“You ask everybody you know, How long does it usually take to get over it?
There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It’s just a matter of will power: the day you decide it’s over, it’s over. You never get over it.”
A Cheater’s Guide to Love
2011 has treated me well. I travelled, I explored the world through the lens of my diana and lx3 and I read plenty (though not as avidly as I would have liked). Here is my year breakdown.
Note: Most of these are in no particular chronological order
1. The most anticipated item of the year: the stache! After much begging and volunteering to start a fund for movember, I was given the privilege of the stache preview in December. I’m happy to announce that this look is now a permanent fixture in all our joint portraits.
2. November brought a new person into our family unit of two: the Bear. He’s still nameless though he’s much of a character. I caught him reading on my wing chair that night, but I’ve even come home to him watching TV and eating cereal and his most recent feat was climbing the Xmas tree á la King Kong style. We don’t know what he’ll do next, but he sure fits in.
3. Lomography featured largely in 2011, mainly because it was my Xmas present to myself last year. This two-shot was quite a good accident. The third shot, of our other partner in crime, George, brings the photographic trio full circle.
4. Reading in Dublin was a pleasure. This was a small park right outside the biggest park ever, that we traversed on a two-seater bicycle (that was fun!). On this trip I had the lovely company of Margatet Atwood and The Year of the Flood, which I miraculously read through, while managing to do quite enough touring.
5. The beauty of the lomo lens: This colorful scene was straight out of Little Miss Sunshine almost, and lucky for me, just outside my home. The large puddles / lakes that form near the area make for the most spectacular reflections.
6. This birdcage has been in the family for about a decade and it used to be white. Living by the beach has turned it into a wonderful rusty peppermint color that I love. It’s something that’s not coming off of our veranda wall anytime soon.
7. My grandmother had a rough 2011; in July she broke her ischial spine on her pelvis and was bedridden for about 2 months. She is now mostly recovered and able to walk without the help of a cane, but she’s spent quite a few hard months. This photo was taken during a drastic cleanup of her house. Quite unlike my normal photographic habits, I decided to take a self-portrait in my grandmother’s yard during the big mess.
8. Taking it easy with the kids: the cutest niece a person could have. Learning to be patient: the only thing that got me out of 2011 reasonably sane.
10. Tried my first, and most likely last, bitter ale at the Guinness Factory. Trying out the 120 format on lomo was fun, but also disappointing: I had a whole 120 color film completely ruined by overexposure, and thus forever a mystery.
11. The year of many notes, by no letters, sadly. Friends across the world (you know who you are), I will make it up to you in 2012!
12. The endless pursuit of great indie coffee/ tea shops continues. I have just added a great one in old Nicosia: Τα εφτά κλειδιά
13. My lovely, lovely mom. 2011 came along with a new resolution: more portraits. This is as candid as it gets.
14. Taking dark alleys and forgotten routes has always brought out the best exploration photos. If you exclude the rancid smell of urine, that is.
15. I love feet shots and always will. Our other addition to the household is Pingoo, our friendly bed penguin. My friend Gigi, understands my feet addiction and follows suit.
16. Paying closer attention to detail really got me out of 2011. As a perfectionist, I’ve got the bug for getting lost and sidetracked in intricate details that really have no use for the purpose at hand. It’s a problem I am gradually coming to terms with.
17. Back in the middle ages, maps read: There be dragons here. Discovering the wonderful Custard Factory in Birmingham was a resulted of our chat with an art gallery personnel, who ended up drawing a little map of how to get there in my journal. After walking for hours past the commercial junk recommended to us by the air host, we finally got there and it was wonderfully refreshing.
18. My belated Xmas present arrived sometime in January. A new toy and a new perspective. It was quite amusing that we got each other cameras for Xmas. It also made shooting more difficult now with so many choices.
