Reflections

Hello All! Welcome back! I can’t believe it, but it’s already May! Anyways, as most of you can tell by this week title, I will be talking about my final reflections of Cyprus. With it being my final thoughts, it will also be final post. This post will cover a range of things that I have noticed and reflected on during my time.

As noted during my first few weeks, there were some initial hurdles that I had to overcome. Throughout my whole life in the US, I had the luxury of having a full functioning dryer and fully pressurized toilet. Once I was in Cyprus, I had to get used to new things and or lack of things. Instead of a dryer, my roommates and I have use a drying rack. During are first time using the drying rack, we didn’t truly understand the washers over here (e.g. they were in Greek) and we didn’t know the capacity of the drying rack. With this mind, we unconsciously washed our cloths on the same day which caused our drying rack to break. That’s one story I will never forget! The lack of these products made me realized that not everyone has as developed infrastructure then compared to most modern Western countries.

Here is our collapsing drying rack

Similarity during the first few weeks, I was getting accustomed to the Cypriot culture. From what I knew my preparation class and from my background research, I knew for a fact that Cypriots and Europeans were laid back in comparison to Americans. Given this, I was completely baffled of how laid back they are. For example, this can be seen with students and even professors coming 5-10 mins late to class, normal people being accommodating and kind, and normal people taking their time to socially connected. When reflecting during this, it was one of only few instance in my life where I felt stress free.

Throughout my time, I was amazed of diverse the food culture was in Cyprus. Depending where you are in the US, you can possibly have a diverse food palette (e.g. New York City or San Francisco) or a homogeneous one of typical fast food places, hamburgers, pizzas, and others (e.g. rural PA). Within Cyprus, there are plenty of small business that serves ethnically diverse foods and beverages. Some of these food items can be seen in my older food blog post. Since then, there has been other food and beverage items that I enjoyed. Some of the food dishes that I had were the Sultan dish, shawarma, Katafi with cream, feta cheese wrapped in filo, and Cheburek. For beverages, I had a freddo cappuccino, cafe mocha, Lebanese coffee, Cypriot coffee, and Commandria. If you want to know each one item description, you read it in images down below.

On a side note, since coming back home, I was dying from freddo cappuccino, so I made one. It was pretty good and it taste like the real deal. The only exception was that it had a lot of milk in it.

Here is my attempt of a freddo cappuccino

In conjunction with food, another thing that I noticed was that Cypriots tend to eat in smaller portions. I saw this when I was ordering and eating a small burger for €6. Similarly, in the grocery store the biggest milk container you can get is 1.5 litres. For us Americans, that is only a half of gallon! In a light of this, every week or some I have to get a new container of milk. Food is a necessity where I learned that quantity is not the answer, but rather the quality and the experience that you get from it.

Another thing that I loved was how rich and diverse Cypriot history and religion. When compared to the bigger picture of human life, the US doesn’t as much historical sties and doesn’t have a strong religious institution. In Cyprus, basically every block or so, you will find some type of history. This history can range from modern history like the Green Line to ancient history like the walls of the Old City. Same is true, for religious sites and followers. Everywhere you go, there is some type of religious symbolism and or reference. History is an aspect to reflect on. In the future, I want to explore more and understand more cultures

Overall, my time in Cyprus was an experience that I will never forget! I learned so much ranging from economic standards, cultural standards, and historical standards. If I ever have a chance to go abroad again, I will take it a heart beat! To my future studying/living abroad folks, you might say that you have plenty of time in the world, but if given opportunity you should take it! The world doesn’t come to you; you have to come to it. As one common saying goes “Carpe Diem!” (seize the day). Before I get emotional, I’m just going to end it here.

I will be back Cyprus!

Until next time, enjoy your life and stay safe!

Kyrenia Harbor

Show me more

Show me more, more, show me just a little more (More)

Show me the way I should take to see it all (More)

Flash (Pointe Noire) by Jain

Hello all! Welcome back! As the world is in a virtual lock down and as the weather warms up, I thought it will be fitting to talk about traveling. Traveling can have many aspects with it, but I will be only talking about the different types of transportation and tips while in transit.

