Sunday, September 20, 2009

Leaving Cyprus

The last few days in Cyprus were a whirlwind of emotion and activity. On one hand, we were really excited to be leaving and continuing our journey, but we were also sad about the amazing country and people that we were leaving behind. Things really got crazy about three days before we were leaving. Everyone wanted to say goodbye and see us before we left.

On Friday, Alexia's uncle took us, Alexia's grandmother and cousins out to dinner. We were there from 8 to 12 talking and saying our goodbyes. On Saturday we went to downtown Larnaca where we got a souvenir coffee pot and then headed towards the beach in Protaras for our last swim in the Med. It was really stormy as the weather had changed and there were large waves and strong currents. We played on a floating dock that was being tossed around like a slinky in the waves and went for a short swim close to shore. After this we went out for drinks at a local bar and went home for dinner. It rained hard for about an hour while we were eating and it smelled like we were in a giant greenhouse. Philip and us all played a game of Mao with tequila and then went drunken swimming in the apartment pool. The UN Irishmen and women of Cyprus were having a barbeque and came by to harass us a bit.

The next day we spent the morning packing our backpacks and deciding what we were going to send back to the States and what we were taking with us to Europe. After we were mostly packed, we went to Alexia's god-family's house for lunch. Actually, "feast" would be a more appropriate word. The food there was amazing, and there was so much of it. There was mousaka, chicken with mushrooms in a nice sauce, slow roasted lamb, two types of salads, zucchini with eggs, roasted potatoes, and olives. We were stuffed, to say the least.

We said our goodbyes to the family which was really sad. The great-grandmother of the family, who was somewhere in her 90s (no one knows her actual age because she was adopted) always cries when we leave. It was sad to say goodbye because this was probably the last time we would see her. Everyone else was sad to see us go as well because Alexia only makes it there once every three years. They enjoy our visits greatly. We each got a small goodbye present from everyone. We got key chains, mirrors, souvenirs, and Ellis got a coffee set because Sofie know how much he loved the Greek coffee. Everyone was so thoughtful.

The last visit was that of Alexia's aunt (whom we stayed with) and uncle, as well as Alexia's cousins, Maria and Banayotis. They also gave us presents of necklaces and lots of booze. We stayed there until it was late and time to go. We went back to the apartment, packed the rest of our stuff and then headed to the airport.

Everyone in Alexia's family was very kind and generous. They took us into their homes, they fed us, and they showed kindness and love. It was so nice to feel so appreciated and loved. It was really sad to leave them behind.

After we left, we went back to the apartment, finished packing and hit the road to the airport.

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