Cypress is a strange place. Don't know why it strikes me stranger than any other divided continent, land , that, left to it's own nature, has no borders except it's natural ones. Maybe because the island is not big and as you're driving through the Greek side - suddenly you meet a border crossing, a few little buildings and some guards, you get your passport stamped and - there you are, on the Turkish side.in Turkish Cypress.
Not much has changed, the landscape certainly hasn't , and yet...everything changes. The architecture, the general run- downish, time has stood still, kind of look you get on the Turkish side. And of course- a mosque instead of a church. A lot less signs on the road , a lot more vines growing everywhere, in the front of every house. Somehow, a lot less Westernized.
We were staying in a holiday village, still half built, but with very nice facilities on the North Western tip of the island. It looked a little strange to see these buildings jutting out like new teeth - white against the brownish, yellow with bursts of green, landscape, with the backdrop of the sea behind. For the kids and I guess for me too, it provided a safe environment to play, meet friends, and there were lots of bikes to ride.
Yasmin, ten and a half now, has been struggling with learning to ride a bike for three years now. This child rides on horses, commands them, is assertive, and yet with a bike, lost all her confidence.
One day I see Tom, her twin brother and her practicing. He's holding the bike in various ways , trying to get her moving, yelling and laughing at her. She's getting more and more frustrated, yet finally, suddenly, it happens! She's riding!
A victorious and happy Yasmin
We decide, too soon perhaps, to ride to the nearest village to the local shop. Riding down the road she gets frightened and unsure of herself and finally lands in a ditch. As luck would have it- right in front of the prettiest house and garden I saw there. The owner, a lady about my age, who was watering her garden, sees us, jumps out and says, you OK? She gives us water, and helps rinse Yasmin's face When it's clear that Yasmin can't continue I ask in sign language if she can stay with her...Yes yes of course! I saw her kind face and knew it was OK.
Off we went, Tom and I to the shop, and when we get back Yasmin is sitiing on the front terrace, with drinks, fruit from the woman's garden and looking generally pleased. Katria, our host, in the meantime had taken the thorns out of Yasmin's fingers, put soothing oil on them, and just pampered her with love. Of course as soon as we arrived , we also received the same treatment. More fruit,drinks, the woman's Mother shows up with freshly baked traditional bread with herbs and cheese, that Katria insists we take back to the village to my Mom
Plums from Katria's trees...
Walking back, at twilight, Yasmin and I reflect on how, out of a "bad" thing, came this beautiful encounter, like in the films you see, with a beautiful kind-hearted woman. I quoted Shakespeare: "Things are only good or bad because people make them so." Had Yasmin not tried bravely to ride to the village, and fell, we would never have met Katria and tasted some of this beautiful endangered culture- not to mention her organic fruit, and wouldn't have spent these sacred rare moments, walking together quietly, with our bikes, just the two of us.
A few days later, we returned with a beautiful rose plant for her garden, which she said she would name - Yasmin. Sadly, in both cases I forgot my camera at home , so I don't have an image to show you.... Yet this woman is forever in our hearts...