Within Cyprus, there is primarily three different transportation options. The first one is walking. Sometimes, I occasionally walk around my apartment like for an hour or so and see some local sites. There are some notable sites around my area. Some of these sites include restaurants, markets, and other related things. However, there is one site that I really enjoyed seeing. It’s not far away from my place, but Metochi Kykkou is a relaxing picturesque garden where it has stunning architecture and exotic animals including peacocks, emu, turkeys, and others. (There are no tigers, sorry to my Tiger King fans). Below are some pictures from it.

Another option is by using the Nicosia bus system (OSEL). If you ever plan on going to UNIC, there are two direct bus routes that goes directly from UNIC to old town. These routes are the 123 and the 259. For a typical bus fare, it cost around €1.50 one way. However, for students, there is a student discount of €0.75. These buses are pretty much what you expect. The only exception is that they don’t have a string to pull on, but instead a button to press on to get out. For some locals, they will yell στάση or stasi.

Besides the local bus system, there is also the Intercity buses. These buses, as the name implies, goes between major Cypriots cities. Depending on how far you go, it can go from €5-10 one way. In some instances, I have uses these buses to go to Ayia Napa, Larnaca, and Limassol. Typically, they are always almost packed, especially during holidays.

If you’re planning to travel to Northern Cyprus, there isn’t a strong reliable transportation network. From what I heard from locals and other Global Semesters students there is a thing called a ‘Dolmush’. A ‘Dolmush’ is a shared taxi service. This service is a combination of both a taxi service and a bus service. In order to get into one, you will have to “hail” one down. If you’re lucky, you might find a ‘Dolmush’ going to your intended location. However, for most ‘Dolmush’, you have to be aware of its signage of where it’s going before hailing it down.

The last transportation option within Cyprus is Bolt. Bolt is very similar to Uber and Lyft back in the States. You can go from one place to another in a reasonable amount of time and money. In some instances, similar to the States, you can have detailed conversation with one of the drivers. For example, a couple were going back home and was just having a normal conversation, but out of the blue, our Bolt driver started to play pop music and was dancing. Yes, dancing. The only main difference is that most Bolt drivers drive Mercedes Benz. I don’t know why they do, but from what I observed Mercedes Benz are fairly common within Europe.

Here is a picture of us inside a Bolt. Left to right: your favorite blogger, Sal, and Mckenzie. Thanks for the picture Sal

Outside of Cyprus, there is only one way of getting out and obviously that’s by plane. Within the European Union and its other related countries, you can get cheap airplane tickets. The primary reason stems from cheap international budget airlines. Some of these airlines include easyJet, Ryanair, Wizzair, and others. Intially, this past week, I was supposed to enjoy my spring break trip in Switzerland. Yet, like everyone else in the world, it was cancelled. The one benefit with intra European flights or any departing European flights is that in an event of a flight cancellation, you’re entitled to a full refund. This is good to know if you’re strapped for cash and if your flight is cancelled. Anyways, this round trip airport ticket was less $100. You can never find these prices within the the US!

While in transit, there will be some type of passport control. As American citizen, I’m privilege with the immense power of my passport. With my passport, I can travel to around 185 counties visa free or visa on arrival. For some non-American, they don’t have the same power. As a result, when I had a layover in London, I was able to freely move around London proper without any passport restrictions!

During my layover in London, I was using the London Underground

Lastly, if you’re planning to travel to a foreign place make sure you have enough money! I know this might be a shocker for most of you, but outside the US, they don’t use the dollar! Also, for some US credit cardholder, some standard credit card companies are not valid in other countries. For example, I have a Discover card and while I was in Cyprus, there were numerous times where my card was denied.

Anyways, you have reached the end of this entry, come back next week for my TANGible adventures!

Money

Money, get away

Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.

Money, it’s a gas

Money- Pink Floyd

Hello All! Welcome back! As most of us take some time to reflect, either because of religious celebrations or being with family/ others, I will be talking about budgeting and other financial logistics with studying abroad.

If you’re planning to go abroad either if it’s two weeks or a whole semester/longer, money is a big expense to consider. While abroad, its tempting to spend more given you’re in a new diverse place, but prolonged spending can be bad. Anyways, I will be giving you some pointers that I learned in Cyprus with regards to budgeting.

To start off, when compared to SU and for most American colleges, Cyprus has a lower standard of living. This can be seen with cheaper accommodations, tuition, and in some cases some food products. With this in mind, this is one positive aspect with going abroad to Cyprus; it’s cheaper then America

If you don’t know, Cyprus uses the Euro. Here was a group effort to cover the bill via MANY Euro coins.

