Looking back as I grow older, being of Cypriot decent and growing up in the UK must be one of the most interesting, educational, emotionally and socially challenging experiences you could possibly imagine. So here we go, I've got so much crap to tell you, that you it will literally send SHIVERS down the spines of an entire community!
Uncle Andreas, or Kostas or someone called something like that (the type who offers to drive you to the Marina in his 'MERCENDEZ' (the Greeklish nickname for a Mercedes) then take you round the island on his brother's boat....got the picture? Well, I can tell you a few stories about flash upstarts like him, on reading this the wife who would probably file for divorce, well she would do if keeping up appearances were not more important than principle, his family will probably be in a screaming conference over a cup of muddy coffee, oops, I meant to say Turkish Coffee' OMG.........did I say Turkish Coffee? Shame on me, I meant CYPRIOT COFFEE, yes, that's it (isn't that stuff horrid, I'll tell you what, Starbucks need not worry)
The fallout from a Cypriot family humiliation is hard to articulate in any comprehensible manner that you 'non Cypriots' could possibly decipher, we are talking self-sacrifice and skulduggery to the extreme, just to preserve reputation.......as you will soon find out.
"Son, you are not just a fool, your are fool complete!"
So here we are, ready to hear some really interesting Cypriot tales, oh....and if any of you think that some of these tales are about perfect little me, then all I can say is, NOT TELLING YOU! Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
There is a saying that rings in the ears of EVERY Cypriot like a bad case of Tinnitus, Cypriots live and die by this saying, they might live on fresh air and drive a flash car, beat the kids, beat the wife or even beat themselves, and that my friends is the saying "Ti Tha Pi O Kosmos" (what will people say) just writing those words has put my blood pressure up because I heard those words many times throughout my life, but as a child, they were either preceded by, or followed by a "Patso" (to you my non-Cypriot friends, that means a slap!)
"Antonki, come held the ladder so I don't fell down!"
That sums it up for this part really, but I have so much more to say, so many different stories, most of them funny, some of them sad and a few are even tragic, but in the end, they will define this Island race that is the Cypriots. You may at this point be completely oblivious to the social politics of being Cypriot of course, if you are a 'ksenos' (foreigner) but if you are Cypriot, then I would expect you to be reading with a tentative apprehension and trepidation at the very thought of what I may say, who I may mention, what naughty little antics will I share with the world, and whether or not you are going to make a 'guest appearance' in one of my tales? Who knows, you'll just have to wait and see!
Please feel free to share, like, comment or even message me with your own 'Confessions of a Cypriot'
In the first volume of my books series titled 'KYPREI - CYPRIOTS' I will be telling the story of family from a village called Athienou, in Cyprus, who came over to England in 1961 aboard a ship. They settled in Northampton where the eldest son who had moved over the previous year was living and then began their lives in another country.
Life is never plain sailing for Cypriots, there is always drama, jealousy, family politics, social politics, cultural obligations, customs and taboo, so as you can imagine, there are many stories to tell. Over the years, this family integrated very well, becoming more English than Cypriot, but beneath the surface, many of the cultural influences that have weighed heavily on most Cypriots living abroad, never ceased to exist. The effects of the cultural influence remains, decades later, some good, but some not so good.
What is interesting, is how the children who were born in the UK, raised in the UK and even married English people, can still display the signs that they are influenced by cultural matters that they seemed to have inherited.
The book will be available later this year in both digital and print, further details will be posted when it is released.
I came up with the 'One Minute Cypriot' concept over 3 years ago, I was inspired by conversations that I had with Cypriots from different backgrounds who displayed a n unconditional love for Cyprus without the political, ethnic or religious divisions that has torn the island apart.
Today, I had the pleasure of being taken to a village called Koilani, in the Troodos mountains to meet a man called Apostolos Giannakas. He is exactly the type of person I am looking for to participate in my 'Cypriot Diaspora' videos.
He left the village at 12 years old and went to Limassol to go to school then in 1955 aged just 18 he left for the UK. He was met by an Uncle at Victoria station who took him to Bradford where he lived for 2 years before moving down to London.
Milikos Xenophontos is from the village of Agoi Vavatsinia, he was born in 1941 and left for the UK in 1959. He is the cousin of the famous Greek composer Manos Loϊzos.
Please excuse the mis-focussing, camera was on AF and it re-focused on the gate, but this was a one-off opportunity so I still used it.
When I visited Agoi Vavatsinia, I met a lovely couple who were from the village of Vasileia, which is a few miles west of Kyrenia. 'Kostis & Avgousta' have been together since 1957 and clearly love each other to bits. When they arrived at the restaurant where we were due to meet, they were holding hands! It was one of the sweetest sights I have ever seen.
I spoke to them quite a bit during the day and watching them was really amazing, since the day the got married, he calls her his 'Πέρδικα' (Partridge) We were sat outside drinking coffee and Avgusta was inside talking to the ladies, after a little while (less than half an hour) Kostis got up and mumbled something about wondering where Avgousta is, he went to find her because he always wanted her to be by his side.
This is Zoe Lavithis, she was on holiday in Cyprus and just before she left, we managed to get some video footage of her experience. We didn't really have a lot of time to prepare or even to find a suitable venue as Zoe was leaving straight after and she had spent all day at the beach! Now this is very unusual for a visitor in Cyprus!
I'm hoping to get a skype video with Zoe and her mother very soon.
An introduction to my new series of videos titled 'Cypriot Diaspora' Tales from Cypriots Abroad. I'm hoping to give people who migrated or were born or raised outside of Cyprus the opportunity to tell their story, their feelings about their lives and their feelings about Cyprus.
For many people, especially those who have left behind them poverty, or civil unrest in Cyprus, the prospect of a new life offered a real dream. Many of those who left have prospered, at least financially, but is that the only barometer for success?
Years later when the original migrants have aged and raised their own children outside of Cyprus, if they were to be really honest, how successful would they deem themselves to be?
Has there been a cost to their prosperity, how have their dreams changed from those early days of being part of a Cypriot community abroad? Was there a cost to the Cypriot people as a whole, be it culturally, socially or morally?
I would love the opportunity to film you sharing your life experiences.
If you would like to participate when I'm nearby, please Contact me.