I was a little nervous; about checking in, about going through passport control, about renting a car, getting to Nicosia, managing to pay the passport fee at a bank, finding the embassy... Once we got to the airport and through passport control however, I relaxed. This time I came armed with a residence card for Max and his father’s signature, and was allowed to leave with him - without my master/husband.
The flight went well, as did the car rental. There was a moment there, however. Did you know that in Cyprus, people drive on the left side? Well, I didn't. Thanks for adding that, there, God. As if the whole trip wasn't challenging enough. I am very grateful for my friend, who so nicely came with me for practical and moral support, because driving alone on the left side with a baby - who hates car seats - in a car seat in the backseat would have been... stressful. It took both of our full concentration to navigate from Larnaca to Nicosia; my friend did the actual practical steering of the car, while I directed, “OK, to turn right, you have to turn all the way over to the other side. There, aim for that phone booth! You need to drive right past that sign! Stay on the left side! Here, over here! [gesticulating] Turn around the corner here, and follow the curb.” It really was a work for two. When we finally arrived at the hotel in Nicosia, it was late; we were both exhausted and extremely wound up at the same time. After check-in we went out for some food: pork kebab, tzaziki, taramasalata, Greek bread - and then headed to bed.
I hadn't slept very well, still a bit anxious to get the paperwork done in the morning, but everything went well. I applied for Max’ Swedish citizenship and a new passport for myself. The Swedish embassy on Cyprus is really small, and the personnel was very friendly and helpful. We were done and back at our hotel room a bit after 10 am, leaving some time for a rest and packing before check out.
Our flight was leaving in the evening, which left us an entire afternoon to visit IKEA (we enjoyed some Swedish food and I bought wine glasses) and go to the beach. It was crowded – a lot of Swedes and Norwegians, burned like lobsters, drinking beer and swimming in the sea – but the sand was soft and the water fresh. Even Max got to dip his little feet in the water. For supper we tried finding a nice restaurant in Larnaca, but ended up driving to the airport and grabbing a bite there. We were both tired and wanted to make sure we had no problems getting home. When we successfully returned the car without a scratch, my friend and I high-fived and hugged from joy and relief. The rental guy looked at us funny. What an adventure.
It was such a short trip, but it felt long, probably because of the stress, and it was great to come home. I walked in the house with sandy feet and a big smile, and Abraham yelled at me for going to the beach without him, but the Swedish candy I had brought quickly made up for it.
My new passport will not arrive for another couple of weeks – it should arrive before we leave for the US, but of course I’m a bit nervous about this – and my VISA interview at the US embassy is tomorrow. I’m praying that they will not give me a hard time and deny/delay my VISA because of my passport situation. We’re anxious to start our adventures, and in light of recent events (the rocket hits), we’d like to leave as scheduled. Wish me luck!