Before coming to Cyprus, I already devised a budget on how much to spend throughout the whole semester (per month and per day.) On average, I set a budget of roughly $21 per day. However, after a month and a half, I was well below the budget I set for myself.

One way that I achieve this was by buying in bulk, limiting my expenses to buying common staples, and making my own meals. For example, at the beginning of every week I would go to the store and get some needed supplies. One thing that I always get was this Cypriot bread. This bread was very affordable and fairly fresh. I used this everyday ranging from making sandwiches, toast, or something entirely random (pizza). Also, some other common foods that I got were milk, eggs, rice, pasta, and others. On most week nights, you would likely see me in my apartment then compare somewhere else.

Another way I cut my expenses was by not going out as much. The one big mistake that I have seen with most students abroad is that they go out way more than compared to the States. It could be a whole set of factors ranging from independence, to the honeymoon status of being abroad, to alcohol. If you plan to go out extensively, try pacing yourself. Most places will still be there; they are not going to disappear. However, once in a blue moon, if I have saved enough, I would go out with some of my friends either to fancy new restaurant I never been too or to some club.

This was taken during Green Monday. Carter and I are having a Beyond Meat Burger at this vegan place called Evergreen. It actually taste like real meal! Before, I forget, happy Earth Day and please keep the environment clean! Thanks for the picture Carter!

Similarly, in a bid to lower my cost, I limited my travels outside of my host country. Before everything closed, I had pre planed one international trip and was in the process of planning another international trip with some SU friends and some friends that I have met over here. In comparison, I knew of others who were traveling every weekend to some place in Europe/Africa/Middle East. There are many pros and cons with international traveling in Europe, but before I delve into it, I will be talking about it next week.

Speaking of friends, one way that I saved money was by sharing with others. For most of the time, it was primarily shared meals, but it can also included transportation and other miscellaneous options. Usually, with shared meals, we would have agreed beforehand who would make said meal that night and rotated every week or so. Although, my time was short, there was some times of shared meals/parties ranging from a pizza night to a fried rice night to an Indian night. You never know who you might meet! It doesn’t hurt to meet with new people!

This was our Indian night. Left to right: Caroline, Mariana, your favorite blogger, Jay (my roommate), and Marianna. Not included in this picture Sal. Thanks for the picture Sal!

Anyways, until next time, please come back to my TANGible adventures!

Come Together

Come together, right now

Over me

Come Together-The Beatles

Hello all! As some of you guys are practicing Easter/ Passover/ or some other religious activity. I think it will be fitting for this week to talk about religion.

In Cyprus, religion is more prominent in society then compare to the States. This can be seen with churches and mosque at every corner and typically secular places being religious (school, workplace, and parks). For most Greek Cypriots, they practice Greek Orthodox, not your common Christianity/ Catholicism/ or other Christian denomination. As a result, given some minor discrepancies with regards to calendar systems and other biblical events, they don’t celebrate Easter at the same time as most Christian denomination. In addition, Easter is not a set date every year, it varies. For this year, Greek Orthodox Christian celebrate Easter on April 19th

Before Easter Sunday, there is a weeks worth of holy gathering. This week goes as follow:

Lazarus Saturday:

As the name implies, is the day when Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, was brought back from the dead

Palm Sunday:

This a significant day when Jesus comes back into Jerusalem and the inhabitants declared him their king. This can be seen with religious figures holding olive branches to signified the welcoming of Jesus

Here is a picture of me at Ayia Napa Cathedral in Limmasol

Holy Monday:

Commemorates Joseph the Patriarch, the son of Jacob, and the cursing of a fig tree

Holy Tuesday:

Commemorates the Parable of the Ten Virgins

Holy Wednesday:

Commemorates the Bargain of Judas and the Parable of the Two Debtors. The primary focus of Holy Wednesday are of confession and repentance

Here is a picture of Metochi Kykkou and the church in Nicosia

Holy Thursday:

Commemorates with the washing of feet’s and this was the day when the last supper occurred. Typically, on this day you will see people cleaning their homes and having stavrokouloura (cross-shaped buns) and dye their eggs red.

