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!