Dedications to my Island.

Warning: This post may contain strong notions of nostalgia and love for the Mediterranean life.

Dear Cyprus,

It’s been one month since we climbed on a plane and flew away from you. Hold up, scratch that. That was pathetic. Don’t expect me to get all cheesy. This isn’t quotes from a romantic film. This is simply a reflection of past days, an eternal gratitude  for having a dual nationality, and an appreciation for living on the fantastic island of Cyprus for nine years of my life. Read on, I dare you.

Well, with the Sunshine being my constant companion, my days in Cyprus were bright, vibrant and colourful… but as the Sun always sets, there were periods of darkness too, shadows of something less fortunate and alleys that led to nowhere but a dead-end. Combinations of love, hope, elation, rage, grief, disappointment, indifference, and frustration was there. Get real, we face challenges regardless of whether you live on a Mediterranean island or not. Nonetheless, a fraction of my life has been stretched across the perimeters of you, within your Beaches, the fields and the houses of relatives.  I called you my home, with your culture running through my blood, your hospitality exuding through my character and your passion for food etching within my personality.

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Being an adventurer, I love to travel. Exploring this sweet island of mine was an adventure in itself, even if I was only discovering 9,250 square kilometres of this world. Now that I’m in England, that statistic is increasing, along with more of my global travels, and the travels to come in the future. Cyprus has shaped my childhood, has moulded me into another person that I would not have been if I had stayed in the UK. So, why is this island so important to me? I cannot answer you. To live in a place like Cyprus is living in a holiday destination, only I am not a tourist. I was living on a postcard… A beautiful, picturesque postcard. I was educated there, and I was welcomed there. That’s special. It is a place where the humidity was stifling, the air swirled with cigarette smoke and the fresh smells of the salty Sea, and lest we forget, the aroma of food; Our lifeline, our everything.

To conclude:  Who am I?

I am a reflection of two diverse nationalities. A mirror into two dimensions of civilisation. I am a TCK- a Third Culture Kid. I’m just another girl who is made of two parts of the world, two cultures, two ideals, parallels and polarities. I am a product of two lifestyles strung together by Fate’s industrious hands. Can I fully explain who I am? To you, I’m just a British Cypriot who has alternated between both countries in the 18 years of my life. To me, I am a new version of two places. There have been days of isolation and days of craving memories that are long gone. Fragments of a Universe of opportunities, and times that are over. I told you this wouldn’t be cheesy, but I guess I was wrong. Come and talk to me of my lands, and I may just smile, laugh or cry. Expect anything. Expect all three.

There are no borders to how much I miss Cyprus, but the more I miss that place, the more I realize that England is a part of my DNA too. It’s cultivation run though my veins too, affecting the way I think, speak and do. Let’s hope you aren’t a place shrouded in mystery in my future, dear Cyprus. Life is marvellous. Life is colourful. Life is dismal. No matter where I am, England or Cyprus…or hopefully somewhere else, I am content knowing that I will be led by the One who can make my trust without borders, restrictions and limits. This Gap Year is going to be fun. I can sense it.

So, will I miss you, Cyprus? Decide that for yourself.

Love,

your faithful citizen,

Emilia Alice Djiapouras.

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The Girl with the Broken Ankle

You may be wondering how this post will start; I hope I surprise you.

This is the story of how I,  clumsy and embarrassing Emilia, fractured my right fibula on the fourth day of February, and I’ll begin my story of unfortunate events with the passage of time; Time that continues on its eternal quest to make me feel more like an imbecile in a world of geniuses.

January began with me journeying back to Cyprus, and February began the same- I was back on my island. That was until 4 days later, when my world came crashing down. Well, to be more precise, my entire body came crashing down to the pavement. Baaaaasically, I thought skateboarding at night was a good idea. I collided with a stone on the tarmac and flew a little bit in the air, before landing haphazardly on my foot. So, most of February saw me walking on crutches in a cast. Poor old February didn’t see me in a very flattering light, but oh well. So much for rekindling a new hobby.

March began the same too: cast, crutches, TV. Until one special day arrived to cheer me up: March 16th.

This was the joyous day my cast was to come off. Oh happy day. I was nervous, naturally. I mean, a nurse was going to saw off wrapped plaster around my leg, so I had every reason to be afraid for my life. Then… they called my name. It drifted through the hallway with a sinister echo. Like I was a naughty child being sent to the Headmaster’s office. The only problem was, it wasn’t my real name they shouted, it was “Amelia”- Sure, they tried but they failed. They need to work on pronunciation skills in this Hospital. Also, this place smelt funny, and brought back some memories. Memories of broken arms, tonsilitis and drips- not good ones, even if it was the place I was born.

The nurse led me to the room. It had a name, but I’ve forgotten now. She was smiling wide at me… I didn’t smile back, I can’t remember why. Ahhh yes. I do, her smile was the creepiest ever. She looked almost happy that I was there. Anyway, I walked(well, almost) into this small room and the nice lady told me to sit down, all the while asking me if I’d ever had any experience with casts. I replied saying twice, as I’d already broken both of my arms as a kid. For some reason, I felt almost proud, proud that I knew what strange sensations were about to come.