Good Friday or Great Friday:

For Orthodox Christians, this day represents Jesus death. In Cypriots churches, you will most likely see floral arrangement around the body of Christ called Epitafios

Here is a picture of Bellapais Abbey in Kyrenia

Holy Saturday:

This day signifies the continued morning of Jesus. Most service is quiet, up until midnight were becomes loud with music and candlelight. In most Cypriots churches, you will see the burning of Judas in a huge bonfire. Judas was one of Jesus disciple who betrayed Jesus. On this day is the official end of Sarakosti lent period. This period last 40 days that goes from Green Monday til Holy Saturday. This period signifies the fasting of red meat and their products, and fish/seafoods. The purpose is to cleanse the soul. Christos Anesti is phrase that is commonly spoken which means Christ’s Risen in Greek.

Here is a picture of the interior of the Holy Cross Church in Nicosia

Pascha or Easter:

Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. On this day, most Cypriots, have a luscious feast. Some of the major traditional dishes include red eggs, avkotes, fiaoutes, paskies, tiropites, and koulouria. This is one most celebrated holiday throughout the whole year!

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the island is ethically divide, but it’s also religiously divide. In the southern portion of the island, almost 90% of the population practice Christian orthodox. In the northern portion of the island, almost 99% of the population practice Sunni Islam.

In the northern side, most Turkish Cypriots practice Sunni Islam. Although, they don’t celebrate Easter, they have do similarly big holiday. This holiday is called Ramadan.

Here is a picture of a elaborate mosque in Northern Cyprus

Ramadan varies every year, as similar to Easter. It’s primary determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. Ramadan last roughly a month. For this year, Ramadan is happening on April 23rd.

Participants of Ramadan primarily fast for roughly a month everyday starting from sunrise to sunset. In addition, most donate, pray, read the Quran, and abstain from bad deeds. The meal before sunrise is called suhur, well the meal after sunset is called iftar. Iftar is usually celebrate in a banquet setting.

Here is a picture of Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque in Famugusta

The end of Ramadan is signified by Eid al Fitr. At the end of Ramadan, a three day holiday, Şeker Bayram, is followed

Common greetings during Ramadan include Ramadan mubarak and Ramadan kareem.

Anyways, Kalo Pascha (Happy Easter), Ramadan mubarak (blessed Ramadan), or for my other folks have a great week!

Shaky Ground

When the sun is in my eyes

Will we still be dancing

On shaky ground

Shaky Ground- Freedom Fry

Hello all! Welcome back again! As the world mostly enjoy a normal week. These past few weeks have been mostly patriotic for most Cypriots. For all of my political science and history majors or anyone in between, this is your blog post! This week, I will be discussing the contemporary complex history of Cyprus.

Within these past two weeks, predominantly Greek Cypriots have been extremely patriotic. The reason stems from two federal holidays.

The first federal holiday occurred on March 25th. On March 25th, most Greek Cypriots celebrate Greek National Day.

As the name implies, this holiday celebrates the day when Greece starts its struggle for independence from the Ottomans in 1821. Usually, you will see school children and armed personal taking part in public parades

A typical Greek Independence Day parade

The other holiday that occurs during this time is Cyprus National Day also known as EOKA Day (named for the independence fighters).

Cyprus National Day occurs every April 1st. No, it’s not a April fool’s joke. This day is suppose to signified the start of Greek Cypriot insurgence against British rule in 1955. However, this insurgence was one sided on the basis that it wanted enosis with Greece. Enosis means union.

Throughout the Republic of Cyprus, you will see a lot of Greek and Cypriots flags

Within the island there is a sizable minority that was worried about a Greek Cypriot government. This group which has been relatively absent for most of the time are the Turkish Cypriots.

After a long struggle, Cypriots were granted independence in 1960 with a joint Greek/Turkish government. In addition, under the terms of independence, Cyprus was granted guarantor powers by the UK, Greece, and Turkey.

For about the same amount of time, both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots have inhabited Cyprus. This diversity stems back from Cyprus complex history where for most of its time, it has been a colony of someone. This ranges from the British, the Greeks, the Ottomans, the Venetians, the Templars, The Romans, the Byzantine, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persian, and the Franks. I bet you can repeat that in one setting!

Anyways, with this Greek/ Turkish split, there is significant tension between them. This tension reach a climatic point when the democratic elected Cypriot government was overthrow in 1974 and a subsequent military government was installed which called for enosis with Greece. Freaked out, Turkey with Turkish Cypriots invaded Cyprus from the northern end. After a few months, a stalemate occurred and a UN resolution passed. In this UN resolution, Cyprus was divided along a green line. The northern portion will be under the control of the Turkish Cypriots, well the southern portion will be under the control of the Greek Cypriots. In the end, since 1974, Cyprus has been divided.

