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Friday, March 30, 2012

a tisket a tasket

I have been wanting a basket like this for quite awhile.  Probably since I first ventured to the Turkish side of the island and was introduced to the world of Cypriot handicrafts.  It was love.  Deep, true, woven love.  But there was no way I could justify the purchase, what with us needing shelves and a car..and food.

This weekend, however, I said to heck with it.  Last year on our honeymoon, we searched high and lo for a piece of artwork for our home to mark the occasion.  For our anniversary we (yes we, not just me.) wanted to do something similar.  After our excursions in Paphos, we started driving back to the condo we were renting for the weekend, taking what I was convinced would be the scenic route home.  Mr. F was driving and rather sleepy (afternoon naps are essential when on holiday, you know) and was focusing on driving on the correct side of the road while all I could see were the numberless basket and pottery shops we were passing.  Eventually Mr. F noticed my pouty face (it was bad...), turned around, and found a parking place to nap while I went scavenging.   

I by-passed two pottery shops (something that nearly never happens) and went directly to the little basket shop.  An old stone facade with a wide double door entry covered in handmade ditties welcomed me.  I stepped in and smiled in childish delight at all of the options.  Deep baskets and shallow.  Utilitarian multi-taskers and colorful display pieces.  I wandered about, having a certain type of basket in mind.  In the back of the shop, a television was on with Cypriot soap operas playing and a little old Yiayia paying close attention to it.  I tried to catch her attention, but to no avail, so I kept searching.

Not long after, the kindly grandmother took notice of me and began helping me find the perfect treasure. My Greek was barely better than her English, so we were quite the team.  She helped me choose between two and I landed on the locally made one.  Yiayia began wrapping it up and I tried, yet again, to get her attention.  I didn't have cash and needed to know where an ATM was.  She mumbled something and pointed outside, so I tried to reassure her that I'd be right back, I just needed to pull out the money.

As luck would have it, this was the only ATM I've experienced in Cyprus that wasn't multi-lingual.  Greek stared back at me and I mildly panicked.  I had no idea what button to push and feared the machine would eat my card.  The Yiayia came out to see me panicked and, not understanding me, yelled down a man to come over and help translate.  I tried to explain my predicament and that I just needed to know what button to push if he would be kind enough to help me.

"I no understand.  Go over there," pointing across the street to an open air cafe, "English. Ask them."

Growing increasingly flustered and amused with the situation, I crossed the street to find a girl about my age who spoke good English who was willing to help me.  She came back to the ATM with me, waited until my pin was in, then helped me navigate the maze of Greek until I had money in hand.  She smiled kindly and didn't seem to think anything of it, though I thanked her profusely for coming to my aid.

Cash in hand, I went back to the shop to find my Yiayia chatting with one of her neighbors.  I smiled and handed her the money.  She wobbled behind the counter to get me my change while her companion began trying to ask me questions.

"Ingkland?"  Blank stare from me. "Eeengkland?  You from?"  

"Oh," I registered, "No, no.  Not England.  The States."


"Nooo, USA."

"Germanee?"  Seiously?

"No, America."

"Ohhhh, Amrika!"  Then he proceeded to tell our host that I was from Amrika.  She smiled delightedly and offered us both huge pieces of Turkish delight before handing me my parcel and sending me on my way.

I laughed all the way back to my dozing husband and giggle a bit more every time I look at my new basket.  Sometimes what makes the things in our homes so wonderful isn't their color or price tag, but the stories behind them.  My basket is no exception to this.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

thankful thursday

This week, I feel kind of overwhelmed with gratitude.  Things seem to be stacking up nicely right now.  Nothing epic, just small, tender mercies that are making life even more enjoyable. I feel like this week's list could go on and on and I still wouldn't touch on everything.  So here are just a few of them.

 I am deeply, deeply grateful for my husband.  He's been smiling a lot these past few days, which makes everything more enjoyable.  His eyes dance with mirth and the purest joy.  It's infectiously glorious. And to have just celebrated our first year of marriage together is even more wonderful.  He really is my best friend and every day I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

I am grateful for kindred spirits, who I have at long last found on this island.  Two wonderful women who have befriended me and allow me to share in their lives.  They are absolutely delightful and it seems unfathomable already that I only met them a few weeks ago.

I am grateful for the written word, and in particular, the works of Lucy Maud Montgomery.  I have been devouring the Anne books at an alarming rate and feel more light-hearted with every page turn.

