Hello! Not much new to report from Ora, Cyprus, where the chickens continue to outnumber the humans, and where the streets are reminiscent of a scene from Silent Hill. Thanks to the lack of excitement, this is the perfect place to work, which is what my aim is for my stay here. I’m working hard on the outline for my novel, getting loads of freelance projects done, AND still focusing on Project Me. Have to say, though, I cannot wait for my trip to Munich in December – eak!
Now, what’s been on my mind for the last seven days…?
Japan 2016 – time to plan the big one!
I have a perpetual case of itchy-itis. I cannot stand still, and you know, that’s okay. I’ve come to accept that I’m always going to be yearning for my next adventure abroad, and I’ve realised that travel is something that makes me damn happy, which is why I make it a priority in my life.
So I’ve been thinking about what I want to be doing over the next six months to a year and I’ve decided I want to plan an epic trip. There are many, many, many places hovering at the top of my travel wish list, but Japan has lingered there for the longest time now that I think I should get my butt there!
I’ve been fascinated by Japan and Japanese culture for years. I’ve devoured Haruki Murakami’s books like they’re sushi, and speaking of sushi – my God, the thought of the food out there is making me dribble all over my keyboard. Photos of Kyoto fill my head with all sorts of romanticised scenes of geishas, and temples, and the cherry blossoms in full bloom. Yes, I realise the images in my head are probably a far cry from what the place is really like, but hey – I want to go and experience it ALL.
Hence it’s looking very likely that a trip to Japan is coming in April 2016 (cherry blossom season is the best time to go). I want to visit for an entire month if I can and see as much as humanly possible. I haven’t decided yet if this will be part of a wider Asia trip, or just a Japan specific sojourn. Watch this space!
Autumn in Cyprus is wonderful
I haven’t been home to Cyprus during autumn since I was a child, and I absolutely love the weather right now. When I first arrived back here in September it was like I’d arrived in Dante’s seventh circle of hell – what an inferno! Now, however, the temperature is hovering at a comfortable 28° Celsius during the day, and the evenings are lovely and crisp. The leaves are falling off the trees and everything is giving way for winter. It’s a lovely time to be here, and I love my new ritual, which is to sit on the balcony every evening and watch the sun go down while drinking a glass of wine. It’s the simple things…
Compassion is our saving grace
This morning I finished A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout, a Canadian journalist who was captured in Somalia and held hostage by a rebel group for two years. The book is her account of what happened; reading what those guys did to her while she was held in captivity made my blood boil, and also made me feel incredibly sad for the things we humans are capable of doing to each other. The book was so gripping that I read it in a day; I admired Lindhout’s strength throughout the whole ordeal. She chose to look at her captors with compassion – no small feat when you’re being raped, beaten up and starved to death. She wondered how differently their lives would have been had they not witnessed the awful things they had while they were growing up in a war torn country, which believe it or not helped her get through it all with her sanity in tact. Compassion, it seems, is the answer when dealing with people who hurt us – only hurt people hurt people, after all.
Cypriots – still the loudest people on the planet
While enjoying the sunset with a glass of white at hand, I’d love to say that I have a soothing soundtrack to match the lovely scenery. However, more often than not, the scene is punctuated with loud shouts of “Re malaka” (Greek profanity) and “Skase re” (another Greek profanity) of the gentlemen playing backgammon at the makeshift café located in front of our house. As I sit there admiring the view while listening to their profanities the question I ask myself over and over again is “Why are Cypriots so loud?!”
If you ever come and travel around the country, at first when you hear Cypriots interacting in a coffee shop you’ll think that they’re having a heated debate about something important or an argument. If you understand the language, though, you’ll quickly realise that all they’re talking about is what they caught during hunting that day. Or what they ate for dinner. Or whose car is the loudest.
I should take part in NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and for years now every time it comes around I tell myself that I’ll take part, and yet I still haven’t managed to. Until now, that is. I’ve been working on the outline of my novel, and it occurred to me the other day that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner (it always takes place in November). What a perfect way to get started on working on my book?
The idea for it is that you’re supposed to have a whole novel written in a month. You have to hit 50,000 words in 30 days, and how you achieve it is up to you. The emphasis here is, of course, on quantity more than quality – the quality comes afterwards when you sit to edit the whole thing.
Any random thoughts to share on this Monday?