In recent years, there has been some improvements with the opening of borders crossing, more political dialogue, and more ethnic dialogue.

Yet, there are some improvements that can be made. Although not prominent, ethnic dissent is still visible with either one or the other blaming them for the whole division. Another one, is the lack of bridging the linguistic gap. When I was in the northern side, there was only Turkish and English. Likewise, in the southern side there was only Greek and English. Also, with recent events (e.g. COVID-19, The US Syria strike, Turkey’s “coup”, and recent breakdown in Cyprus talks) hasn’t help the situation

As a political science major, it’s very important to hear all views, even though it might not be the same view that you support. In a polarized world, we shouldn’t build division with one another, but we should built caring connections with one another.

Anyhow, I appreciate you guys for reading this! Until next time!

Seasons

My my

I think it’s kinda strange

How the people always change

Like the seasons change

Why? Why?

I know I can’t complain

’cause I think I feel the same

When the seasons change

The Seasons- Freedom Fry

Hello all! Welcome back to my blog! As most of you guys are stuck in your homes looking out into the quiet unknown, I will be talking about the weather.

To start off, Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate where they have long summers from mid-May to mid-October and have mild winter from December to February. In between, summer and winter, there are small gaps for both spring and fall. For some this might seem like vague gibberish about the weather with little to no context, but just think of this, California has the same weather climate as Cyprus. With this in mind, this was actually one of the reason why I choose Cyprus.

During the earlier months, I actually saw some snow in Cyprus and I knew some people that actually ski on some local Cypriot slopes. It was an odd experience to wear winter clothing, play with the snow, and to see off in the distance the radiant Mediterranean sun reflecting off the Mediterranean Sea. For most locals during this time, they either stay at home or go to a local coffee shop to discuss daily events. I was surprise to hear that most locals including our program director thought 50 ° F was cold for January.

Here is a picture of me at the Troodos Mountains

Besides winter, spring for me pretty mild with minor isolated showers. During the sunny days, me and couple of my friends went to Ayia Napa. Ayia Napa is a local beach that has some of the best views of Cyprus. I’m not talking about “ok” views, I’m talking spectacular views of pristine blue water and magnificent rock formation. While on the beach, the water wasn’t that terrible in both temperature and in color. Apart from going to the beach, most locals attend cultural gatherings including but not limited to Lent related gatherings and Easter related gatherings.

During the summer time, I heard that it gets really warm! Some individuals might go to the beach, while others might sun bathe. For most, during this time it’s recommend not to stand outside given that some people had experienced heat exhaustion and or something related. As a result, the Cypriot government made a decision long ago to move their Independence day from August 16th to a more pleasant October 1st.

During my time, a normal spring day was around 20° C, while during the beginning of the year, it was around 0-5° C. For Americans, it roughly converts to 68° F and 32-41° F, respectively.

If you’re considering going to Cyprus during the spring time, make sure to bring at least one or two heavy jackets because it will be “colder” then compare to later on in the year. Yet, make sure to bring a lot normal everyday clothing because most of the times it is just t-shirt weather. In addition, plan to wear mostly jeans then compare to shorts. The reason stems primarily on the fact that most Cypriots do not wear shorts. It’s only when they are going to the beach that you will see people wear shorts.

Until next time! Come back to my TANGible adventures!

Current events

Oh, it’s apocalyptic

Apocalyptic– *repeat repeat

Hello all, I’m finally back! This past week has been an eventful one in world history and for myself

As the world is slowly going to a crawl, there was no way to to avoid this topic without being personally affected by it. This week, I will be talking about the current events of COVID-19 in Cyprus. Currently, there are some countries that are suffering right now because of the spread of COVID-19.

This was not the case for Cyprus. For the longest time, Cyprus didn’t have any cases. However, two weeks ago, Cyprus had their first case. After this initial case, the current number, as of making this entry, is around 60.

For some novice individuals, you might say that 60 isn’t that bad. Yet, after talking with locals, there is alot of fear going around. This fear steams for the fact that Cyprus is a small isolated island with at most a sub par healthcare system. In a event, of a localized epidemic, there is no way that Cyprus can handle it. Hence, that’s the reason you might hear of a recent hashtag going around called #flattenthecurve. The curve in this case, is the measurement of confirm cases and recovered cases.

