Sunday, 14 February 2016 20:34

Deja vu and that niggling feeling of familiarity

February 2 was Groundhog Day: a ritual observed only in America. If, on that day, the Groundhog peeps out of its winter quarters and sees its shadow, spring will come late.

The day is also associated with the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day in which the main character, Phil, played by Bill Murray, keeps re-living the same day over and over.

The movie is a personal favourite of mine. I often joke with friends that living in Cyprus often feels like one, eternal Groundhog Day. I’ve never met so many people who ended up living in a country without planning to do so – as I have here. I know at least a dozen who have stories like ‘I came on holiday for a week. That was five years ago’, or ‘I came to visit a friend 15 years ago.’

Even I came for ‘One year: max.’ and am still here over five years later. Why is that? It’s not necessarily bad, but the years and seasons keep on passing with an odd sense of déjà vu, making us relive the exact same thing over and over.

I also think this is because seasonal festivities and events are so ingrained in everyone’s life, that they automatically feel somewhat cyclic.

The Christmas decorations are gone and we all know that soon the carnival figures will be popping up. I do not know the people they depict and they all look the same to me each year (and I suspect they mostly are), however, it’s a déjà vu each year: same corner, same crooked nose, same big feet on the sidewalk.

As a bike rider, I also know the exact features and locations and particularities of all the Easter decorations that will be popping up soon afterwards.

They have been the same during my almost six years here and I always wish the municipality decorators would surprise us all by swapping things around, relocating one of the big-teethed bunnies down to the seafront and treating us to one of those big baskets of coloured eggs up on Makarios Ave.

But I guess that would disrupt the magic cycle, disturb that comfort of sameness and predictability.
I did not use to see this regularity from this angle, but with all the recent happenings and headlines, I am starting to think that this mega-Groundhog Day syndrome exists on all levels.

Just as one animal abuse case caused outrage and brought forth hope for things to improve, the next one appears. Just as one political scandal seems to have shaken people out of their slumber a bit, it moves back to be forgotten, making room for the next one, soon be forgotten again, too.

And so the cycle continues.

Before we know it, it’ll be summer, time to ‘close the island down’ for a good six weeks. Shortly after, it’ll be time for the vrakas to go up and the Wine Festival to start. Not long now and the Christmas decorations will be back up. Happy Groundhog Year!

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of February 12, 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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