Well, as promised in last weeks post, I’ll spill the beans
on the developments in my newest relationship here in Cyprus.
Basically it’s like this,
He patiently waits downstairs for me
while I get ready in the morning.
I don’t get to spend much time with him
because my schedule is getting pretty busy,
but on the mornings where my only task is
to hit the weights, we enjoy a ride to the gym together,
then out to lunch, and back home again.
The time we spend together can be difficult at times.
We don’t always see eye to eye.
He always demands my best, he pushes me to be better,
and challenges me in my fitness.
Amidst all of the fighting, and the push back I dish out,
our time together is always peaceful and refreshing.
It always seems to be just what I needed that day.
He gives me time to sort out my thoughts, to talk to Jesus,
enjoy the sunshine, whatever I need.
Although I have to wake up a little bit earlier in the
day to feel like I have enough time to
fully commit myself, it’s always worth it in the end.
I am so thankful that I have met him and
I hope that our relationship continues to
grow during my time here in Cyprus.
Blue… (except it doesn’t actually belong to me so he might already have been named something else.)
All jokes aside, I really have started to enjoy the mornings I am able to ride my bike into the city and home. Looks like I should be able to consistently get in two rides a week! The ride to the gym is lovely in the crisp morning air. The uphill trek through the village after I’ve just eaten lunch when he noon-hour sun is high in the sky…is a little bit hell-ish at times, but it gets easier every time I do it so I think I’ll survive. I’ve gotten the time down to a solid 35 minutes, not sure if I’ll be able to shave any more off of that considering my body doesn’t actually wake up until I’m about half way there. But the ‘traffic’ in Cyprus (five cars in a row at the busiest time of day) makes riding stress-free, and I’m hoping that this new-years-post-christmas motivation isn’t a temporary thing.
Team Canada has set out a list of fitness requirements for when we get home, and right now I’ve accomplished one out of four. I’ve been doing my best to get my butt back in shape, and so far it’s been paying off. I’ve been able to consistently make it to the gym four mornings a week for some solid workouts. Yes my butt is always sore, my hips are tight, and my triceps are on fire, but I am determined to pull off at least one full tricep push up before the end of the month, and then hopefully make my way up to 30 from there… Yikes. The rest of the requirements are a slow going process, including squats, skipping and planks. Not like the planking the cool kids are doing in the photos, but the ones that actually burn in your abs and make your whole body shake.
Our game on Tuesday was another easy match-up. One more week and then the games start to get tougher. It’s a little bit difficult to get excited when you sweat more in the warm-up than during the actual game itself. Good news is, with the exception of one team, each game gradually gets harder from here, and then we start playoffs, where the top four and the bottom four teams and separated completely and we don’t have to play anymore games where we win 25-5.
Last Tuesday morning I went to my first art class. Lia helped me get in touch with the instructor, and Polivios is in the same one so he met me in the morning and graciously showed me where to go. When we got inside, he pulled out a sketch book and a case with all the pencils I would need, an sharpener and an eraser. The girls and I have concluded that between Lia and Polivios, they can get you whatever you need just based on personal connections alone. Knowing these two people connects you to every single kind of person you might need to get in touch with, and it has been a life saver and a blessing that they are always both so willing to help us out. My first lesson was on reproducing a drawing using only pencils. My teacher, Andri, taught me how to measure the drawing on the page, and make it larger in my own sketch book. Then she showed me how to shade using the different numbered pencils and to blend them together. My first masterpiece, complete!
I was in the studio for about 3 hours and it felt like 20 minutes. Something about drawing, creating, focusing my attention on fine details enabled me to get lost completely and drown everything else out. It was so refreshing to be able to forget about everything and just enjoy myself wholeheartedly for almost an entire morning. Not once did I think about volleyball, not once did I think about how sore my muscles were, not once did I even think about anything except the exact moment I was in. If only I could apply that skill to every moment of my life. At the same time as I was getting lost in the shades on my page, I was also surrounded by other arists that were busy creating their own masterpieces. Some of the things I saw were AMAZING. One day I might gather up the courage and ask permission to take a photo to share with you all. For now, you’ll just have to imagine: (my favourite painting from the morning) a dark, foggy, and shadowy pathway in a park, lined with trees that were literally popping out of the canvas. The pathway lit with glowing yellow lights, a couple arm in arm him with a suit, her in a little black dress. One lone red umbrella top-down on the concrete that drew your eyes so hard I felt like they would be stuck there forever. If I only went to this studio on tuesday morning to take in and enjoy the expressions of the others working in there, I would be completely satisfied. Something about the arts is just so amazing to witness, especially when it is something the person is creating from their own thoughts and creativity. Perhaps it’s because they are literally putting a part of them down on canvas, or paper for everyone else to see. Everyones idea of beauty is different, everyones thoughts on ‘what looks right’ does not always align, but in the end it really doesn’t matter because when you are the creator of your own work, you can make it look just the way you want it to.
Word of my musical abilities has officially been found out, and I now have four music students. One voice, two piano, and one that does both. I needed some books for the students, so I headed to what I’m pretty sure is the only music store in Larnaca. I was hoping with all fingers crossed that they would have a certain book that I think is really good for teaching beginners. I walked in, and guess which book was the only one they had? Yep, the one I wanted. Hey God, that was pretty cool. So I bought all three and I was on my way. I’ve been teaching most lessons on saturdays because that’s the day that works best, and this was week two for most of the kids. Being able to teach these girls has definitely solidified my belief that this is what I want to do when I grow up. Their enthusiasm for music, their excitement and their improvement in as little as a week, has reminded me so much of why I love music the way that I do. I am so excited that I have the opportunity the pass on the gift of music to these young girls that may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. The economy in Cyprus is having it’s difficulties, I could be wrong but I don’t think that every elementary school, junior high or high school offers music classes as part of their regular curriculum. Being a country that is so small, it isn’t easy to find teachers, and I am just so happy to have kids that want to learn and that share my excitement for something that has brought so much joy to my life.
Saturday evening after just before I started my last lesson of the day, I came down the stairs (a little more slowly than I usually would as per instructed by the Loizou family) and was greeted with a birthday cake; candles and all. It’s the little gestures like these that continue to make my life here in Cyprus so amazing. I haven’t felt home sick in WEEKS – no offence to all of you back home. I really do love you, and Canada, but Cyprus is taking my heart and delighting it in ways that are inescapable.
Today marks the official start of birthday week. Ya that’s right, I said week. Usually at home I claim the entire month, but I don’t need the people here thinking I’m some sort of nut job. So here’s to experiencing what it feels like to be 24 (I’m still waiting for Taylor Swift to write a song about it…) and don’t forget, whoevers birthday it is gets to do whatever they want.