As a means of flattening the curve, the Cypriot government took immediate action. You may be asking what immediate action? The government implemented draconian measures. The first measures was to reduce public gathering by up to 75 people. This measure was passed two weeks ago and as a result, huge public gathering were either close or some business were trying to find loopholes. One loophole was to make said public gathering not indoors, but outdoor. Therefore, there were a lot of coffee shops that were open with people hanging outside. Not long after this measure, the president of Cyprus made a televised decreed. This decreed called for the temporary ban of all foreign nationals to Cyprus for up to 15 days. The only exceptions for people to come back were that they were Cypriot nationals, healthcare workers, current students, and others. Yet, they must have a medical certificate confirming that they don’t have COVID-19. Additionally, as of writing this, the Cypriot effectively ban all flights from March 21st for up to 2 weeks

Here is a picture of Ledra Street as of March 12th. One of the most busiest streets in Nicosia

During this unprecedented time, my home university, UNIC, close down indefinitely. With this closure, they made the slow transition to online classes. As of March 18, I have officially started my first online classes

In addition to this decreed, the Parliament of Cyprus passed additional measures. These new measures, as of March 17th, effectively force the closure of all shops and business for up til April 7th. The only exceptions were they were either a bakery or a supermarket.

Besides the events in the Republic of Cyprus, in Northern Cyprus they took unprecedented action to stem COVID-19. They force the closure of schools for now, local business, ban flights, and both the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus have closed their borders with one another. Initially, with this closure, there was some backlash, yet as the severity of the virus became more wide known, this movement became quiet.

Here is a picture of the border between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus

Couple with events outside of Cyprus, made study abroad students had to make a difficult decision to either stay or go back home. I was one of those to make that faithful decision.

Here is a grouping of study abroad students that I know discussing our immediate plans.

In transit, I saw many people wearing masks and even some of them wore full hazmat suits. Once in the States, I was surprised of how little officials here in the US care about the situation. They was no such thing as a COVID-19 test when I left the plane, but I was required to self-quarantine for the next 14 days. Also, they’re some business throughout California are still open.

Here is a couple of us leaving on the same flight. Left to right: your favorite blogger, Mckenzie, and Selma
Here is a picture of passenger going from London to San Francisco. After the recent ban on the United Kingdom and Ireland, there was alot of confusion. On this flight, only American nationals were allow to enter. As a result, most of the people you see here are American passport holders. I remember taking this image and I recall saying that this is similar to Noah’s Ark.
Here is a picture after departing from the plane. Health officials ask us some questions and afterwards we left for are final destination.

Anyways, this entry was not suppose to be fear mongering or an opinion piece, but rather what I have observe over the past few weeks. The observations came from my own perception, to reading the local news, to hearing from my local Cypriot friends. Til next time.

Streets and Stories

I’ll give you streets and stories

I’ll give you fated glory

I’ll give you movie memories

Streets and Stories- Part-time friends

Hello again! For some, in my grouping of study abroad students, this past week has been a hard one. The reason stems not from mid-terms coming up or anything internal, but something external. As many of you guys know, COVID-19 is spreading around the world and causing confusion. As a result, some American universities are taking preventive measures by pulling away their student from international universities. With this sudden departure of people that I know, I think it will be best to talk about them and the other people that I have met so far during my time here in Cyprus.

To start off, my roommates are named Jay and Travis. Jay is not your typical American student because he isn’t American. He is an Indian student who is studying with an American visa at Chatham University. With this unique circumstances, I have ask him many things related to his culture, the politics of his country and other surrounding countries, and immigration. In addition, he is VERY passionate about football (soccer) and he use to play it before coming to the States. In addition, he is a very down to earth person when talking about anything serious. Travis is a quiet and reserve person who is a criminal law major and he is from North Carolina A&T State University. Besides academics, he is VERY passionate about basketball, especially for his team the Lakers.

Some other friends that I have meet, were primarily through the Global Semester program (GLS). One friend that I usually hangout with is Carter. Carter is from the University of Arkansas and he is majoring both computer science and music. What a weird combination? Anyways, he is a very inquisitive person who always ask questions and it open to anything. Also, as mentioned some previous entry, he is an amazing guitar/ cello player. Another friend that I often meet and hangout with is Gabby. Gabby is also from the University of Arkansas and she is a sociable person.

