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Birkibrisli's Cyprus dairy...My first 17 years in 7 days...

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Postby BirKibrisli » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:14 am

Birkibrisli wrote:On a bright and sunny October day,my second day in Cyprus,I got into my TCB's car and headed for Istinjo,for the first time in 40 years. Andreas (humanist) and his mate Jim followed in another car driven by Kafenes.The irony did not escape me. 38 years after I left Cyprus,and 33 years after my family was forced to leave the place they called home for hundreds of years,I was returning accompanied by 2 Cypriots of GC background,One of Armenian background,and a Canadian of British background,all of who I had met yesterday for the first time...Such is life ,my friends.And such is the magic of the internet forum called the Cyprus-Forum...If anyone had read my coffee cup 3 years ago and told me this would happen I'd have thought it most fanciful...

For as long as I remember Istinjo was served by two public buses.
One was owned by Rauf Usta,the senior of the two drivers. The other was owned by Kachak Ali or Ali,the Deserter...Ali deserved his Deserter tag simply because he had deserted from the British Army in WWII. The buses left for and from Nicosia on alternate days...Mother preferred Rauf usta, because he was a good and reliable driver. He also had good manners. While Kachak Ali was a bit of a lad,and had an eye for the ladies...

The trip to and from Nicosia took over 12 hours. We'd start at 6am,still half asleep,and reach Istinjo often after 7pm. Along the way we passed through Larnaca,Limassol,and Paphos towns plus every other village in between as required by the passengers and cargo demands..Mother was always very well prepared. We had food and drinks and books and games to keep us occupied. I mostly read or spend long hours looking out the window taking in the sights of cliff hanging vineyards,mountain goats,olive and carob groves,and the pine covered mountains...

On arrival we could hardly wait to get out of the bus. After the obligatory handkissing and greeting our grandparents,we would rush to the chicken coop at the end of the backyard. Then out the front door and to Aunty's house which stood at the other end of the plum orchard surrounded by mandarin and pomegranate trees. And beyond that to the stables to greet our favorite donkeys,goats and sheep... We would sometimes get unpleasantly surprised. Someone's favourite animal was bound to be missing,having been sold or consumed in our absence...After grieving for the whole of 5 minutes,we'd pick another goat or sheep or chook to be our favourite for the holidays...

But the faithful wallnut tree was always there,waiting for us with open arms,in the middle of the orange and apple orchard. We'd quickly climb up to find the carving marks we'd made over the years...Here was a heart with an arrow through it with my name and the name of my GC sweetheart...There the name of one of our cousins who was my sister's forbidden childhood sweetheart...


The main house in Istinjo was built like a castle. It was a two storey square building made of stone,timber and mudbrick. On the second floor there were 3 huge bedrooms. The bedroom facing the road had two huge windows complete with ironbars and woodden shutters. This was Grandpa and Grandma's room. It also served as living room,and had an open fireplace in one corner...

Grandma and Grandpa's separate beds stood side by side at the other end of the room. His was a single bed with a firm mattress. Hers was an old-fashioned,high ,double-bed complete with metal poles and a mosquito net.
No one was allowed on Grandpa's bed but me. Being the only boy,I had the privilege of being allowed to go to sleep in it. Sleep time was special in Istinjo. I'd lie on Grandpa's bed looking at the 2 shotguns cross-hanging on the wall opposite. The sight of those guns and the full cartridge belt hanging beside them gave me a sense of comfort and security.And the sound of the conversation between Mother,Auntie Bahire,her elder sister,and the grandparents was my lullaby. On winter nights the crackling sound of the fire provided a most soothing special effect. Later on my Auntie Bahire's husband would come from the coffee shop to see her home in the dark. He would pick me up and carry me ,sleeping, to their house just across the garden. Auntie's only son was usually away studying in Turkey,so I was a welcome reminder of him in his bed next to Auntie's...

