The beauty of Cyprus. Photo courtesy of Jessica Gude.
The first word that usually comes out of my mouth when someone asks about my study abroad is “beautiful” usually followed by an eye roll and a “ridiculously so.” And that just about sums it up. Cyprus was beautiful, full of blue skies, bluer bodies of water, early sunrises and let’s not forget fried cheese, which is a different type of gorgeous all together. While I was happy to return home, there are certain things I miss about Cyprus. I miss frappes. It’s not the American (that is to say, Starbucks) Frappuccino, despite the similar name. Frappes are a staple to any coffee shop or restaurant in both Cyprus and Greece. The barista takes a few scoops of Nescafe, which is instant coffee but way better than you would expect, and mixes it with a few tablespoons of water before frothing it in a milkshake mixer, then adds water and ice. Frappes look and taste like cream when, in fact, there isn’t any. Frappes are delicious and caffeinated and perfect in the afternoon between classes. I miss seeing cats everywhere I go. Some would say that Cyprus has a “cat problem,” but none of the locals views it as a problem. There are strays wandering every which way. Apparently, it’s been that way for centuries. St. Helen of Constantinople imported them from Egypt and Palestine to rid the island of snakes and other pests. I didn’t see too many of the latter two, so it must have worked. I miss eating sautéed zucchini for breakfast. Whenever we went on weekend trips, our program coordinators put us in local hotels that served breakfast buffets and, for some reason, giant bins of zucchini were always available, so I ate it by the plateful. I miss being out in sun so intense you could get a tan—or a sunburn—at 5:00 at night. I miss humidity so low that you could be hot and not sticky. (Sorry, Maryland, but you lose major points there.) I miss that hot, dry sun rising at 5:30 in the morning. I miss Cypriot potatoes. The whole time I was on the island, I only encountered one variety. They’re similar to russets, but less starchy and softer when cooked. The grocery stores weren’t full of white and red and russet and purple and blue; instead, there was this one type of potato, take it or leave it. I took it—and at every opportunity. I miss looking out at the ocean and being unsure of where the sea stopped and the sky began. I miss water so salty it left a white powder on your skin and so warm you jumped in with both feet, rather than toe by toe. I miss walking along beaches consisting of fluffy white sand, or stones smoothed over by the sea, or millions of tiny, perfectly formed shells. I miss being able to hike up mountain trails and looking back towards the ocean with the thought “the view couldn’t get better than this” and then going further, turning around and being proven wrong. I miss walking along the coast and realizing I had left the trail behind and was now on a rocky cliff in flip flops and a bikini. I miss being asked where I was from because someone “couldn’t quite place my accent.” I never thought I’d have to identify myself as an American, but it’s assumed that most native English speakers are from the UK, as it is much closer to Cyprus than the States. When I left Cyprus, I was more than happy to come back to the States because I had missed so many things from home. Now that I’m back, however, I realize that I miss just as many things about my time abroad. During my time at college, I’ve come to the horrible realization that I truly can’t be two places at once, which has become a problem since Goucher became my second home. When you have two homes, no matter where you are, you miss one of them. Returning from abroad brought about that similar feeling: I can’t be in the U.S. and in Cyprus at the same time. So, wherever I am, no matter how grateful I am to be there, there is somewhere else I long to be.