Saturday, 17 March 2018 08:25

The trouble with (not) missing things

Since I’ve moved back to Vienna I’ve been explaining regularly that I have only recently moved here from Cyprus - mostly trying to justify my ‘touristy ways’ despite my Austrian accent. “But it’s nice there!” people will invariable declare. “Why did you move back?” They are just as surprised as people were in Cyprus that I had left Austria to live in Cyprus - which I technically I hadn’t as I had lived in various other places before that.

The typical ‘greener grass scenario’, when really the grass will just have to be the greenest it can be wherever we are at any given moment.

The weather’s fine

Of course I miss the ample sunshine of Cyprus. But then I remember how streets would flood after only 10 minutes of rain in winter, making my life as a cyclist difficult. We’ve obviously had some rainy days here too - cold and grey even. But I always rejoice in the fact that I am able to leave the house with just an umbrella rather than in rubber boots and a rain suit. And as those who follow my Facebook posts will know, I was - actually still am now, in mid-March - in seventh heaven every time even one single snowflake tumbles from the sky.

Now spring is in the air. Rather than the abrupt outburst of breathtaking beauty of the almond trees and the almost intoxicating smell of lemon trees and suddenly lush green fields after 10 months of arid brown in Cyprus, here it’s a more drawn-out process. A sort of languorous unfolding with little changes to nature to be discovered every single day over several months to then come to a crescendo of a vivid and deep green summer.

So I guess no, I don’t miss Cyprus. Not because I did not like it, but because so many new things have come along to make me happy.

Little moments

What I do miss are certain things I used to do, moments I used to spend at certain places. But these are not the things people mean when they ask “Don’t you miss it?”

I’d have to explain the details of how I miss those Saturday mornings, having coffee in bed, looking at the sun through my big, 4th-floor balcony door, still low over the sea’s horizon.

I’d have to explain how relaxing the bike ride to the nearby farmer’s market was on those less-busy-than-usual streets. How the smells and colors and bustling sounds pull you towards them as you approach the market square.

After all these years, I still found something so satisfying about watching people young and old, local and foreign, lugging along heavy bags and pull-along shopping trolleys filled to the top with fresh produce. After all these times, I still found the banter with those same stallholders about why I kept taking pictures amusing.

It would be strange to elaborate, during a ‘getting-to-know-you conversation’, on how sitting at that market’s outdoor café had you feeling like a background actor in some old movie, drinking your Nescafe - the only kind available apart from shots of grainy Greek coffee - from a chipped mug with a Easter or Christmas motive or some company logo on it, served on a tiny scratched aluminum tray, enjoying with it some of the fresh fruit you've just bought.

New little moments

And if I did explain all this in response to the innocent question “Don’t you miss Cyprus?” I’d then have to explain how really, it is not a big deal as instead I now get to have my coffee in a room with not one, but three large windows. The window sills are at ground level, the sun falls once again directly onto my pillow and I have green grass and bushes and still bare trees right at eye-level, meters from my bed.

I now get to walk across the grassy grounds of a big apartment block to get to the metro stop nearby, also still quiet on Saturday mornings, maybe with a few children riding around on their bikes, but no adults heading in a purposeful stride towards the station.

If I decide to, I get to be among the first museum visitors in any museum I choose to go to - I own what I call my ‘magic museum pass’ - and sit at one of the wonderful cafes that they all seem to have here, soaking up the sophisticated atmosphere over a cappuccino or even a glass of sparkling wine, basking in the knowledge that I am literally ‘surrounded’ by famous works of great artists from several centuries.  

Or, alternatively, I could go to the public library (I also own a magic library card) which is open all day on Saturdays and has a rooftop café and sip my coffee there, overlooking the city, occasionally reading a few lines from a new book, basking in the knowledge that I am surrounded by nearly 500,000 works of printed and recorded media.   

So you see, when people ask if I don’t miss Cyprus, I’ll simply have to say, “For now I don’t because there are so many different, new things to enjoy here.”

It really is all about the much clichéed ‘living in the now’ - enjoying the grass on your side of the hill, no matter how green it is.            






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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