We continue the series of interviews with the people whose life and prospects entwined with Cyprus one day. Some of them are famous, some — just ordinary people like you and me. In fact it doesn’t matter at all. They may have different life experiences and perspectives, nationality and background but together with other islanders they are Cyprus as you see it nowadays.
We hope that their stories will help you to understand this country a little bit more.
Today my guest is a many-sided, a ‘multicultural’ as they call it these days, person and an enthusiastic traveller.
Let her tell you a story of her life.
I was born into a Greek family in Tbilisi. Many people of Greek origin were living in Georgia back then but were forced to leave because of the break-up of the Soviet Union. My parents come from Tsalka — a district of Georgia originally populated by Greek descents of the people who have fled Turkey because of their religion. They are used to live independently and defend their right to national identity and religious freedom. It was not so easy for them to adapt in a new country and environment. I want to believe this problem is solved by now.
At that time Tbilisi was a multicultural city with variety of nationalities living there. Probably that is the reason I find the culture of different countries and nations so interesting.
I can describe my childhood in Georgia as a happy and carefree time. It was the books I’ve read that had the most influence on the way I saw the world when I was young.
The episode with the firing squad in the Gadfly by Ethel Voynich made one of the deepest impressions on me. If you haven’t heard about it you should definitely read the book! My study in Russia also played a significant role in shaping my personality and view of life.
The family and its traditions always was the main value for us. Most families are large where the second cousins are quite close relatives so I wish I could see my loved ones from Russia, Ukraine and Greece more often.
I am an English philology teacher by training. Why English you might ask me. Because I’ve learnt English since I was a kid, my school was one with an emphasis on language. History and some other subjects were taught in English.
I was obsessed with the Queen Elizabeth I rule period with its people and events: authors and playwrights, Sea Dogs and their adventures and a flourishing cultural life of that time.
But I have never worked in education. I came back to Cyprus after my graduation and started a job in the business administration. My knowledge of Russian, English and Greek helped me a lot.
The opportunity to meet different people and to observe visible results of my work is the thing I like the most about my job. Of course there is no job without stress but I’m okay with that. I might say there’s somewhat appealing in it. Today people with experience and knowledge similar to my own are in demand in Cyprus however this sphere is going through some tough times, I think, and we should wait for a number of changes according to the updating of EU law.
I lived in Tbilisi till I turned 15 and then my family moved to Cyprus as soon as we have obtained Greek citizenship. The first thing I was shocked by, in a good way of course, was a sense of safety. I was literally overwhelmed by it in comparison with tough 90es in Tbilisi. Cyprus with its friendly people and understanding of returnees’ struggles seemed a wonderful place to live in. We could start making plans for the future for the first time since we left torn apart by national question Georgia and it was so relieving.
In Cyprus I’m at home. The most of my adult life I’ve spent here. I’m in love with its unique local mix of Eastern-European traditions and how important for Cypriots their family is. And even though they wouldn’t mind to welcome people of other cultures and nationalities into their family.
In my opinion it’s way harder to think about yourself as a Cypriot when you came to Cyprus in your adulthood. Kids for example have no such identity struggle no matter what their real origin or citizenship is. Curious but as for me I’m always unsure how to answer the common question “where are you from?” May be it’s because I’ve moved many times or it’s the contrast between the way everybody has made us feel in Greece and in Cyprus apart from the fact that there are as many countries inside of you as you lived in. So it’s really hard for me to give the answer on that question.
I like to spend my spare time with my friends chatting or going out somewhere, it could be a walk in a park, café meeting or a short trip to the sea.
I would recommend for visiting the mosaics of Paphos, the remains of the beautiful theatre of ancient city-state Kourion, Cape Greco (Capo Greco) headland, Kykkos monastery, Leventis municipal museum of Nicosia and CVAR (Centre of Visual Arts and Research, Severis foundation).
Travelling is my passion. One of the countries on my wish list is Peru. I have always been interested in Pre-Columbian American culture especially one of the Incas with their monumental architectural works. I wish I would have the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu one day, to see Inca roads, Sacsayhuaman citadel and Pisac village.
I really enjoyed my trip to New Zealand, two weeks that just flew by. It’s an amazingly beautiful country and its people are always ready to help you. Every time I was holding a map confused which way should I go there was somebody nearby asking if I need some assistance. I was deeply impressed by the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. When you sail a boat down under its arch, you loose the track of time and feel yourself out of this reality…
Hobbiton (the Hobbit village movie set) was great however everything the-Lord-of-the-Rings related is a bit too expensive if I might say.
Maori Mitai Village is another vivid memory about New Zealand. It was an authentic introduction to the culture and traditions of Maori people. Their songs are just beautiful!
It’s true that there are not so many museums in New Zealand in comparison to Europe for example but the country itself is such a unique place to experience!
I wish your readers to keep the mind open not only for the island but for the whole world. It’s always better to form your own first-hand opinion about places and nations.
Happiness and good luck!