19. Bicycles everywhere in the city of Dublin. Renting some off the bike stations resulted in some near-death experiences, but ultimately great fun. It also led to the sad realization that Cyprus will never be bike friendly, thanks to all the reckless drivers.
20. A quiet vigil at Phoinikoudes, Larnaca after the explosion at Mari. This really shook up the whole island and those days were dark and bleak. I can’t say that that there will be much light on the case, in due time. Disappointment prevails.
21. My bike was a birthday present from 2010, but it really travelled great distances in 2011. On the last day of 2010, I remember riding across timid rain capturing the very last moments of the year. Here, we were riding across the vast expanse that is Oroklini lake, near my apartment. It felt out of this world, but all those mosquito bites put things in a realistic perspective.
22. The year of Catan, surely. The game was a gift by a fellow friend, but was neatly tucked into the closet because its instructions were a goddamn booklet. So after a year of storage, my friend was in Cyprus and he finally showed me how to play in less than half an hour. It soon became an addiction. Midnight Catan sessions that progressed way into the early morning hours, fueled by cookies and hot tea and when hungrier, Indian cuisine. It really left its mark on 2011, and now we’ve got the expansion pack and I’m convinced we’re turning into the Cypriot version of the Big Bang Theory somehow. Who’s Sheldon?
23. One of our most beloved agrotourist locations in Cyprus is 3 Elies. It’s the most authentic little resort smack in the middle of nowhere. There’s fireplace, nature trails, great trout for dinner made my Androulla, and many many cats. This multiple exposure hides two.
24. Met my nieces and nephew in the summertime for the first time. This was a walk on the beach, when my niece was so excited to see the sea. It makes me blush that I take it for granted.
25. 2011 brought with it a lot of new recipes. For Easter I attempted to make candy pops, that tasted OK but didn’t look like the real thing. Luckily no one knew the original idea, so considered my own works of art. The bows and sticks featured were in preparation for the choc pops.
26. The sun sets on Oroklini lake. Discovering the beauty of my area has surely been a highlight of 2011. I have just recently taken up jogging along the beach every morning before work and I’m surprised that I never made the most of the what is available to me here until now.
27. A hurried trip to the city of my heart: Chania, Crete. On the weekend of Monday of Lent, we escaped to Chania to revisit memories, old friends and favorite spots.
28. My failed resolution to pick up rock-climbing as a hobby. Maybe 2012 will be kinder to this resolution. After observing a group of climbers, we headed for Ayios Nicolas for some biking and I almost fainted on those altitudes. It resulted in a half-hour surprise nap by a river, while my other half was having fun taking photos of me passed out from fatigue.
29. Beautiful dusk from my window. Those reflections, those colors — make me remember why I could never leave here.
30. Pimped rides with pegasus, but 2011 was the year I bid my little old car, Dot, goodbye. Just as I wasn’t looking, I managed to get myself a deal on my car, and ended up with a brand new Toyota Aygo. Its flaming red is more to my taste than the old black. But Dot was my first car, and as such, very dearly missed.
31. Kids will be kids, but grownups need to be kids too sometimes. Relearning life through a 4-year-old’s perspective ain’t easy, but it’s good.
32. Having the sister to myself has been a treat. Here, we went on a great photowalk across town and I snapped this great portrait of her. Hopefully 2012 will bring a collaboration that could result in some monetary fruit, if she ever agrees to listen to my ideas!
33. I’m thankful for having friends who will willingly drop everything for an existential conversation about the meaning of it all. 2011 has taught me that I am definitely a lot more complex than even I ever imagined. I’m slowly learning to accept the most unexpected things about me, and more importantly, to embrace risk and learn from it.
34. 2011 changed the way I saw my life. Taking hard decisions is part of life, and being honest with what you like and don’t like is equally important. You need to be passionate about what you do full time, and if you’re not, you must change something. I’m changing things in 2012, but without 2011’s insight, I would be nowhere.
