Fashionista: The Seoul of Cyprus
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Cyprus, etc.
Hi, my alias is Fashionista. I am a Korean-American born and raised in Texas. I am married to an amazing husband who is a history professor. I used to work in Washington, D.C., but I am now a stay-at-home mom raising two little boys.
My husband received a fellowship to spend an academic year working on his book in Cyprus, which is why we are here on this beautiful island. We moved here on August 29, 2012.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started writing on the blog about a week or so before our departure to Cyprus. My husband came up with the name, Seoul of Cyprus. He thought it would be a great way to share our experiences with our friends and family back home.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- Santa Claus is from America: Piano Man, our older one, is such an inquisitive little kid. His observations about life in Cyprus have certainly helped me to see Cyprus in a new light. And his interpretation of Santa Claus is quite hilarious.
- Protaras Beach: This has been a favorite among a few of my followers and friends on Facebook. The last picture of my little Linus and the other person in the picture tells you that we were not used to the topless beach going scene.
- Creative Parking: This one is a classic about the parking situation in Cyprus. I just haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Cyprus differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Oh goodness, yes! I have had to learn on the left side of the road. I expected adjusting to the culture to be difficult, so it helped me to let go of “my way or the highway approach.”
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Cyprus? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I don’t know if there is anyone who can say that they are fully prepared for a move overseas. Nothing could have prepared us for the misplaced luggage (all 7 bags!), living with just the clothes on our backs for five days, finding an apartment within hours, and having our DSLR camera stolen out of luggage when it did finally arrive at our new flat (aka apartment).
But there is not a single thing we would have done differently on our way to Cyprus, expect maybe remember to move the camera into one of backpacks, when the flight attendant told us to check in our small carry on bag. =)
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Ah, yes, my funny cultural exchange moment was when I met a Cypriot who asked me where I am from. I would say, I am from America in Greek. And then they would ask, “Where are you really from?” I tell them that my parents are from Korea. And then they ask, “North or South?” This is funny to me because I had never had anyone ask me that before. (In fact, it’s happened a couple of other times.)
I learned that people around us are learning about the Korean-American cultural experience just as much as we are learning about the Cypriot cultural experience.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Cyprus?
I only have two to share:
- Do you best to try to learn a little Greek (if you live on the southern side of the island). Modern Greek is tough, but a little effort goes a long way.
- Be open-minded! You are living in a new place. Embrace the differences. Don’t expect people to always conform to your way of thinking.
How is the expat community in Cyprus? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
We have been very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people. For us, we attend an international church, so we have had wonderful experiences in meeting many people from all different backgrounds. It’s been through church bulletins that I have also been able to attend mommy playgroups, which are not religious-based, in the church courtyard. I have been able to meet people from all over the world.
How would you summarize your expat life in Cyprus in a single, catchy sentence?
The most eye-opening, life altering experience ever!