Thursday, 17 February 2011

Cyprus, February 2011

My last hours in Cyprus – I am at Larnaca Airport, waiting for the airline check-in desk to open. I am sitting in the waiting area, looking outside the big windows. It is sunny – beautiful weather. I look up and face the sun – as I return to my screen, I cannot see clearly: small flashes of light make it difficult for me to distinguish the letters, to distinguish imagination from reality. I might well be the only person actually using a laptop in the whole airport floor. People here seem more interested in talking to each other, drinking coffee, or grabbing a bite. I guess what lies behind this is the Greek mentality of being (or at least seeming to be) always cool, not taking things seriously, and always preferring leisure and “doing nothing” to actually doing something or investing time and energy in something useful. Maybe I am a bit too harsh in my judgement of my fellow nationals. But then again, I do not feel bound to any particular nation.  I am Greek, I am proud of who I am, of my culture, of my heritage, of my temperament. But, I am not a slave to it. I am not imprisoned by my sentiments towards my own country. At least, that is what I think is going on inside me. I am a blend of many different identities, different levels, different colourings of personality.

If this were Gatwick or Heathrow Airport, things would have been much more lively. I am aware of making the wrong comparison here – Cyprus is no Britain. Different islands, different countries, different nations, different mentalities.

I chose to sit at this specific place – directly opposite the sun – so I can enjoy the blue sky, the white clouds, the golden sun. It is setting now… quickly disappearing from the Cypriot sky. I love watching the sunset. I adore the colours in the sky. I smile when I feel the uplifting breeze on my face – the sun is no longer there to warm us, and this sweet breeze is its way of saying good-bye.

I smile – I remember beautiful sunsets I have seen in England; some of them from the window in my room, some while walking towards the house after having a nice stroll in the park. I feel blessed, in so many different ways, and for so many different reasons. I feel blessed to have been born in Greece, to have been born by the wonderful people who were my parents, to have been raised in a specific way. I feel blessed to be able to enjoy moments of pure simplicity, to be able to smile when thinking about my life so far and dreaming about my life from this moment on. I feel blessed to be able to look at the sunset and feel my heart skipping a bit.

I have been on three trips abroad during the last few months – since May 2010, to be precise.  I have been to Spain, Belgium and Cyprus – Madrid, Brussels and Nicosia. Although I first came to Cyprus years ago on a school trip, this time it felt different. I was on my own, my trip had a specific purpose, and I arranged my time as I wished. I had a beautiful walk around the city, as I did in my two previous trips to the other two cities. This is my way of discovering a small part of the city, of making it my own, for a very brief period of time indeed, of creating a small piece of my identity that will remain in my heart and mind forever. I like discovering and creating things on my own.

Planes come and go… people come and go… from and to airports, countries, cities, places. People come and go, in and out of our lives - in and out of my life. I sometimes have the feeling that I cannot remember all the people that passed through my life – probably the ones that did not get to stay that long, but, all the more, I would like to be able to remember each and every one of them. I am sure I am missing some of them, and do not know if and when I will be able to remember them eventually. Well, maybe it does not matter after all…

I am looking forward to getting on the plane that will take me back to London. I am looking forward to running towards someone special, when the sliding doors open and the crowd that is waiting for loved ones to arrive is right there in front me… Searching for a face in the crowd, a face that shines, a face that makes me smile instinctively.

I am getting emotional now… I feel something inside me… I feel tears trying to find their way to my eyes, wanting to end up running on my cheeks, without me being able to do anything to stop them.  But no – I act on impulse, and “habit”, and smile.

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