Frozen Cypriots meeting
19 May 2016
By Kathy Martin…
Aynur Rigby, who lives in Leeds, became my friend via the Facebook Group “Frozen Cypriots”. When she knew the dates of her regular summer trip out to her home in Bellapais, Northern Cyprus, she suggested to me that not only would she like to meet me BUT how about if we arranged a gathering of others from the Frozen Cypriots group.
Allow me to start at the beginning. Frozen Cypriots, for those readers who may not be aware, is, in my opinion, one of the best groups on Facebook. Cypriots, around the whole world, and for that matter others like myself, who love this paradise island, post photos appropriate to the island. Whether we live in South Cyprus or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) we are all Cypriots (wherever we originally came from).
Their statement is “We will not tolerate any political attachments, posts or sayings in any form, it will be deleted. The idea of Frozen Cyprus came from Facebook friend Salahi Akinci, from Lapitos, today as we (Salahı Akıncı and Mete Teoman) were chatting about Lapitos. He describes people like us trapped in the past beauty of nostalgic, retro or any other times of Cyprus and its turbulent past are simply frozen Cypriots. This group is open to anyone friendly. It’s suited to people who live away from Cyprus and have nostalgic attachments to Cyprus. Feel free to chat and upload your pictures. English is the main language, Turkish and Greek are welcomed, as long as they get translated to English”.
The group is very well monitored by various members who live around the world, including Mete Teoman in Australia, Wanda Forrest in UK and Sarah Strong in Cyprus, just to name three!
Some of you may remember my previous blog – the link is at the end of this blog (My memories around Alistair’s death (5) – my new life) in which I told the story of meeting other virtual friends for the first time.
Over the years I have loved seeing the photos of many people, have shown a collage of fauna photos, some by Engin Sah and Gill Moon. There are too many members, who post photos, to mention them all by name, here are four of the sunrises or sunsets placed by Kiymet Avaroğlu, David Woodley, Christine Joy Harriman and Philip Sugarman.
About a month ago, Aynur first invited members of the group to join us at Alesta’s restaurant in Girne/Kyrenia on Thursday 19th May 2016. When several members said they would be away and couldn’t attend then, we suggested Tuesday 24th May 2016. This new date was fine BUT some of the first acceptors now couldn’t attend. So it didn’t take us long to decide to hold the meetings on both days!
Aynur arrived for her three week holiday, on Monday 16th May 2016 and we met, for the first time, in the flesh, so to speak, at the Doğanköy Coffee Shop. Over the six months, since I lost my beloved husband, Alistair, I have made so many friends around the world, via Facebook. I appreciate many people cannot understand how one can become “Friends” with virtual people, but all I can say is that my experience has been that YES you can!
Thursday 19th May dawned, with a few clouds hanging over the mountains (wide awake at 04.30!), but I was not going to allow a few clouds to dampen my enthusiasm for the day ahead. Knowing parking is not always easy, I arrived at Alesta’s restaurant at midday, expecting an hour or so’s wait until others arrived. Alesta (Ali Guvenay) and his staff were all prepared for us.
As Stephen, head waiter and I had no idea how many people would turn up, we started with tables joined to make 12 seated. This was more or less fine!
We actually had the following people arrive. David Woodley brought his wife Valerie; Pam Schofield arrived with DJ Mike (he has a wonderful programme on Radio Bayrak Radio every Sunday at 10.00); Margaret and Mike Lonergan were closely followed by Aynur and Mike Rigby – by now observant readers may have noticed that we were in danger of being overrun by the “Mikes” of this world! David was feeling slightly outnumbered!
However, Perin and Ersoy Erilen arrived to help even things out. Aynur was quick to explain that she had got chatting to Perin on her flight to Cyprus and invited them to join us. They quickly realised that a great number of us were meeting each other in the “Real world” for the first time, so settled into the group!
We think we may find that Perin will want to join Frozen Cypriots!
To ensure no difficulties with the bills etc Aynur had visited Alesta’s restaurant earlier and arranged for us all to pay our bills, when we ordered our food. This worked extremely well and when checking at the end found that this had proved to be a very easy way to handle things!
We were already eating our lunch when Levent Osman, Cansev Korcil and Levanta Gursen arrived, but as all they wanted was a drink this was not a problem.
Being a shy and retiring sort – I don’t think! – I called for attention and thanked everyone for coming and saying how much Aynur and I had enjoyed arranging the event. Some members will be back on Tuesday 24th when we have our next meeting.
There was huge demand for us to repeat this at the end of September when we hope that Mete Teoman will be visiting Cyprus. David and Valerie Woodley will be back for their autumn visit and will definitely attend!