Then it began. She turned the ungodly machine on. It raced and roared like a Harley. It’s ghastly teeth came closer and closer and closer until it bit right through the plaster cast. Straight through the material like a knife in a wedding cake. It sliced through my sister’s artwork of “I broke my ankle skating”, thank goodness. That was so embarrassing.

Now this was the funny part. I hope you’ll smile. The saw tickled my leg so much that I found it unbearable. I had to put my hand over my mouth to stifle the giggling, but it only made it worse. My mother looked at me from the other side of the room with raised eyebrows(and my mother has beautiful Delevingne eyebrows, so I knew she was confused), but the nurse took no notice of me. Here I was, an 18-year-old gap year student, preparing for Uni and a successful future career and I was laughing my head off over a tickle. Honestly, you need to break a bone to understand me.

Rambling aside, long story short, the plaster cast was off. OFF! I was free, liberated and able to walk again. Oh hold up. Let’s not get too carried away now. “Freedom” wasn’t the correct term. I swiveled round and hopped off the bed and began to faff around like an epileptic octopus. I looked and felt ridiculous. But what was worse was the unbelievable pain of looking at my hairy gorilla leg. Seriously, not the look a girl in her youth wants to adopt. It was hideous, like a prop from Jurassic Park. Along with my bruised calf and impressive scar I was the full part.

I sat alone in the waiting room while my mum moved the car, all the while paranoid of my Planet of the Apes leg. Nobody looked at me, thank goodness. They were busy watching “Lorraine” on ITV. Thank you ITV, you saved me. The pain, although bad, wasn’t unbearable, yet I was afraid to put my foot down(no pun intended) for fear of feeling tremors unknown to me, so I kept my leg elevated for 45 minutes.

      Next destination: Doctor Cheng’s office. He was pleasant, and was impressed with my story, which I thought was rather strange coming from a doctor. I was told to steer clear of contact sports for a while and hopefully I could have those blasted metal pins and plates out of my system in a year.

During April, Physiotherapy exercises began and my gosh, they’re freaking painful in the first few weeks. Week 2 of ankle rebooting left me lying on my bedroom floor as I attempted the ‘soleus stretch’ for the fourth time in an hour. I failed miserably. It soon got better, and before I knew it, I could perform each stretch with my eyes closed. April also marked the month I went back to work, on Easter Monday. Happy, happy days.

      Ahh, we finally made it to this glorious month of May. My foot has been doing remarkably well and I’ve been raking the money in like nobody’s business. Gap Year-wise, it’s going just as planned. I’m excited for Summer travels to California and alarming Airport Security wherever I go. Yep, I’m learning things on this little broken journey so far and understanding the power of that one fibula bone in my right ankle. With the metal plate stuck to it.

You may now call me: The Girl with the Broken Ankle, and I may just answer. Just please, don’t call me Amelia.

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Betrayed by a Kiss

  “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me. And while He yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, the same is He: hold Him fast. And forthwith, He came to Jesus, and said, Hail master: and kissed Him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.”   – Matthew 26:46-51.

    This passage has always made an impression on me. From being a kid, learning it in Sunday school, to an adult now, studying its significance in depth. Has this passage in the Bible ever made you think? Look at it spatially, in all four Gospels, Judas’ presence is mentioned, along with the evangelist’s amazement. By using the word “lo”, this draws their attention to the traitor. His treachery has made a deep impression on them, baffled them.

     I’ve always wondered, why did Judas betray Jesus? I mean, he was chosen to be ‘one of the twelve’, and he was looked as a follower of Jesus. Regardless of his reputation as a follower of the King of Kings, I think we can conclude that Judas never really saw Jesus as the true Messiah. He called Him”Master” or “Rabbi”, whereas the other disciples called Him “Lord”. He acknowledged Jesus only as a teacher, not a Saviour. Judas not only lacked faith in Christ, but he also had little, or no personal relationship with Jesus. Maybe he even believed that he could profit from the people who followed Jesus.

     Possibly the greatest part about this passage, is that, instead of scolding Judas for his definite wrongdoing and ultimate betrayal, Jesus answers him with-” Friend”- and asking him why he has come.  That is the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice.  He demonstrated His abounding love to the very man that turned Him in to be crucified, and thus,  reconciled us. He is still the same today, 2,000 years after He rose from the dead. He’s not here to condemn you. He loves you, remember that. No matter how many times you fail Him, or reject Him, He’s not going anywhere.

     Trust Him. Why? Because He’s overcome the world, conquered death, and treasures you more than you can imagine. That’s why.

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The 27th Line

“We have imprisoned creativity, and made imagination worthless.”
Read this post, and understand the perspectives of intelliegence.

Trophy Kids

Tomorrow my students will take their first round of STAAR testing in Writing, a subject I teach twice a day. The test is scored by their responses to 40 multiple-choice revising and editing questions along with 2 essays—one narrative and one expository.

Although the Writing test is one of three they must pass in the 7th grade (along with Reading and Math), it was important to me to communicate to my students that it doesn’t mean that much to me.

