licensed atosan
Stories of the Past/Present
by Maria Nestorides

Before I came to live in Cyprus, my life had been quite nomadic: a year here, two years there, on loop. This small island in the middle of the Mediterranean gave me my first glimmer of hope of a stable home, but these roots began to form in a most unexpected way.

I knew next to nothing about my new city, Nicosia, and even less about its history. In an attempt to map it out in my mind, I explored. When I asked “How do I get to ‘X’?” the answer was an unvarying, “It’s next to/opposite [insert Landmark name].” I quickly discovered the important markers I needed in order to navigate the streets of the old quarter: the National Theatre, the Famagusta Gate, the Cyprus Museum, the Venetian walls, and the Liberty Monument, to name but a few. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was part of a bigger picture. My rusty Greek slowly improved, and I found myself gradually managing to speak the language, in more ways than one.

I belonged.

The more I explored, the more I realized that these landmarks told the stories of the ideals, the beliefs, and the way of life of the many men and women who had wandered these neighborhoods before me. The passion and creativity that had burned within them had breathed life into inanimate objects, transforming them into works of love which, in turn, whispered stories of our shared human experience to my soul.

Ultimately, I got much more than I bargained for in my search to know my way around my new home, because these landmarks not only taught me how to get to “X,” but they also welcomed me into their city and made me a part of their story.

PHOTO: Nicosia, Cyprus, by Atosan, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Cyprus is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean. The third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean, it is located south of Turkey and southeast of Greece. (Source: Wikipedia)


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prompt was a tough one for me. I’ve moved around quite a lot in my life, and found I couldn’t pinpoint one particular landmark I wanted to write about that had a little more depth to it than just an exciting visit. I spent a good few weeks mulling the theme over in my head trying to find a way to approach it that would be meaningful to me. I’m happy with what has come from my heart and I hope you enjoy reading it too.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken at the Kouris Dam, in the Limassol district of Cyprus, in 1994, the year I arrived.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Nestorides lives in sunny Cyprus. She is married and has two adult children. She has an MA in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. Her short stories have appeared in Silver Birch Press, The Story Shack, Red Fez and Inkitt. She also contributed a six-word memoir to the book Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: by Writers Famous and Obscure, by Larry Smith and Rachel Fershleiser (Jan 6, 2009). Find her on Facebook and Twitter.