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Happy Holidays! ...and Year-End Review

Merry Christmas from Cyprus!

We’ve been downshifting this week, tying up loose ends, and moving toward holiday celebration. Robin has submitted all his invoices; all of my coaching clients have gone on hiatus; I have copy-edited all of the articles for the next issue of the journal; and I took a pause from editing a Jungian analyst’s book for the time being. 

Last Sunday we got inside Agia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa and attended a church service there. It was an Anglican service, which Robin has much history with, having served as a choirboy for the High Church of England back in Australia. But even being in English and with all his experience, neither Robin nor I were familiar with 2/3rds of the Christmas carols that we sang.

I was tickled when a cat walked in front of the lectern to cross the stage while the priest was speaking, and then it lurked in various corners before departing at close of service.

I asked one of the vergers about the cat, and apparently she shows up often—another regular churchgoer said her name was Pansy, so she’s a standard feature there. Given the huge cat population on the island, it was the perfect Cyprian experience to have a live cat attending church service!

As we were preparing for various celebrations, I learned about Halloumi cheese. Apparently, its name is protected by trademarks and other forms of registration such that, legally, it can only be called “halloumi” if it was made here in Cyprus, and it must be formulated only from a blend of goat and sheep milk (as shown by the two animal images in the center of the package)—no cow’s milk is allowed. 

We attended a lovely New Year’s Eve party of Brits, Irish, and Dutch folks in a curiously interesting Cypriot cottage. I was a bit nervous about COVID, but decided to take a chance. Most of the party was outdoors, which lessened our risk, and the Prosecco was delicious and I drank a bucketful (to my regret the following morning). We finally took our leave and made our way home, ready to collapse into bed. Just before we crawled under the covers, the electricity went out (again). We decided that was just God’s way of telling us to sleep, so we drifted off soon after.

The power was restored by the morning. Luckily our hangovers were mild, and to celebrate Christmas Day we decided to head for the beach, one area we had thus far been remiss in visiting. Robin researched and identified several candidate locations for drinks and snacks on the waterfront, and we settled on the Alexander the Great hotel.

We parked and made our way through the lobby, scoping out the situation. It looked most inviting! But we decided to first take a stroll along the boardwalk and check out the beaches. 

We met many other merry tourists who wished us a Merry Christmas. I felt compelled to stop and take a picture with one friendly British lady who seemed to match my costume perfectly.

The weather was amazing! Temperatures were 73F/23C and it was balmy—we even spotted a few individuals braving the water for a dip! 

We surveyed several other fancy hotels for possible future hangouts, and poked our noses into several restaurants and bars—the prices were quite reasonable at many of them, which was gratifying. (It increases the likelihood that we’ll be back!)

The Mediterranean itself was the star feature. As Robin observed enthusiastically:

“When I was a child, I loved reading fairy stories and folk tales from different cultures. I especially enjoyed Greek mythology and devoured the Illiad and the Odyssey with great enthusiasm. A ubiquitous presence in these stories was the Mediterranean Sea—it provided a means of transporting the heroes on their journeys and was also the source of many dangers: Scylla, Charybdis, the Sirens, storms, maelstroms... I became mesmerized by this expanse of water that featured so often in the tales I enjoyed.

“And now I am living within a few kilometres of that august body of water, and I see it stretched out before me nearly everyday as I drive down from the hillside village of Kallepia into the city of Paphos. It still enthralls me—I often drift into reverie, imagining the boats of Odysseus and Jason plying the waves; Aphrodite rising from the foam; Poseidon roaming its depths. It exerts a magical hold over me, just as it did when I was a wide-eyed child, absorbing the words of Homer in that school library so many decades ago.”

After our lengthy leisurely stroll, we returned to the Alexander the Great and made ourselves comfy on the outdoor patio where we ordered exotic drinks and salads. We dined and relaxed as we gazed at the sun setting over the horizon. It was idyllic.

As our day drew to a close, we headed for home, stopping to pick up some takeout Indian curry for dinner. The bartender let us try on her festive headband, which made me laugh heartily, and she offered to take our picture, which we could not resist.

Once we returned home and fed the kittehs it was time for a Zoom with the fam in Iowa. My mom was looking festive in a bright red dress, and we enjoyed catching up with my brother and sister-in-law. It’s been a warm and lovely Christmas—I hope your Christmas has been equally good for you.

Until next time, ciao!

warmly, -Dr. Vicky Jo

PS: As lead-in to the new year, I am offering you this template to use for conducting a year-end review and fleshing out your personal myth—it’s a valuable annual exercise, and superior to simply making hasty New Year’s resolutions! Try it out and see what you think. (It should go without saying that I’d be delighted to coach you after you’ve filled it out.) The link to the pdf is here:

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