By Alexia Saleem

This summer was really hot in Cyprus. I don’t ever remember it being this hot in the past. I actually found it unbearable, but let’s be honest, we do say that every year regardless of how true it is. I never used to complain about the heat – maybe it’s age – but it felt insufferable some days. The fact that we didn’t go away on holiday probably didn’t help.

We haven’t been on an airplane since just before the 2020 pandemic and lockdown kicked in. I can’t say I minded last year; it was a novelty being in Cyprus over the summer. We hadn’t ever spent that long on the island before and so experiencing endless sunshine felt like a real luxury.

Then it became 2021. I’m not sure what it is about 2021 but I’ve found it much more of a challenge than 2020. Some days have felt like I’m wading through treacle it’s so murky and cluttered inside my head. I keep telling myself it will pass. And I know it will because everything does.

2021 has really been a challenge. Obviously, it’s not the year itself but what is going on inside me that has shifted. It could also have something to do with the fact that living in Cyprus is feeling more permanent than it did in 2020, which isn’t something I’d really imagined this time two years ago.

There’s nothing wrong with Cyprus. There’s nothing wrong with anywhere. It’s how you perceive a place that is the key to your happiness. If you embrace it, go with the flow and trust that things are always working out for you and take the good from a place, you can be happy anywhere.

But sometimes, a new idea can take a bit of getting used to. And this idea of living here more permanently is certainly taking some getting used to. If I’m honest, we still have one foot in the UK as we haven’t completely upped sticks and relocated back here like some friends and family have chosen to do.

My children, however, now think of Cyprus as home.

Leonida only wants to return to the UK to pick up his toys and to get to go on an airplane again. We used to fly about four times a year and he misses the whole experience of travelling to the airport, checking in, racing around the duty free and then settling down by a window seat with his books and toys spread out around him.

Katerina has always preferred Cyprus over London. The main reason being that my mother lives here, whom Katerina absolutely adores. She also likes the fact that her cousin has moved here and her aunts and uncles too.

Since we are here for now, and aren’t in a position to move back any time soon, we’ve decided that next summer we are going to go away for six weeks. When I said we have decided, it’s a very tenuous decision as I am actually very nervous at the thought of going on a trip.

I tried to look at places on Airbnb and started to feel anxious. I had to rein myself in and remember that today is today, and that anything could happen nine months from now.

My trepidation is probably related to the fact that since Covid we have kept ourselves to ourselves. More because that’s what most people were doing rather than by choice and then, eventually, we sort of fell into a pattern of being just us.

I know that when the time comes it’ll all be fine, and I’ll probably laugh that I even felt nervous to begin with, because there is nothing to be nervous about. If anything, I’m just feeling shy and that’s something that passes once you get comfortable in yourself.

I’m thinking for our first trip we’ll go back to my mother’s hometown in Ireland. I spent many happy summers there as a child and I think the kids will have a lot of fun getting to know my cousins and their children. They may be ‘big people’ but they are super fun people who haven’t forgotten their inner child. In other words, they don’t take themselves or me too seriously, which is probably something I need reminding of.

It’s also much cooler and wetter than it is here. I’m not sure how the kids will react to the weather, but one thing I know for sure is they’ll love the ice cream! Nothing beats a whipped cone and a flake after a long beach walk along the north coast in Northern Ireland.

But for now, those plans are still up in the air. It’s still 2021 and I’m still wading through treacle. Although, admittedly, the thought of that ice cream and those coastal walks are making me feel like the fog might just be starting to lift.