The following incident took place in Auntie's house. It is still a cause of hilarity amongst those who remember it... As I said I slept in a single bed next to my Auntie's bed. My Uncle,her husband,slept in his own bed on the other side of the room. The toilet was out in the garden. At night I was afraid to go out in the dark,so Auntie put a chamber pot at the foot of my bed. One night I woke up,got out of bed,and headed straight towards the chamber pot. But I did not stop there...I walked to my Uncle's bed and proceeded to empty the contents of my bladder on his shiny, bald head..By the time he woke up and called out to his wife,I was safely back in my own bed. "There must be big rats in the ceiling," said my Uncle,"look how wet I am!" Auntie helped him change his clothes and the bed clothes,but she was not convinced that this much piss could possibly come from any rat, however big it might be...So she didnt go back to sleep but lay in wait. Sure enough a few hours later I got up again and headed straight to the shiny,bald head with the same intention. She rushed and grabbed me just in time and led me to the chamber pot.
The next morning when I woke up and headed to Grandma's house for breakfast,I was puzzled to see my normally sombre Grandma break into laughter and fell off her chair at the sight of me...When Mother ,Auntie and Grandma finally recovered enough to tell me what I had done during the night,I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me...I made them promise they would never tell Uncle the real source of his discomfort that night. They kept their promise,and poor Uncle went to meet his maker believing he was set upon by some giant rat hiding in the ceiling...


(to be continued...)
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Postby BirKibrisli » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:59 pm

Birkibrisli wrote:
Birkibrisli wrote:On a bright and sunny October day,my second day in Cyprus,I got into my TCB's car and headed for Istinjo,for the first time in 40 years. Andreas (humanist) and his mate Jim followed in another car driven by Kafenes.The irony did not escape me. 38 years after I left Cyprus,and 33 years after my family was forced to leave the place they called home for hundreds of years,I was returning accompanied by 2 Cypriots of GC background,One of Armenian background,and a Canadian of British background,all of who I had met yesterday for the first time...Such is life ,my friends.And such is the magic of the internet forum called the Cyprus-Forum...If anyone had read my coffee cup 3 years ago and told me this would happen I'd have thought it most fanciful...

For as long as I remember Istinjo was served by two public buses.
One was owned by Rauf Usta,the senior of the two drivers. The other was owned by Kachak Ali or Ali,the Deserter...Ali deserved his Deserter tag simply because he had deserted from the British Army in WWII. The buses left for and from Nicosia on alternate days...Mother preferred Rauf usta, because he was a good and reliable driver. He also had good manners. While Kachak Ali was a bit of a lad,and had an eye for the ladies...

The trip to and from Nicosia took over 12 hours. We'd start at 6am,still half asleep,and reach Istinjo often after 7pm. Along the way we passed through Larnaca,Limassol,and Paphos towns plus every other village in between as required by the passengers and cargo demands..Mother was always very well prepared. We had food and drinks and books and games to keep us occupied. I mostly read or spend long hours looking out the window taking in the sights of cliff hanging vineyards,mountain goats,olive and carob groves,and the pine covered mountains...

On arrival we could hardly wait to get out of the bus. After the obligatory handkissing and greeting our grandparents,we would rush to the chicken coop at the end of the backyard. Then out the front door and to Aunty's house which stood at the other end of the plum orchard surrounded by mandarin and pomegranate trees. And beyond that to the stables to greet our favorite donkeys,goats and sheep... We would sometimes get unpleasantly surprised. Someone's favourite animal was bound to be missing,having been sold or consumed in our absence...After grieving for the whole of 5 minutes,we'd pick another goat or sheep or chook to be our favourite for the holidays...

But the faithful wallnut tree was always there,waiting for us with open arms,in the middle of the orange and apple orchard. We'd quickly climb up to find the carving marks we'd made over the years...Here was a heart with an arrow through it with my name and the name of my GC sweetheart...There the name of one of our cousins who was my sister's forbidden childhood sweetheart...


The main house in Istinjo was built like a castle. It was a two storey square building made of stone,timber and mudbrick. On the second floor there were 3 huge bedrooms. The bedroom facing the road had two huge windows complete with ironbars and woodden shutters. This was Grandpa and Grandma's room. It also served as living room,and had an open fireplace in one corner...

