Last year, some of our students went on a spring cultural trip to Cyprus! We asked two of them, Bora Shim '18 and Eugene Kim '18, to reflect on their time there. Here is what they had to say!:
Let me recall my memory of the first day of our trip...
Yes, we are here. An island in the Mediterranean sea gleaming with turquoise blue under the azure sky, Cyprus. Lead by the Fantastic Four leaders, we started our journey by leaving the school at 3am. Were we tired? I'll say, nope, we weren't. More like excited, we all hopped on the bus and flew to Cyprus. I remember leaving school at 3am and it is now 3pm in Cyprus.
The hotel was much better than my expectation. It was like staying at Four Seasons, or even better. Now you all know what I mean, right? We couldn't wait to enjoy the private beach for the afternoon. Beach, a cold drink, and friends are all we need to enjoy the day after such a long trip. The first dinner in Cyprus, I'll say it was awesome!
Ms. Graham and Mr. Bray offered us a small trip to the Old Town before going to the donkey ride. Surprisingly everyone rejected the offer except room 424 members (Bora, Moeka, and Eugene)! It was wonderful. Mr. Bray should have made this a mandatory trip, not an optional one. Seriously, it was beautiful and we had so much fun! First, we looked around some local souvenir shops. The Κάστρο Λεμεσού (Limassol Castle) that had some culture to learn about was closed but we still got to look through the Early Christian basilica (4–7th century CE) architecture style and how they made olive oil back then. Pretty cool, huh? Later, through some rainbow umbrellas there was an ocean in front of us welcoming to take some more photos! After getting a fruit bubble tea, we spent about half an hour to shoot some shots for Instagram!
Hee-haw, are you all ready for a donkey ride?! Full of excitement, we headed to the donkey farm. We had loads to enjoy before the donkey ride. The best part was the greeting drinks and the cheese. Our new friend Mario, the driver, was such a sweet guy. He explained that all the food provided on the farm is handmade by the farm owners and the ingredients are all-natural harvested from the garden next to the farm. We had a short drive to an Orthodox Church to learn some Cyprus culture before fetching our donkeys. There was a sad story behind the creation of the church. A famous architect made his nephew go and build a church to learn something from it. When he went to check him out how he's doing, he found that his nephew was going to be a much better architect than himself. He got jealous and pushed his nephew from the roof. Well, uncle murdering his own nephew, that is a sad story.
Hop on, yes, you! My donkey was bigger than Mr. Jackson's donkey and Andrea's! Donkey riding was so different from horseback riding. It was like a sheep herd all crowded together. Something you would likely to experience at 8am in a Korean subway station during weekdays. But it was a must do for sure!
Pleasant dinner, cool music, and dances were waiting for us after the donkey ride. The food was pretty much the same with the first day's dinner. I guess this is what Cyprians eat usually, like how Koreans always eat rice and kimchi. Personally, I really enjoyed the dancing.
Now I'm handing my laptop to Eugene, our ex-vice president.
Busy morning to start off our third day... It's diving day! After a chill breakfast with the (unbearably cute) cats of Cyprus at our side, several people took on a Discover SCUBA Diving experience to explore the Mediterranean seas. Upon arrival, we were met with a warm welcome from the local diving instructors and led through a safety briefing and guides regarding the equipment we will use. I didn't know all that gear would be so heavy! After some practice drills in the shallow beach, we took a boat to the diving site where we made a grand entrance to the marine world. Behold, the backflip drop-in! Aside from the mystical underwater ecosystem, the sensation of breathing underwater was enough to blow my mind. As for everyone who didn't go diving, don't worry! On-beach snorkeling, speedboat rides, and simply chilling at the beach was surely enough to have as much fun.
The afternoon was the highlight of fine Cyprus cuisine. We got a taste of the drink of gods! Our visit to the local winery was first greeted by our host and an impressive winemaking tank. After getting a tour of the vineyards and equipment involved in winemaking, we were invited to have a taste of local delicacies including olive oil, fruit syrup, and wine. The host appeared to be particularly pleased with Peter's enthusiastic olive oil tasting, an admirable move as the group's acclaimed food master. The seemingly wide range of drinks coming from a single grape species explained how the plant came to be a huge part of the island culture. One could only imagine how much history and culture could be involved in a single type of drink, and, indeed, now I know why wine is often referred as the "droplet of gods".
Goodbye Cyprus. It’s been amazing.
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