Years ago, when we were selling our property halfway up a mountain called Mt French, in south-east Queensland, my husband had a dream of a place he would move to. He could see a lake or a sea between two mountains. Over the years it has haunted him, and we have looked around all the various places we’ve visited and moved to, but never seen anything faintly remembering this dream.
And then yesterday I was telling a friend how we had driven from Buyukkonuk, on the Karpaz Peninsula, to Kyrenia the very first time and seen a stunning view of the blue, shimmering Mediterranean as we crested a hill between two mountains and saw the sea stretching out before us on a cloudless day with bright, blue sunshine.
As I was telling my friend of this wonderful view, Bryan suddenly realised that this was the view he’d seen in his dream over a decade ago. I guess we were both so tired and jet-lagged, he hadn’t made the conscious connection until now.
It is, of course, a real relief to finally have the mystery dream resolved, perhaps further confirmation that we made the right decision to move to this lovely island. I know I still get shivers down my spine at the realisation that the stylised “A” I’ve been drawing all my life relates to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Cyprus.
Yes, I’m in heaven because today I tracked down a shop called Deniz Plaza in central Kyrenia, which has three floors and is filled with stationery and art material. Can’t believe it’s all in one place and it’s a veritable treasure trove!
All my life I have loved pens, pencils, notebooks – writing materials of all sorts. I accumulate these in great quantities and gloat over them, savouring the feel of paper and admiring the look of pens and pencils in a variety of shapes and sizes. And here in this lovely shop, which I shall call Aladdin’s Cave from now on, I think, there are so many different writing instruments, delightful notebooks in all sorts of shapes, sizes and designs, I felt like I’d hit paydirt. I wandered around fingering everything, in paroxysms of utter delight.
And then I visited the third floor for the art materials, and I think I floated off to Nirvanaland! It was packed with all sorts of paints in all sorts of colours, glitter paint, glitter paint pencils, crayons, art pencils, pastels, pastel pencils, acrylic paints, oil paints – you name it, Deniz Plaza has it. And not to mention the huge variety of canvases including some in bright colours like red, blue and yellow. At the back there are sorts of sizes and colours of paper and board.
And my husband, who groaned and moaned when it hit the stationery/art shop, also succumbed to the lure of its glittering contents because he found heaps of gear for his model railway – how good is that?!
Coming down to earth (which is hard because I”m still floating but my husband’s hanging on to one ankle), it’s a real relief for me to have found an art and stationery shop which is so well stocked as I was a bit worried about finding all the material I need for my art work in North Cyprus. So my worries are over, the only difficulty will be in restraining myself from repeat visits to this lovely shop until we move into our new home and I have my space set up to resume my artwork.
I have been sitting here in North Cyprus this afternoon gloating over my latest treasure, Rose Otto essential oil, diluted 1:8, 20 ml, and only costing $12.50. Why? Because Turkey produces heaps of rose oil and I am living in what is officially the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus and, for postal purposes, it’s known as Mersin 10, Turkey.
The pharmacy where I bought this is stocked with so many lovely items. I currently have two bars of soap which are beautiful: one is scented with Frankincense and the other with Patchouli and Cedarwood. They are handmade and feel SO luxurious.
Stooging around the pharmacy I also found a heap of delightful Yves Rocher products, and the one I currently have my eye on is the vanilla-scented shower gel. I LOVE vanilla, so it’s on my “to buy” list. There are also different sorts of essential oils and all sorts of other lovely soaps and shower gels.
I have never gone for rose essential oil, but all of a sudden I can’t get enough of it. It’s all over my hands where I had to get the seal off (real hardship, that was), and I’m admiring the dinky little tap it has on the cap, which you unscrew when you want to inhale the oil or pour drops into a carrier oil to use for massage. I’m in my element in this lovely island, it’s as if Aphrodite has embraced me and I her with equal fervour.
All my life I have drawn a graphic of a triangle with loops on the end. I’ve done it as a child, a young woman, a middle-aged woman and now in my crone years. I have drawn this graphic on paper, in the air and it’s turned up as an image in my mind I don’t know how many times.
And now I recognise the meaning, the hairs are standing up on my head and arms, and I know I’ve come home.
