Brit in Kıbrıs: Locked Down Again

Ceylan Atakan

Just as I thought the worst of it was over for this little beautiful island, February hit me like a ton of bricks. The reality that February this year, the month of love, in my reality, is overshadowed by the mark of a second lockdown has brought about so many more implications.

This time round has been very different, a bit like beginning to learn a new subject at school and not being sure how to do the homework. I feel as though it has been one huge rollercoaster ride, only in slow motion and all you can do is watch from the bottom, unable to see where it ends.

On a tiny island, where there’s only about half a million of us, if that in North Cyprus, the closing down of pretty much everywhere has set a sombre mood to say the least. The fact that all restaurants have been forced to close, without being able to supply take-away or delivery is beyond me. If it wasn’t enough that we’re all homebound and restricted to 08.00am – 5.00pm curfew, we can’t even gift ourselves a little snippet of happiness through the comfort of ordering a takeaway when we want. Here’s to home cooking! Food is an amenity, a necessity to survive aside from water, and eating out or grabbing a takeaway has become a frequent treat. Amongst all the luxuries we have been forced to give up, how is it that something as simple as takeaways have been taken away?

Living in North Cyprus through both lockdowns has been frightening, tough and stressful to name a few. To describe it in one word is easy; here goes…

Depressing!

It’s been depressing most of all. A period filled with loneliness, anger, frustration and the desperate need for physical touch and emotional intimacy that we as humans need for our sanity.

Oh the irony! The irony that locking us away in our homes and keeping us from having any physical contact is only for our own sake and purpose! It’s ironic that these lockdowns have done us far more harm than good, leaving anticipation as to how life will be when we can once more be outdoors like the times one is fond of.

Lockdown has taken a toll on our emotional well-being. Divorce rates have increased substantially, our nerves are tethered, and it is with a heavy heart that I even reference the suicide rate of the past year. It’s times like this when we reflect and realise how lucky we are to be surrounded by people we love, who give as much to us as we give to them.  

Even once North Cyprus slowly start to lift restrictions, we’ll still be abiding by rules and regulations and even a curfew, perhaps like most countries.

This month has been overwhelming to say the least, so I look forward to sharing more positive and uplifting days in sunny Cyprus. I am hopeful that we’ll appreciate the hugs just as much as we’ve missed them.

It has been extremely difficult for so many of us, if not all of us who have experienced lockdown in some way, shape or form. There is always a brighter day, even when it’s grey and dreary, the night falls with the moon and the stars. A light is always present.

“There will be storms, but after there will be rainbows, and that my dear is what one likes to call light.”

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