Grandma and Grandpa's separate beds stood side by side at the other end of the room. His was a single bed with a firm mattress. Hers was an old-fashioned,high ,double-bed complete with metal poles and a mosquito net.
No one was allowed on Grandpa's bed but me. Being the only boy,I had the privilege of being allowed to go to sleep in it. Sleep time was special in Istinjo. I'd lie on Grandpa's bed looking at the 2 shotguns cross-hanging on the wall opposite. The sight of those guns and the full cartridge belt hanging beside them gave me a sense of comfort and security.And the sound of the conversation between Mother,Auntie Bahire,her elder sister,and the grandparents was my lullaby. On winter nights the crackling sound of the fire provided a most soothing special effect. Later on my Auntie Bahire's husband would come from the coffee shop to see her home in the dark. He would pick me up and carry me ,sleeping, to their house just across the garden. Auntie's only son was usually away studying in Turkey,so I was a welcome reminder of him in his bed next to Auntie's...

The following incident took place in Auntie's house. It is still a cause of hilarity amongst those who remember it... As I said I slept in a single bed next to my Auntie's bed. My Uncle,her husband,slept in his own bed on the other side of the room. The toilet was out in the garden. At night I was afraid to go out in the dark,so Auntie put a chamber pot at the foot of my bed. One night I woke up,got out of bed,and headed straight towards the chamber pot. But I did not stop there...I walked to my Uncle's bed and proceeded to empty the contents of my bladder on his shiny, bald head..By the time he woke up and called out to his wife,I was safely back in my own bed. "There must be big rats in the ceiling," said my Uncle,"look how wet I am!" Auntie helped him change his clothes and the bed clothes,but she was not convinced that this much piss could possibly come from any rat, however big it might be...So she didnt go back to sleep but lay in wait. Sure enough a few hours later I got up again and headed straight to the shiny,bald head with the same intention. She rushed and grabbed me just in time and led me to the chamber pot.
The next morning when I woke up and headed to Grandma's house for breakfast,I was puzzled to see my normally sombre Grandma break into laughter and fell off her chair at the sight of me...When Mother ,Auntie and Grandma finally recovered enough to tell me what I had done during the night,I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me...I made them promise they would never tell Uncle the real source of his discomfort that night. They kept their promise,and poor Uncle went to meet his maker believing he was set upon by some giant rat hiding in the ceiling...


(to be continued...)


Downstairs at street level we had the kitchen,the dinning room,the bathroom and the various store rooms where Grandma reigned supreme.
These store rooms were out of bounds for us.Hence they were magical,mysterious places. Like the caves in Ali Baba and 40 Thieves,they were irresistable ,and we'd sneak in at every opportunity to look for treasures and delights hidden in the various earthenware jars of all sizes. Jars full of wallnuts,almonds,dried figs and prunes,olives,carob syrub (pekmez),hellim(halloumi),and our favourite snacks,sucuk made of grape juice and wallnuts, and Paluze...These were all our own produce,harvested and prepared by Grandpa's "share farmers"...

In the open courtyard, infront of the woodfire bread oven, there was a large concrete pool for pressing grapes.Tons of grapes,both black and white, were brought in from our vineyards and pressed by workers in the old fashioned way: by their bare feet. Sometimes,if we were good,we were allowed to get in on the action.It was lots of fun stomping on squashy grapes which sometimes came upto our knees. There was one occupational hazard however. Bees...They'd decend upon the grape pool in their tens and twenties,and it was impossible to avoid getting stung at least once during a session. But it was all worth it. I remember many nights getting into Grandpa's bed with an eye or an ear or a finger swollen
to gigantic proportions,and having difficulty sleeping due to the terrible itching. The smell of the homemade grape vinegar used to treat our wounds is still very much in my sense-memory...


My older sister B. has a special place in my life. She was only 18 months when I was born. Mother swears that B. spoke her first full sentence when she was 3-months old. Every day at the same time Mother used to pick up B. and go and check if the chooks had laid their eggs. They would pick up any they found and brought them inside.This went on for weeks and weeks till one day,being a particularly busy day,Mother forgot about the eggs. Rushing about getting her chores done she was distracted by sounds coming form B's cot. She could not believe what she was hearing.
B.,at 3-months old,kept repeating this like a broken record : "Anne...acaba tavuklar dogurdu mu?" ("Mum...have the cooks laid their eggs")...