Since I arrived in Cyprus, I’ve changed my moniker to Aphrodite Rising. It sprang out of nowhere (a bit like Aphrodite springing from nowhere when she popped up from the seas all of a sudden), and seemed just, well, perfect. Today I started work on producing my next Constant Contact newsletter and I fished through my artwork until I found a painting created in Traralgon, Victoria, in 2006. I remembered doing it, but not much about the detail. Until I uploaded it onto the newsletter. And then I sat staring blankly at the screen.
Here it is:
As you can see, the graphic stands out, I was compelled to add it when I was painting around the blue glass triangle with various rocks and seashells around it, but looking at it now I realised it’s a stylised “A”. For Aphrodite. Aphrodite has been calling me all my life and finally here I am!
Interestingly, the original image was obscured by netting, but in Bowraville (on the mid-north coast of New South Wales) where I lived after moving from Traralgon, I felt the need to rip off the netting, almost as if Aphrodite was calling to me, the artwork needed to be clearer and not obscured, and the message was getting louder.
And I have to be honest, Cyprus is the last place to which I ever thought I’d volunteer to move. Why? My husband has raved on about this island ever since we met, so much so that on occasions I’ve given serious consideration to nuking the damned place. It drove me nutso. He even had a clear dream while we were living in Queensland of walking down the streets of Famagusta, with a white dove flying beside him, BUT the streets were modern, not the streets of his childhood days and when he served in Cyprus with the British Army in the late ‘fifties. My good friend, Yvonne, reckoned that Bryan had left a piece of his soul in Cyprus and I think she’s right. But it wasn’t my soul, at least, not until I got here.
The day we moved into Bowraville I came very close to the Pearly Gates. I don’t know if they waved me away or whether I tripped at the entrance. Be that as it may, I had heatstroke with a BP of 220 over 160 and a heartbeat of 40. The ambulance officers thought I’d have a massive stroke and die before we reached the hospital. Mercifully they stabilised me and here I still am, one tough old bird. But it did concentrate our minds about where we wanted to spend the rest of our lives. My husband’s three children live in the UK, we have friends in the UK, and we really felt we wanted to live closer but couldn’t handle the British climate and the country’s high cost of living.
Then one day, out of the blue, I suddenly said: “Why don’t we move to Cyprus?” I must admit, I nearly fell of the sofa when these words popped out. And Bryan said “Good idea” before I had a chance to hoover the words back into my great big gob. But it sort of felt right. So we did our homework, decided on North Cyprus as it’s not in the Eurozone and has a lower cost of living than South Cyprus. It’s not as developed but that sort of thing doesn’t both us in the least.
So last June we put our home up for sale. We both operate on the basis that, when the right seller comes along, the house will sell and all will be well wherever we are heading. The house sold in December. We found a young couple, setting up home with not much money, who bought the whole house contents, paying us enough to cover the cost of our fares to Perth. They were grateful. We were delighted to empty the house in one fell swoop the weekend before we moved out. The big bugbear was our Subaru Outback. But lo and behold, a couple of weeks before we moved, a guy rocked in who bought the car for cash and, not only that, left it with us until the weekend we moved out to help us save on car rental. You can’t get much better than that, can you?
When we arrived in North Cyprus, we were met at Larnaca Airport by a lovely bloke who took us around and then told us his friend was selling his Land Rover, in good nick, with a gearbox still under warranty as it had had to be replaced recently (memo: don’t go into reverse while your Land Rover is going forward as it wrecks the gearbox!), so we bought that for $6000. And we have found a lovely unit, with a very helpful, friendly seller and we are hoping to move in around the time our 33 boxes turn up from Australia in Famagusta. If we aren’t able to move in by then, the seller is happy to store them in our new home until their departure is finalised.
And now I’ve fished out that painting created five or so years ago and now I understand why I felt the need to add the stylised “A’s” surrounding the island in the middle, and why I am now here in Cyprus and feeling so much at home. It’s whacky, eccentric and a bit like living in the Wild West. It has a serious commitment to timelessness (as per when my husband asked a cafe owner when she closed and she simply spread her hands out and said: “When we have no more customers”), and the people are friendly, cheery and incredibly helpful and kind.
I have come home to Aphrodite and I am at peace. I no longer need to keep drawing the stylised “A” graphic in my mind, because it has become part of my being. At long last!
As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve been tracking down the local markets and I’m pleased to say I’ve found some stalls which have my favourite goodies – rocks and crystals. This time it’s been crystal jewellery. The first I came across was this lovely rose quartz pendant. I always hold crystals to get a
sense of how I feel with them, and this one – the third one I held – was the one which really resonated for me. It feels calm, loving and kind, and it’s helping me adapt to the emotional upheaval of leaving Australia, all my very good friends there and settling in a completely new country back in the Northern Hemisphere.