I am in love with nature.  The sea, the sun.  Poppies blooming.  Yellow wildflowers.  Fresh strawberries. All of it is beautiful and refreshing.

I am thankful to laugh daily.  Not just little chuckles, but make-my-face-hurt-from-smiling rolls of laughter.

Lastly, I am grateful for family.  Mr. F and I have been deeply blessed with amazing parents and the coolest siblings anyone could ask for.  We wish we were closer to them, but technology makes the distance so much more bearable.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

wandering the ruins

It's days like Saturday that I really marvel at where we live.  Mr. F and I managed to pull ourselves away from our laziness for a few hours and drove into Paphos to check out a few of the sights.  The center and waterfront are littered with archaeological digs, ruins, and generally "old" things.

We started off at the fort keeping sentinel on the coast.  This thing is so ancient the sign inside did not indicate a date for its original creation but rather its first restoration in 1222 by the Franks (I think).  Inside was cavernous and wonderful.  I love high ceilinged stone structures.  The midday sun trickled in, giving everything a sweet yellowish tint.

After some lunch, we headed westward to the Tombs of the Kings.  Best euro-seventy each we've ever spent.  What we thought would be one hollowed out encasement presented itself as a vast park where you felt like an explorer, stumbling upon caves and relics for the first time.

We rambled the grounds, soaking in the carvings and ancient nature of everything while trotting merrily through fields of wildflowers overlooking the Mediterranean.  Bliss..total bliss.

Oh, Deep Thought, what is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

Me: These stairs are a death trap!
Mr. F: Literally.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Have you ever noticed how refreshing a weekend getaway can be?  Mr. F and I escaped to Paphos for a few days and loved every lazy moment of it.  We went wandering through some archaeological sites, which were fascinating.  But really? We did nothing.  We'd like to pretend we did a lot more, but we didn't.  We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, played Scrabble, ate a mountainload of homemade muffins (I'm getting better at this whole cooking thing!), read books and magazines galore, sat in the sun, slept, talked, smiled, ate, watched Indiana Jones movies, basked in the quiet that only the country can offer, and were just contented with the nothing.  It was the most blissful way to celebrate our anniversary and Monday morning is a bit harder than usual because of it.

by the dozen

In need of a fun spring craft that doesn't cost much, makes a fun statement, and doesn't take long at all?  Well, I have just the thing for you.  These twine covered eggs have got to be some of the easiest things I've ever done and are so ridiculously cute.

What you'll need:
inexpensive styrofoam or plastic eggs
ball of twine
hot glue gun and sticks

I got these eggs at a local catch-all store for 99 cents a bag.  My mum has been doing some investigating back in the States and has learned that similar eggs run for about $5 a bag.  To this I say, "Use the cheap plastic eggs!"  I have yet to try this, but hot glue is a wonderful, wonderful thing that sticks to just about everything.

Start by knotting the end of twine.  Dollop a fair amount of glue at the base of the egg and affix the knot to it.  Press firmly and let set for about twenty seconds.  Then apply thin string of glue around knot and wrap twine around it.

 Continue this process around the whole egg.  Thin strand of glue, wrap twine. Thin strand of glue, wrap twine.  Pull firmly on the twine to have a tighter weave (and to avoid glue globs...)

At the top of the egg, lay a heavy amount of glue and spiral in the twine.  Press firmly and let it set before cutting off the end of twine.

And that's it!  Easy, right?  I plan on making of whole heaping mess of these eggs and want to keep them out for awhile.  I'm investigating styrofoam balls and other shapes to repeat this technique on as well.  Cheap, easy decoration? Yes, please! 

Have fun!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I've been writing and rewriting this post for weeks.  How do I encapsulate all that I feel about this weekend?  I just don't know...

A year ago I was sealed for time and all eternity to my best friend. The guy who helped put me back together when everything felt horribly out of place.  The guy who I can talk for hours on end with or say nothing at all and feel like it was time perfectly spent.  He's the man who decided to put me and our little family first and found a job to provide for us.  He makes me laugh and want to be adventurous. He's my travel buddy, Scrabble opponent, art critic, small business partner, cuddle buddy, and ever so much more.

We've experienced so many changes this year and I'm so glad we did.  We were forced to rely on one another and find out how much we mean to each other.  About a dozen countries, one college graduation, three international moves, and a rainy winter later, I like him more than ever.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. F!  I love you dearly.