By the time I was born B.was walking and talking like a 3-year old. She was apparently extremely jealous of me. After her various atempts to murder me failed (setting me on fire,sitting on my face etc) she ran away from home at age 2 and-a-half and refused to come back till I was sent away to where I had come from. This went on for a few days and Grandma (whose house across the road she had sought shelter in) had to tell a lie to make B. come home. She told her I was found at the local rubbish tip,and it was Allah's wish that I be looked after. Not only did she come home,but she proceeded to become a second mother to me,making sure that I was safe and sound when Mother was busy elsewhere...

(to be continued...)
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Postby Nikitas » Sun Dec 16, 2007 2:37 pm

It just hit me! Instinjo= Is tin Kio, what a dumbkoff I am, not to think of it earlier.

Love the descriptions of life in the village. It brings to mind my one and only true holiday in another village not far from Istinjo. When I say true holiday it is because it was the one time when there were no worries, thoughts or cares other than what was going on at the time. Bir, you bring back a lot of that magical dreamy month.

MORE PLEASE!
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Postby denizaksulu » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:57 pm

Birkibrisli wrote:
Birkibrisli wrote:
Birkibrisli wrote:On a bright and sunny October day,my second day in Cyprus,I got into my TCB's car and headed for Istinjo,for the first time in 40 years. Andreas (humanist) and his mate Jim followed in another car driven by Kafenes.The irony did not escape me. 38 years after I left Cyprus,and 33 years after my family was forced to leave the place they called home for hundreds of years,I was returning accompanied by 2 Cypriots of GC background,One of Armenian background,and a Canadian of British background,all of who I had met yesterday for the first time...Such is life ,my friends.And such is the magic of the internet forum called the Cyprus-Forum...If anyone had read my coffee cup 3 years ago and told me this would happen I'd have thought it most fanciful...

For as long as I remember Istinjo was served by two public buses.
One was owned by Rauf Usta,the senior of the two drivers. The other was owned by Kachak Ali or Ali,the Deserter...Ali deserved his Deserter tag simply because he had deserted from the British Army in WWII. The buses left for and from Nicosia on alternate days...Mother preferred Rauf usta, because he was a good and reliable driver. He also had good manners. While Kachak Ali was a bit of a lad,and had an eye for the ladies...

The trip to and from Nicosia took over 12 hours. We'd start at 6am,still half asleep,and reach Istinjo often after 7pm. Along the way we passed through Larnaca,Limassol,and Paphos towns plus every other village in between as required by the passengers and cargo demands..Mother was always very well prepared. We had food and drinks and books and games to keep us occupied. I mostly read or spend long hours looking out the window taking in the sights of cliff hanging vineyards,mountain goats,olive and carob groves,and the pine covered mountains...

On arrival we could hardly wait to get out of the bus. After the obligatory handkissing and greeting our grandparents,we would rush to the chicken coop at the end of the backyard. Then out the front door and to Aunty's house which stood at the other end of the plum orchard surrounded by mandarin and pomegranate trees. And beyond that to the stables to greet our favorite donkeys,goats and sheep... We would sometimes get unpleasantly surprised. Someone's favourite animal was bound to be missing,having been sold or consumed in our absence...After grieving for the whole of 5 minutes,we'd pick another goat or sheep or chook to be our favourite for the holidays...

But the faithful wallnut tree was always there,waiting for us with open arms,in the middle of the orange and apple orchard. We'd quickly climb up to find the carving marks we'd made over the years...Here was a heart with an arrow through it with my name and the name of my GC sweetheart...There the name of one of our cousins who was my sister's forbidden childhood sweetheart...


The main house in Istinjo was built like a castle. It was a two storey square building made of stone,timber and mudbrick. On the second floor there were 3 huge bedrooms. The bedroom facing the road had two huge windows complete with ironbars and woodden shutters. This was Grandpa and Grandma's room. It also served as living room,and had an open fireplace in one corner...