This week I found a lovely little stall at the big market near our holiday apartment where the owner makes her own jewellery – all sorts including various beads but also crystal pieces too. My husband rolls his eyes because he knows I’m absolutely drawn to the presence of crystals, but now he has adopted a bemused, tolerant attitude towards my mania for rocks, stones and crystals!
Sure enough, I found a lovely amethyst bracelet which feels great, and also a fluorite bracelet which the stall-owner is lengthening for me and which I’ll pick up next week. Here’s the amethyst bracelet:
I was also going to buy an amethyst pendant and felt a bit uncertain about it, until ……. DADAAA ……. I noticed a beautiful chrysocolla necklace right at the back. Since I came to North Cyprus I’ve been really drawn to chrysocolla. It’s a fantastic stone and I get the feeling that, for me, it is Aphrodite’s rock. Aphrodite is the goddess of Cyprus. She is reputed to have emerged from the waves close to a rock near Paphos in the south, now known as Aphrodite’s Rock. Aphrodite’s Pool and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite also exist around the Paphos-Limassol area, and the spirit of Aphrodite permeates the atmosphere of Cyprus.
Since I bought the rose quartz necklace, I’ve been tuning in to how I feel about Aphrodite. She was a powerful goddess because she embodied love, the most powerful energy in the Universe as far as I’m concerned. But I’ve always been a bit peeved by Botticelli’s version of Venus rising from the foamy seas because, well, it’s so damned wimpy. It’s a man’s idea of a maidenly-looking woman who looks basically like a wet fish as far as I’m concerned. When you think about it, love is incredibly powerful and Aphrodite wielded enormous power as the embodiment of love. So I really don’t see her having the very soft energy of rose quartz. But I do envision her embodying the very power of chrysocolla with it’s sea-green colours and its radiant energies. Well, they’re radiant energies for me!
So here’s a pic of the necklace which I love, particularly the shape of the stones. And here’s a pic of the chrysocolla polished stone which I brought with me because I knew somehow that this stone would be important in North Cyprus:
What I find interesting about this particular stone is that it’s a mixture of chrysocolla (redolent to me of powerful emotions, sea connections, power of love), cuprite (grounding of love, being able to radiate love) and turquoise (healing through the power of love).
Our gear from Australia arrives in mid-April and around that time we are moving into our new apartment. I am SO looking forward to unpacking the boxes and boxes of crystals and various rocks I have packed away and showing them the light of day in this beautiful island. I’m sure they’ll settle in nicely and feel as happy and content here as I do!
Wherever we go, my husband creates the most beautiful gardens. Finally, however, we decided on a smallish garden with NO GRASS because Bryan’s fed up pounding along behind a lawn mower.
So in forward planning our new garden (we don’t move into our new apartment until mid- to late April), we have been checking out garden centres and visiting the various markets which have sprung into being around Kyrenia now that the sun is shining, spring is here and the weather is warming up.
We have our eye on heaps of plants which we’ll buy once we move in, but we couldn’t resist these plants which are a dracaena marginata (the tall one and one of my favourite plants); a purple verbena in a hanging basket (which are really hardy plants); and two cuttings of Pigface, a low-growing, succulent, very striking plant which we used to grow in Australia. We found this Pigface near a beach close to our apartment, so my husband brought a couple of cuttings home:
Below is a pic of Pigface,I found on the internet – goodness knows why it has this name as it really is a very pretty little flowering plant.
I’m always very amused when we move as Bryan always swears his gardening days are over. But, within a short time after we move into a new home, the backyard is soon stocked with cuttings flourishing as my husband really does have a green thumb. Just as well, as I’m hopeless at gardening – I look at plants and they keel over, dead as a Dodo!
For all of you who are into cakes and other sweet things, North Cyprus is a treasure trove of such goodies. Unfortunately I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so, while I’ve been admiring all the lovely sweet products on sale, I haven’t tasted any. Sorry – you’ll have to come to North Cyprus your self to taste everything!
Here’s a pic of the cakes which are on display at our local Lemar supermarket, just to make you insanely jealous (and these are only a few of the many gorgeous-looking cakes on display).
And to make your mouth water a little bit more, here are pics of the sweet pastries on display: