Monday, December 17, 2012

"Well I'm Going Home, Back to the Place Where I Belong"

Look at all those pins!
Alrighty, so my semester abroad is coming to an end seeing as I leave tomorrow for Larnaca’s Airport at 6:45am for my 10am flight. Since I'm heading home, the lyrics for today's post are from "Home" by Daughtry.  I can’t believe this semester is already over; it feels like I just started this blog and adventure yesterday! Since leaving the United States on September 13th, I have traveled to 15 countries including: Cyprus, Greece, Italy, The Vatican, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands with Global Learning Semesters, and Egypt, London, and Ireland independently. It has been a crazy semester of planning, trying different foods, meeting new people, traveling to so many countries, and having cool adventures. Looking at a map, it is bewildering to see how many places I managed to travel to over the course of my 3 months abroad.
            I have a few more Cyprus updates before I depart, so now it’s time for the updates!
Kyrenia Harbor
Kyrenia Mountains
 As a group we traveled to Northern Cyprus to visit Kyrenia, and I loved driving through the beautiful mountains. The weirdest part of the mountain range in the North is the section with the record breaking Turkish Flag painted on the mountain, which I have mentioned in previous posts. It’s a symbol 

to display Turkish pride, ownership, and to remind the Greeks who can see the flag from the South. I saw this flag everyday, and it’s a constant reminder of the Turkish Invasion of 1974 that divided the Island. Kyrenia is an adorable harbor town, and we visited St. Hilarion’s Castle, which was the best castle that I’ve been to in Cyprus in my opinion; it was pretty large and fun to explore.
            The other day I went for a run because it was 65 degrees and I needed a break from studying. I thought it was great weather to wear shorts and a t-shirt, but I got some funny looks because all the Cypriots were wearing scarves and coats. Their tolerance for cold is low since their summers are so warm I suppose, but I thought it was perfect weather. Haha. I guess I’ll have to get used to the cold again really soon. Traveling to Ireland and London was a helpful reminder since I had to wear layers there due to the cold weather. But actually, Cyprus has gotten pretty chilly in the early morning hours and at night, so it’s not always summertime here like most people think.
Group in the Troodos Mountains
Another trip we took was to the Troodos Mountains, which are so different to hike than the Appalachians back at home just based on the surroundings. I liked how different it was for a change, but I’m also looking forward to a good hike back home. Afterwards we visited the village Kakopetria, which is exactly the type of place you think of when you imagine an old village. 
Me and Anya on GLS Graduation Day :)
            After classes on Friday, December 14th, there was a little Global Learning Semesters Graduation Ceremony where we got certificates and watched a video made by my roommate Lauren. We also went to dinner at the same place where we went during my first night in Cyprus. It was nice to look back at that first dinner and think how none of us knew each other back then, and to see how much we have come together as a group since that first night.
The Kiddos playin' B-Ball
Volunteering at PeacePlayers
            On Saturday I volunteered with PeacePlayers and got to keep score for 

the Junior Boys tournament. It was really exciting to observe the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot children playing basketball together. As I mentioned in a previous post, PeacePlayers "uses the game of basketball to allow 11-15 year-old Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot boys and girls to play together, learn together and build positive relationships that overcome generations of mistrust and formidable physical barriers to interaction." Volunteering with this organization was a really good way to end my time in Cyprus because seeing the children playing together makes you hope that The Cyprus Problem will one day find a solution that brings the island back together as one whole again.
Kristi and Me at the APOEL Football Game
 Later that day, we went to an APOEL Football game (aka Soccer). So much sport attending in one day, haha so unlike me! My friend Kristi likes sports a lot and wanted to go to a game, and I thought it would be fun to go too. The most interesting thing about the game was people watching the crowd. They chanted and sang in Greek during the entire game, and although I have no idea what they were saying, it was pretty cool to observe. The majority of the crowd was men and I swear we were the only ones in the stadium without cigarettes in our hands. I got tired of the smoke pretty quickly and they also didn’t have good food to eat either! What kind of sporting event doesn’t have good food?! Our team APOEL won the game 1-0, and I thought the game itself wasn’t that exciting considering they made some pretty obvious errors like missing the goal completely several times. I’m really glad we went though because Football is a large part of Cypriot culture.
            Yesterday we went to Meze one last time with a group of 17 to say goodbye to my roommate, Anya. (See my post entitled "All it Takes is a Little Faith, and a lot of Heart" from September 17th to read about Meze). Both Anya and Lauren have left now, so it’s just me and I have the whole empty apartment to myself. It’s a little weird because it really means that it’s time for me to leave soon too.

Things I’m looking forward to back home:
1.    Seeing my family and friends
2.    Driving my car and being able to go wherever I want, whenever I want.
3.    Playing my Ukulele!
4.    Going back to work at ArtsQuest
5.    Starting another semester at Muhlenberg
6.    Rooming with Allie Wertheim again!
7.    Eating good ol’ American Food!!
8.   Hearing people speaking English
9.    Being able to flush toilet paper again
10. Being able to read all of the signs and menus
11. Not having to pay $5.30 for ONE load of laundry, and that’s was just washing.
12. Being able to use a dryer rather than air drying my clothes!
13. Using my cell phone that doesn’t require topping up
14. The fact that Non-smoking rules are strictly followed

Things I will miss after leaving Cyprus:
1.    Being an hour’s distance away from the mountains or the beach in any direction.
2.    Wearing shorts and t-shirts in December. (It actually did get chilly here towards the end though!)
3.    Grilled Halloumi cheese….yum
4.    Random trips to Zorba’s 24 hour Bakery
5.    Papaphilipou Ice Cream
6.    All of the people I have met here
7.    The beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea
8.   Being able to travel around Europe rather easily

 So, that's about it for the updates before I depart! It's already 1am here, and I have a few more goodbyes to say, so I'll wrap it up here. There will be one more  post when I  return home to complete my study abroad blog, so stay tuned for my final thoughts! 

Goodbye, Cyprus! It's been an adventure. :)

-Courtney <3

1 comment:

  1. We are looking forward to the same exact things haha sounds like it was a lovely last few days! Glad you are home safely and can't wait to see you!