Grandma and Grandpa's separate beds stood side by side at the other end of the room. His was a single bed with a firm mattress. Hers was an old-fashioned,high ,double-bed complete with metal poles and a mosquito net.
No one was allowed on Grandpa's bed but me. Being the only boy,I had the privilege of being allowed to go to sleep in it. Sleep time was special in Istinjo. I'd lie on Grandpa's bed looking at the 2 shotguns cross-hanging on the wall opposite. The sight of those guns and the full cartridge belt hanging beside them gave me a sense of comfort and security.And the sound of the conversation between Mother,Auntie Bahire,her elder sister,and the grandparents was my lullaby. On winter nights the crackling sound of the fire provided a most soothing special effect. Later on my Auntie Bahire's husband would come from the coffee shop to see her home in the dark. He would pick me up and carry me ,sleeping, to their house just across the garden. Auntie's only son was usually away studying in Turkey,so I was a welcome reminder of him in his bed next to Auntie's...

The following incident took place in Auntie's house. It is still a cause of hilarity amongst those who remember it... As I said I slept in a single bed next to my Auntie's bed. My Uncle,her husband,slept in his own bed on the other side of the room. The toilet was out in the garden. At night I was afraid to go out in the dark,so Auntie put a chamber pot at the foot of my bed. One night I woke up,got out of bed,and headed straight towards the chamber pot. But I did not stop there...I walked to my Uncle's bed and proceeded to empty the contents of my bladder on his shiny, bald head..By the time he woke up and called out to his wife,I was safely back in my own bed. "There must be big rats in the ceiling," said my Uncle,"look how wet I am!" Auntie helped him change his clothes and the bed clothes,but she was not convinced that this much piss could possibly come from any rat, however big it might be...So she didnt go back to sleep but lay in wait. Sure enough a few hours later I got up again and headed straight to the shiny,bald head with the same intention. She rushed and grabbed me just in time and led me to the chamber pot.
The next morning when I woke up and headed to Grandma's house for breakfast,I was puzzled to see my normally sombre Grandma break into laughter and fell off her chair at the sight of me...When Mother ,Auntie and Grandma finally recovered enough to tell me what I had done during the night,I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me...I made them promise they would never tell Uncle the real source of his discomfort that night. They kept their promise,and poor Uncle went to meet his maker believing he was set upon by some giant rat hiding in the ceiling...


(to be continued...)


Downstairs at street level we had the kitchen,the dinning room,the bathroom and the various store rooms where Grandma reigned supreme.
These store rooms were out of bounds for us.Hence they were magical,mysterious places. Like the caves in Ali Baba and 40 Thieves,they were irresistable ,and we'd sneak in at every opportunity to look for treasures and delights hidden in the various earthenware jars of all sizes. Jars full of wallnuts,almonds,dried figs and prunes,olives,carob syrub (pekmez),hellim(halloumi),and our favourite snacks,sucuk made of grape juice and wallnuts, and Paluze...These were all our own produce,harvested and prepared by Grandpa's "share farmers"...

In the open courtyard, infront of the woodfire bread oven, there was a large concrete pool for pressing grapes.Tons of grapes,both black and white, were brought in from our vineyards and pressed by workers in the old fashioned way: by their bare feet. Sometimes,if we were good,we were allowed to get in on the action.It was lots of fun stomping on squashy grapes which sometimes came upto our knees. There was one occupational hazard however. Bees...They'd decend upon the grape pool in their tens and twenties,and it was impossible to avoid getting stung at least once during a session. But it was all worth it. I remember many nights getting into Grandpa's bed with an eye or an ear or a finger swollen
to gigantic proportions,and having difficulty sleeping due to the terrible itching. The smell of the homemade grape vinegar used to treat our wounds is still very much in my sense-memory...