A portion of the Global Semester Program
Carter and I at Paphos Gate
From Left to Right: Gabby, Ariana, and yours truly

There are other people that I usually hangout with on my “Thursday Adventures”. We unofficially chose this name and each other because we didn’t have any classes on Thursday. In this hangout group, we usually go somewhere random in Cyprus. In this group, there is Mariana, Mason, and Selma. Mariana is a very caring and thoughtful person from Clemson University. She likes to cook elaborate meals and has a radiant smile! Mason is very carefree person from Alaska, but he is from Boise State. Yes, Idaho. He loves walking A LOT and loves being one with nature. There is a part of me that really wants to be like him and explore the world. Selma is very kind and sweet person from Illinois State. Most people in this program are usually around the same age, but Selma is a notable exception. She is 18 years old and she is from Illinois State. She is a very positive person who is not afraid to do anything. Also, she really likes dessert, especially lava cakes.

From Left to Right: Mariana, Graham, Mason, Ariana, and again yours truly

Besides, the friends that I have met over here, I have also my SU friends too. These friends are Jack, Ariana, and Caroline. I didn’t know these guys beforehand, but after spending time with them, I have gain better understanding of them. Jack and Ariana are really close friends who do some really funny things. Caroline is a very social person who somehow finds a way to carry a conversation with someone.

A previous image of Jack and I

With all of these friends, I occasionally hangout with all of them in the form of playing board games, talking about random topics, and or cooking.

Apart from the people that I know in my program, I have made some connections with both international and local students. On the international side, with the help of my roommate, I have met some friends from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Hong Kong. My Congolese friend, Steven, is a pre-med major and he creates his own rap music. My Hong Kong friend, Thomas, is computer science major and he loves to play video. On some occasions, we watch some football game, cook for one another, and party sometimes.

Steven and my roommate Jay

On the local side, I have made two friends. Andrew, my Cypriot friend, is currently a student at UNIC studying international studies. Before and after classes, we will have talks about current political topics. As a political novice in Cypriot affairs, I ask him a lot of questions with regards to the current Cypriot situation. Likewise, he was asking some question about America and all of typical stereotypes that come with them. After some talks, I can confidently say that I know some politics of Cyprus. In addition, I learned some Cypriot culture from him. For example, I learn that he had to go into the army because in Cyprus there is a mandatory draft. My other friend, Melody, is also a student at UNIC studying international studies. She is not Cypriot, but instead she is Bulgarian. Based on my conversation that I have with her, she has a colorful life with many complicated relationships.

Anyways, come back next week for my TANGible adventures!

A Real Good Time

When I’m all alone but I’m in my prime

Don’t want the throne when I’m doing just fine

Just as long as I’m having a real good time

Good Time Girl- Sofi Tukker

Hello all! Welcome back to my blog! This week, I will be talking about Carnival and the associating holidays that comes with it. These past couple of weeks have been riddle with holidays and traditions. Today, I will be giving you a rundown of them.

To start off, Carnival is a holiday that is celebrated everywhere ranging from Latin America to New Orleans to Europe to others. Carnival and other accompanying holidays do not have a set date every year, but jumps around according to the lunar calendar. However, what is constant, is that Carnival always occurs on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

In Cyprus, they’re many Carnival events throughout the island. Yet, there is one Carnival parade in Cyprus that basically everyone, including myself, goes to. The Limassol Carnival is the most popular Carnival event in Cyprus. This specific Carnival festival has been celebrated consistently for centuries. This festival is a 10 day colorful event with people feasting, dressing up, dancing, and having a good time. On the final day, it has more than 150 floats and up to 50,000 people attend. These floats and the people that accompany with them have specific themes. Based on my time in Limassol, these themes can ranged from anime series, to the renaissance, to Latin dancers, and to political satire. In addition, there is so much confetti and loud music! Long story short, you never know what to expect at a Carnival event. Down below are some pictures from the Limassol Carnival.

In addition, this specific Carnival festival is one of only a few festivals where both adults and children play an active part in festivities.

Besides Carnival, there are other accompanying holidays that come before or after Carnival. Before Carnival, there are three weeks of celebration. The first one is Prophoni (proannouncement week), then there is Kreatini (meatfare week), and then there is Tyrofagou (Chessefare week).

