We have landed on this troubled but defiant little island which is my homeland - so small that it would disappear many hundreds of times over in the Australian continent but big enough when I was growing up to fill my world and to be the image of all that I had.
Coming back is always a nervous affair and there is no rationale for it. I have butterflies in my tummy as the plane comes in to land over the sea. I walk into an airport with the welcoming but very bored airport officials before jumping into a car and speeding down the motorway, part fearful of changes that might have happened since the last time I was here, part blasé about how well I know it.The central reservations on the otherwise unremarkable motorway in total bloom of white and pink oleanders, possibly the most effective barriers on the globe and such pretty ones too.
Waking up to the sound of a cock crowing in the distance is so comforting and familiar.The air is cool in the morning and the sun just beginning to work its magic. Not long now before the cicadas will overtake the music score and silence the cocks.There is a good dose of rural in this corner of western luxury villas, welcoming tourists, and the mixture fills me with solace. Over the years I have been coming, the road by the sea is largely untouched and while the buildings have proliferated they are mainly low lying and acceptable. I walk into the bakers - I have not seen them for two years, yet the baker smiles and welcomes me as if I haven't been away for more than a day. Possibly the best bit is swimming in the sea freely. My sister and I swim out for miles, jumping into the waves and under them and floating on our backs, chatting, catching up on the gossip and the politics, enjoying the salt on our faces and the deep underneath with no fear or failure other than sheer physical fatigue.
We have so much to catch up on, to share over a cold bottle of Keo and the ubiquitous kebab. It's hard to sum up how this place sits in my life and Cypriots say " There is nothing like Cyprus." Σαν την Κυπρο εννεσιη. It is a gift to me. I can truly say "There is nothing like Cyprus" and now I can add and "Australia is something else" and life unfolds between the two, because luck and birth have allowed me the luxury of being part of both.