35. There’s a lot of home, in homemade, and I carry it with me in whatever I do: From jewelry, to writing, to photography to baking. You can’t separate the past from the present and carrying it with you is a good thing, really.
36. This unconventional portrait of my mom makes me think that there’s always a hidden side to us. And we sometimes hide it from ourselves even, but it’s there. I’m trying to reconcile myself with my hidden side, which is full of flaws and misery and pessimism, but hey, I’m not there yet. I’m trying, and that counts, doesn’t it?
Hope you have a great 2012. I await for it eagerly.
To misunderstood teenagers everywhere: It gets better. Wait for it.
This is for you:
Back to those zit-infested mornings
where your face was like pizza,
or the ugly side of the moon
shining on a class full of strangers
who cannot understand what you are
going through. Loveless
eyes scanning the area desperately
for lips to hang from, and words to decipher.
Back to days where insignificance
is of such great significance,
where the high is the low,
if you want to fit in
with the in-crowd of moaners.
Katy Perry reminds us well
of those hot days in summer with lovewords
pasted in online chatrooms.
It was the dialogue of the era.
A constant buzzing chatter, meaningless
communication. This was.
In memory of our dearest dog, Muffin.
You woofed your way
into our plebeian hearts
and left a blondish trail
wherever your nose led you.
Mr Carrot had it in for you
for biting his head off;
Mr Ant was afraid
after you shut him up.
And now, you lay hushed
below trees that you played with;
and house corners wait patiently,
– in futile –
for your bouncing company.
I cling onto your long sigh of goodbye,
your soft exit.
No flowers for dead muffins, no remembrances.
Doggy sticks would do you just fine.
You always liked to plead and whine for them,
and we loved it.
And we loved you.
And we do.
Dear 26-year-old self,
To be clear, this is a letter of goodbye. You and I are being held together by nothing more than a cobweb string of a hours that separate us from the new and cool 27. You see, it’s still OK to look forward to the next self, there are no drops of perspiration as I extend my hand to meet my new older persona. We need to part, and I’m ready for it.
I’m sure going to miss you though, fool. Remember that time you decided to get a new piercing on the wrong side of your face? You kept walking around trying to convince yourself that it looked like the kind of thing you would do — the kind of thing you had expected even! Until your sister pointed out that there’s too much metal on the left side of you face, so you took the earring out just like that.
You were always a restless one though. You considered staying too long in one place the way to rot your brain and curiosity. It’s no wonder that you moved locations 3 times without blinking about it. And you loved the packing, the unpacking — the excitement of possibility. You moved fluidly between borders, you travelled mentally and literally and there was never a dull minute with you holding my hand. Remember Paris? Remember Berlin? I would have never gone ahead if it weren’t for your impulsiveness, your endless drilling. Let’s face it – you would never stop until you got your way. It worked to my advantage. Most times.
It’s normal, I guess, to have ups and downs, but your ups and downs were intense roller coaster rides. You went from deliriously happy to grimly morose in the flash of a second. I had to choose my words carefully when I talked about life, about love, about what it means to be free. This issue really kept you sleepless. You wanted to choose wisely, surely, independently. You wanted to be free but would talk endlessly about your fear that love cripples your freedom. And it pained you to place these two ideals as polar opposites, to force yourself to choose between such lofty ideals. You let love win every time, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a defeat you secretly welcomed gladly. You were a true contradiction, as such.
And then my dear old 26-year-old self, you had a bright idea. You needed some direction, even though you didn’t even know it then. You were a little lost but you had convinced yourself you were right on track, as always. It came in the form of a small box with an air balloon on it. Inside there was a bag of beads, and you were confused. Until you started to toy with the idea of using them. And overnight, awoke a new streak of creativity that lay dormant just below your fingertips. And then, you gave the act of creating, a name, and attached a blog to it. For that I thank you old self. Because of you I am here now and I am writing to tell the rest of the world what happens next.
I will miss you,
plain bananas x