During Kreatini week, Tsiknopempti (Tsik-no-pem-ptee), also known as “Stinky Thursday” or “Fat Thursday”, occurs where participants stuff as much meat as possible before the fasting period of Lent. The typical meat that is eaten is predominately soulvaki. On this specific day, restaurants are overcrowded and you might occasionally see a barbecue grill in the middle of street with someone offering you an zivania drink. Apparently, there are so many people barbecuing on Tsiknopempti that if you were to see Cyprus from space, all you will see a very smokey Cyprus. Down below are some pictures from UNIC’s Tsiknopempti event.

Me and some other GLS (Global Semester) students at Tsiknopempti

Beyond eating, the reason for it to be held on Thursday, stems from Greek Orthodox placing an emphasize on fasting on Wednesday and Friday. Tskinopempti is held 11 days before Green Monday.

You maybe asking yourself, what is Green Monday?

That is a great question to ask! Green Monday, also known as Pure Monday; Ash Monday; or Monday of Lent, is a public Cypriot holiday to celebrate with outdoors excursions and eating shellfish/ other fasting foods (vegetables, fruits, and lagana bread). The consumption of meats, eggs, and other dairy products are strictly forbidden. It is celebrated after Carnival. Unofficially, Green Monday is supposed to symbolize the beginning of the spring season.

Lagana Bread

Until next time! Come back for more tangible adventures!

Ya like jazz?

Hello again! Based on this title, you may or may not know the reference. Anyways, this week, I will be talking about social events in or around campus. For an average college student like myself, you maybe asking what can I do in Nicosia. Depending on your personality and mindset, it depends. If you are an active person, then there is actually a lot of things to do in Nicosia. However, if you’re not, then there is still a possibly for you to be that person!

Based on my time here, most of the events that I went were out of the blue and not plan. Each week comes with uncertainty, but at the same time excitement. For example, this past week for me was pack with many events. These events will be shown below.

First off, let me describe my program. My program, also known as Global Semester (GLS), is composed of roughly 70 or so American students who are studying abroad in Cyprus. In addition, there is another program, called Erasmus, which is basically the same thing as GLS , but they are mostly European students. With these two programs, I have made many connections and attended many events. One of these was a sponsored social night between Erasmus and GLS students. This social night was basically mixer for students to know each other. Another were Erasmus karaoke nights and Erasmus Wednesday. For karaoke nights, I don’t personally sing, but I find it amusing to see people singing on the top on their lungs and or being mildly tipsy. For Wednesday, it’s mostly for those who are interested in going to a dance club.

Besides the two programs, they’re some additional things that I do to keep myself active.

Whenever, I have a gap in my schedule, which is usually Tuesday and Thursday, I usually go by bus to see the old town. In old town, there are many clothing shops, restaurants, nic nak shops, and many more. The one thing that I like about old town is that it still retains the old town atmosphere (antiquated buildings, cobblestone streets, and walls), while at the same time being the main commerce hub of Nicosia/ Cyprus.

Some archways that I saw in Nicosia

Some other things that I do with my close friends will be describe down below

One event that I’m particularly fond of and I really enjoy is jazz night. Jazz night usually happens every Wednesday at this little neat jazz club. At this jazz club, mostly college students and other emerging instrumentalist play sessions of live smooth jazz. There have been times where I have been completely loss in the music. Also, before I forget, one my friends from here, named Carter, plays the cello. I wished I can be talented! Here are some pictures from Jazz night!

Sax player
The layout of the jazz club

Another event that I went to was a futbol game. No, not American football, but a regular futbol game. The one where you kick a ball with your foot. Also, known as soccer for Americans. Anyhow, I went with my roommate, Jay, and his friends. I didn’t how futbol works, but I definitely asked alot of questions during the match. The match was between Chelsea vs. Manchester United. During the game, I watched with amazement with the actual game and the committed fans in the bar either yelling or booing. In the States, I have never seen anything like this when it came to futbol. In the end, there was a lot of disappointing fans, including my Chelsea roommate.

Watching a futbol game at a bar

Last thing that I attended were a series of school talk around the issues of LGBTQI rights in Cyprus and the whole refugee situation. I found these two talks very enlightening and informative. The question section that accompanied it was also interesting to hear different views.

One of the seminar that I went

Anyhow, this is the end of this blog post. Come back next week!