project because I had a great time learning the dances with my friends!

21st Birthday Weekend!
Kolossi Castle

Climbing Kolossi's walls!
                I was lucky enough that the planned GLS trip to Limassol and Paphos was during my Birthday weekend! During the trip I saw the Limassol Castle (which wasn’t anything special in my opinion), drove through the foothills of the Troodos Mountains (which were beautiful and I can’t wait to hike there later), and stopped at Kolossi Castle (the much cooler one). During the drive, our guide told us about the Carob bean which Cypriots ate in ancient times for good health and long life. They are still found on the island and people eat them today. An interesting fact: in ancient times 24 Carob bean seeds was equivalent to 1 karat of gold, so that’s how they measured weight back then. Claudia picked some Carob beans off a tree, and we all tried it. They tasted like naturally sweet chocolate! We also visited the Ancient City of Kourion where we saw roman baths with amazingly preserved mosaics! My favorite part was the ancient theatre, of course, and Katie, Kristi, Kyle, Jessica, and I practiced our Greek dancing on the stage!            
Aphrodite's rock
               On the way to Paphos we stopped at Aphrodite’s rock, the place where she was born out of sea foam. It was beautiful and I’d love to go back sometime to swim around the rock like the legend says to absorb some of Aphrodite’s beauty. We ate lunch in Paphos’ lovely harbor where I got swordfish at the Pelican Restaurant. I had to pick around some bones, but it was delicious, and the restaurant even had a pet pelican walking around that bit me when I pet him. Haha, I didn’t get hurt, don’t worry!
            We checked into our hotel, The Coral Beach Resort, and our room was huge; there were bathrobes and everything! Our terrace was beautiful and I was looking forward to spending my birthday there. After getting settled we watched the sunset on the beach, which was magnificent! Later that night we relaxed on the beach by the sound of the waves, and we even went night-swimming! (Which is what inspired today’s post title to be from "Nightswimming" by REM).  Surprisingly the water wasn’t that cold and we had a great time. 
This is how I spent my November!

            On Saturday we ate breakfast at the hotel and lounged by the beautiful hotel pool for a few hours and went swimming for a bit. The pool water was freezing and way colder than the sea from the previous night! 

Scuba diving adventure!
Then we headed to…….guess where?........PADI Cydive for SCUBA DIVING! For a decent price we were instructed how to use the gear, rented suits etc., and got to go scuba diving in the Mediterranean! Finding a wetsuit that fit was ridiculous. Apparently I have abnormally sized calves, haha. With all the gear on, it was so heavy, and we had to walk with the gear from the truck to the practice spot in the sea. I was glad when I entered the water and the water took away all the weight. After practicing safety steps, hand signals, and getting used to breathing it was time to dive! Breathing underwater was actually harder to get used to than I imagined. It was fun to use the skills and swim with flippers; scuba diving is definitely something I want to do again! I have an official certificate and everything. J
            For dinner we went to a Japanese Steakhouse to celebrate my birthday. I got tasty teriyaki chicken and pineapple. The cook’s tricks were different than the ones back home, and he even sang Gangnam style, haha! He was very entertaining, and we even got to participate! I got to try tossing the egg on the spatula: if one of us got 10 flips, our dinner was free. Danielle technically got 10, but the egg broke on 8 so it didn’t count. I only got one flip before mine fell off! I also had to catch flying rice bowls in order to ‘earn my rice’ and I got a free birthday tempura ice cream! It was such a great birthday dinner!
Commandaria Cypriot wine, my first drink
            When midnight rolled around, it was my 21st Birthday! Since I’m 7 hours ahead of Cassie, I technically enjoyed 7 hours of being the older twin for the first time in my life! My first drink was Commandaria, a Cyprus specialty and the oldest named wine still produced in the world. Shakespeare apparently liked it and The Queen of England loved it. I didn’t care for it much because it was so sweet, but then again I don’t like alcohol in general. I finished my wine on the beach and it was such a relaxing night. The stars were so bright, and Kyle and I commandeered the peddle boat on the shore and took it for a few laps around the sea.
            On my actual Birthday it rained pretty much all day, and we left Paphos to return to Nicosia. On the way we stopped at Lefkara, a cute village town where they still produce lace and silver goods. When we got back to Nicosia, I studied for my International Marketing class midterm (see I do study here!) and we took a break to walk to Zorbas (the 24 hour bakery) to get a birthday treat. I had a great Birthday weekend full of beaches, sun, scuba diving, and lounging around in a bathrobe! Thanks GLS for planning this trip perfectly around my Birthday!


Potluck Thanksgiving
     When Thanksgiving rolled around, everyone on the program that I talked to felt a little homesick. How can you not on a holiday that is all about family, I ask? I went to class on Thanksgiving for the first time in my life, and I gave my presentation on Cypriot Dancing in European Cultures. The teacher enjoyed it, so I think I did a good job. Now all I have to do is write the corresponding paper for my final for that class due at the end of the semester…..
            For Thanksgiving GLS held a potluck style dinner where they provided Turkey and drinks and each room brought something to contribute. As a room, Anya, Lauren, and I brought mashed potatoes. Overall it ended up being a nice Thanksgiving, but I was still jealous that my family went to Hershey to celebrate back at home.

The Scuba Diving group :)
Anyways, that’s a good enough update for now, and I’m actually leaving in 40 minutes to catch the airport shuttle for my independent travel during our free week! I’m heading to London and Ireland, so stay tuned for posts about my travels!

Till next time!
-Courtney <3

1 comment:

  1. hahaha I sympathize with your regarding your calves :) What a fabulous birthday!!! You'll have to teach us some dance moves in the spring :)