Allow me to explain. I have known my students for 8 months. I spend more time each day with them than with anyone else. I teach some of them for 3 hours a day (the lucky ducks who have me for Reading, AVID, and Language Arts).

They are more aware of my quirks than anyone else (including myself—apparently I have an “about-to-go-off” face). They have taught me more…

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My Time Machine

This post is captivating. So imaginative!

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I am constructing a time machine. It’s not a complicated thing. And you may be disappointed to know I don’t have grand plans in store for it. In fact my reason for building it is quite simple. I want to see a certain home at a certain time. 

I will park my time machine midway down the block and clamber out. Everything I see will be exactly as I knew it. Old homes will seem modern. Trees will be younger, shorter, thinner. Shrubs newly planted. Cars will be large, boat-like things you see in films from those days, but not gritty like in those films. They will be shiny and new. Or newish, anyway. Anyway, they won’t look like they do in films.

I will walk up the concrete driveway into the garage. There will be unpacked moving boxes on the right, a baby blue Monte Carlo on the…

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Flatterers or Friends?

“As a dog resembles a wolf, so does a flatterer a friend.” -Sarah Gristwood, The Girl in the Mirror. I read this book last year, three days after I graduated from School. It was great reading a book simply for pleasure, without writing a two page essay about its themes and main characters. It was reading, relaxing and learning...learning alot. Over the years, I’m sure we’ve ll discovered many quotes similar to the one above in classic novels, drama series, films and from some of the most inspirational men and women in history, but how much of their encouraging words, good acting skills and touching character dialogues can really affect you? Some things can have a big impact upon things we do, whether we realise  that or not. We can be bombarded by other people’s influences; both good and bad, friends or enemies, family members or  complete strangers. life is a great big canvas

   In my opinion, friends are the epitome of influence.They can be charming, daring and enthusiastic or they can be caring, decent and encouraging. Sometimes, they can be a mix of all the above words, and they are literally the jazziest people out there! I have some friends, that have really been a a huge help in all my endeavours and difficulties…and I’m only 17 years old. Yes, I am pretty young and probably too young to be commenting life challenges with so little experience in life, but i’m almost 18, so call it a “youthful view of life.”

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   We all like cookies, yes? Good..because apparently our life is one. It’s a perfect metaphor that really appeals to me, with the mention of food, life and friends. Yep, it’s got the whole package. A cookie without chocolate chips is like life without friends (cheesy I know), and life without friends would be unsatisfying, much like a chocolate-chipless cookie. If you don’t like cookies, then I’m sorry you can’t equate with this metaphor very easily! Change it around to something you do like.

   Friendships transcend cultural barriers and can be formed over short acquaintances or lifelong affinities. Let’s get real- You know who your true friends are right? You know who will stand by you when times become daunting, who will laugh with you over nothing and who will be completely honest with you too. If  I sound like a friendship evangelist, then I’m sorry, I only want to warn you of flattery. Something that contradicts friendship, and pretends to form a camaraderie.

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Flattery comes in many forms, from the casual comments about how nice you look to the formal flattery among the rich and the famous. The ‘formal’ flattery is said to be able to weave into affluent friend circles, or for some other shallow reasons. In short, flattery gains absolutely nothing. It’s empty. Futile. Pretentious. It’s built upon an uncertain foundation of duplicity and deceit…and they are  two words beginning with ‘D’, that you wouldn’t want. Believe me.

Friendships evolve and blossom in unexpected ways. Some inevitably die, yes, but some get unimaginably stronger. Daring to be vulnerable in a  friendship can enrich your life in unprecedented ways. I’m sure you all knew that didn’t you? Friendship is the polar opposite to flattery. True friends colour your days. They love you, and you love them back, platonically, of course. They help you tread the footpaths of life, but there is One who can carry you  through all challenges, joys, trials and paths. The  greatest Friend you could ever accept will and always will be Him, Christ.

”A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24.

 

The City of Stars.

Next time it’s dark at night, I dare you to stand outside in the cold gazing up at the sky. Stare at the thousands of stars that are twinkling their eyes and smiling back at you as they unveil themselves by the dark of the moon. I dare you to do just that until dawn breaks upon the horizon.

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The stars are like a city, a vibrant and illuminating city. Things can be discovered, examined and achieved. They look down on our futile attempts to understand the world around us but yet, they still shine on us. It’s God’s way of letting us see a fraction of His awesome power.
I live on a big hill in a small village in Cyprus so my opportunity to walk out of my house and look at the sky is pretty huge. Sometimes, but very rarely, when I can’t sleep I go out and sit on a nearby rock, gaping at the mysteries of the Universe.
The stars are not just beautiful, they’re alive, timed by a common-pulse of perfection, created by the Artist who paid a great attention to detail to them on the fourth day they were made.stars at night

If the stars only appeared during one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But, thankfully, every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
The stars are really just fleeting things that twinkle like fireflies and vanish as soon as the day appears to swallow them away from us. Stars and galaxies are transient, but our dreams are not. Aspirations and desires can be transformed into a supernova. Our dreams can be pursued if we have the courage to pursue them, and they can be just as numerous and scattered across generations, like the stars if we let them be.

love completely