Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beginning Again

OK, everyone. Seems like it's been a while.

For days I've been dreading this post, because I was trying to figure out how on earth I could include my awesome trip to Petra/Wadi Rum and my awesome trip to Cyprus in one post. The answer? Skipping Petra and Wadi Rum, of course. Don't worry, I'll manage to put up pictures at some point, but for now, we're gonna take it easy. It is 10:20pm after all, and I've got to get my rest so I can out-crazy the kids tomorrow.

Got back yesterday from a fantastic week in Cyprus with 4 other teaching fellows. We flew into Larnaca, rented a car, and drove to Paphos (I imagine these names mean nothing to most readers; picture Cyprus in your head as a legless trumpeting elephant and imagine driving from his chin to his butt. Or something like that). Anyway.

Paphos is a cute beachside town full of decrepit empty bars, elderly (and sometimes decrepit) British couples, and, perhaps most importantly, a Cold Stone Creamery. We frequented the latter with some regularity, and the former not at all, though we did rent this lovely apartment from a friendly British couple:

The top-left corner deck in the right-most building (the one partly obscured by the tree) belonged to us. It was a great little apartment, cozy and plenty of room for the 5 of us, and many an hour was spent cooking, eating, watching movies, eating, drinking, and playing Bananagrams. Chase and I shared a king-size bed. Awwww.

We made the most of our trip, I think, with a reasonable combination of beach lounging and adventurous exploring. Among our more intrepid excursions was a 10-mile hike around the crest of Mt. Olympus (no, not that one), with views that looked like this:

And here's Aphrodite's Rock, where the goddess herself allegedly emerged from the sea:

As I mentioned, the week was rife with eating opportunities. Some serious highlights include the 6-course meze meal we ate at a restaurant called Seven St. George's Tavern (they said "we'll keep bringing food until you tell us to stop," and that's what happened), and an absolutely delicious meal in Larnaca on our last night. Walking around the streets just behind Larnaca's beachfront boulevard, we stumbled upon an alleyway full of happy diners at blue-and-white checkered tables, and took a seat. The people were friendly, the kebabs were delicious, and we all patted ourselves on the back for a great find.

But there was cooking too! Here's the pesto pasta with chicken that we whipped up for Chase's birthday (all credit to Jimmy, Meg, and Yasmine for this, though I did chop the peppers and cut the bread):

With an ice cream cake from Cold Stone for dessert. I was despicably, grotesquely full. It felt amazing.

Finally, here's a picture of a sweet cave from an archaeological site near Paphos called the Tombs of the Kings. They never held any actual kings, and it was cloudy that day, but I figured I'd include some of the ancient history for which Cyprus is so well known.

So that's a start, at least. I have pictures from Petra and Wadi Rum too, but they'll come. Suffice it to say we had a great time and walked around a lot and I rode a camel, which was more uncomfortable than I remembered. The Milky Way looks beautiful from Wadi Rum; I don't have pictures of that anyway so I might as well say it here. I would love to go back and really get into the desert. But I'm giving too much away.

I'm realizing (and I keep saying to everyone, so they're probably getting tired of it) that this October break was what I'd been aiming toward since getting the job. As soon as I said yes, I knew that after my first six weeks of teaching there'd be this break, and it's sort of been the goal on the horizon since I arrived in Jordan. Now, though, it's over, and all of a sudden things are about to shift back into gear. What do I head towards now? Winter break? It feels weird to always be working towards a break, but I think we often can't help keeping an eye on whatever Relaxation Time is nearest in our future.

It'll be good to get back into the teaching groove. I'm not really feeling like I'm there right now, probably because I haven't thought about school in a week, and a week is 15% of the time that I've had this job in the first place. So I'm looking forward to plunging back in tomorrow and getting the rest of this week sorted out. Bizarrely few weeks remain with this first term of students (this term ends at the end of November); that's another thing I have yet to wrap my head around. But one thing at a time. Let's make this week happen.

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