My older sister B. has a special place in my life. She was only 18 months when I was born. Mother swears that B. spoke her first full sentence when she was 3-months old. Every day at the same time Mother used to pick up B. and go and check if the chooks had laid their eggs. They would pick up any they found and brought them inside.This went on for weeks and weeks till one day,being a particularly busy day,Mother forgot about the eggs. Rushing about getting her chores done she was distracted by sounds coming form B's cot. She could not believe what she was hearing.
B.,at 3-months old,kept repeating this like a broken record : "Anne...acaba tavuklar dogurdu mu?" ("Mum...have the cooks laid their eggs")...

By the time I was born B.was walking and talking like a 3-year old. She was apparently extremely jealous of me. After her various atempts to murder me failed (setting me on fire,sitting on my face etc) she ran away from home at age 2 and-a-half and refused to come back till I was sent away to where I had come from. This went on for a few days and Grandma (whose house across the road she had sought shelter in) had to tell a lie to make B. come home. She told her I was found at the local rubbish tip,and it was Allah's wish that I be looked after. Not only did she come home,but she proceeded to become a second mother to me,making sure that I was safe and sound when Mother was busy elsewhere...

(to be continued...)



What a remarkable village, where cooks lay eggs! :lol: :lol: This guys in love :lol:
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Postby karma » Sun Dec 16, 2007 11:44 pm

="denizaksulu
What a remarkable village, where cooks lay eggs! :lol: :lol: This guys in love :lol:


I will have to agree with you Deniz coz in same village the chooks are giving birth (dogurmak) instead of laying eggs (yumurtlamak) :lol:
He is surely in love...what a lucky girl :D
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Postby Sotos » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:51 am

Birkibrisli, did you "feed the chooks" under that walnut tree ;)
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Postby BirKibrisli » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:55 am

karma wrote:
="denizaksulu
What a remarkable village, where cooks lay eggs! :lol: :lol: This guys in love :lol:


I will have to agree with you Deniz coz in same village the chooks are giving birth (dogurmak) instead of laying eggs (yumurtlamak) :lol:
He is surely in love...what a lucky girl :D


Okey you ,smart arses!!!

In Cyprus chooks lay eggs (yumurta dogururlar- literally,give birth to eggs),and some cooks too I am sure!!! :D

In Turkey chooks lay eggs (yumurtlarlar-literally they make eggs).
I am not sure what cooks do in Turkey. Most probably they also yumurtlarlar! :lol: What are you two going to "yumurtlamak " now???

For non- Turkish speakers, "yumurtlamak" colloquially means 'coming out with a silly remark'.. :lol:
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Postby BirKibrisli » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:57 am

Sotos wrote:Birkibrisli, did you "feed the chooks" under that walnut tree ;)


No,mate. I fed the chooks in that wallnut tree! :lol:
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Postby BirKibrisli » Mon Dec 17, 2007 2:00 am

Nikitas wrote:It just hit me! Instinjo= Is tin Kio, what a dumbkoff I am, not to think of it earlier.

Love the descriptions of life in the village. It brings to mind my one and only true holiday in another village not far from Istinjo. When I say true holiday it is because it was the one time when there were no worries, thoughts or cares other than what was going on at the time. Bir, you bring back a lot of that magical dreamy month.

MORE PLEASE!


Your feedback and comments are most appreciated,Nikitas.
Thank you... 8)
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Postby humanist » Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:51 am

:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):) now whose falling off their sit in laughter :):):):):):):):):)


Birk
These store rooms were out of bounds for us.Hence they were magical,mysterious places. Like the caves in Ali Baba and 40 Thieves,they were irresistable ,and we'd sneak in at every opportunity to look for treasures and delights hidden in the various earthenware jars of all sizes. Jars full of wallnuts,almonds,dried figs and prunes,olives,carob syrub (pekmez),hellim(halloumi),and our favourite snacks,sucuk made of grape juice and wallnuts, and Paluze...These were all our own produce,harvested and prepared by Grandpa's "share farmers"...


Are you sure your a Turkish speaking Cypriot Birk, because I swear it sounds just like my grandpas place and us kids visiting them. I get it if your a Cypriot child in Cyprus prior to 1974 your likely to share similar lifestyle and storis to go with it. I guess its all about being CYPRIOT.
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