Travel, Documentary, Food

Cyprus Stowaway, Part I

Nicosia, Cyprus * September 2013 * Sony Nex-7 * Lightroom 5

map from Free World Maps

My family, as far back as I can trace, are from Cyprus. A tiny island in the Mediterranean located at the crossroads of Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. Cyprus has survived hundreds of years of colonialism, occupation, and war. The country is divided with Turkey occupying the northern part of the island.

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In September 2013, I visited Cyprus for the first time in ten years. As a child, I spent many summers in Cyprus visiting my family. Now I find myself seeking to understand how this place has shaped me. It has done so in ways I am consciously aware of and in many ways I don't quite know or understand; my roots are deep, to learn about them requires some digging.

So much of me is me because of Cyprus. And yet my world is so very different from that of my Cyprus family. Born and raised in the US, I grew up in American culture but still deeply connected to my Greek-Cypriot ancestry through food, language, family traditions, and the stories shared with me by my parents. While my parents "adapted" to American culture, they are Cypriot at heart; in unnameable and profound ways, this shaped our family.

Cyprus is a part of me. Undeniably. I am convinced my blood is part honey, part olive oil, part rose water.

In September, Cyprus came alive in me, an ancestry stirred. These photos chronicle the first days in Nicosia.

1: First Morning

Breakfast of tiropita (cheese pie) and eliopita (olive pie), jasmine hunting with Aleko and Zoe, lime trees, floral canopy, the old outdoor fourno (oven). Digging up memories at my late grandparents' house.

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2: City center, Nicosia

Lunch of meze, old typography, new construction, a city divided.

My mother with her secondary school in the background.

My mother with her secondary school in the background.

3: Flora and Kitty