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Brother Mark is a pseudonym of The Reverend Dr Robert Jaggs-Fowler, a clergyman, physician, writer and poet. His biography can be found at: www.robertjaggsfowler.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reflections of a Tourident

The following article first appeared in Pissouri Contact 46, 10 October 2009 (http://www.about-pissouri.com)

It is possible (albeit unlikely) that the Oxford English Dictionary will one day include the following entry:

tourident

noun. 1 a person who is new to, and still learning about, a community, but who owns and occasionally resides in a property within that community. 2 a cross between a tourist and a resident.

My wife (Linda) and I are touridents in respect to Pissouri, having taken possession of our new apartment in the village in the spring of this year, and only managing three short visits thus far. However, there are advantages in being in such a position.

One benefit is that Pissouri is still an open book to us. We know what the picture on the cover looks like, and have read the blurb on the fly-leaf. However, we have thus far only progressed through the first few chapters of the contents, and most of the story is yet to reveal itself to us. Some characters appear on a regular basis, there are constant introductions to new ones, and many more exist, of whom we have only heard snippets and have yet to physically meet. Meanwhile, we are gradually treated to two unravelling storylines, where the historical meets the contemporary; tradition meets modernity; Cypriot meets newcomer; different cultures interact. The result is a plot worthy of that classic English novelist, Thomas Hardy, and just as enjoyable.

One aspect which is very evident to us is that Pissouri is a community. It is not just a collection of disparate individuals, who happen to live near to each other (as is often found in cities). Furthermore, Pissouri is a friendly community, consisting of individuals who know each other, who live and work together, who share interests and visions, who depend upon each other, and who strive to achieve collective goals for the better of the society in which they reside. That is the outward face of Pissouri. For the new-comer, whether it is the casual day-tripper, or the tourident, Pissouri has the appearance of a congenial family.

However, like all extended families, there are naturally disagreements, arguments, irritations, clashes of personalities and, inevitably, a few 'black sheep' whose actions are unpleasant and disturbing. Linda and I have now 'read sufficient pages' of the narrative, to understand some of these issues. However, far from spoiling the 'picture postcard' image of Pissouri, these issues make Pissouri even more genuine; even more of a community; even more of a family. Perhaps surprisingly to some, therein lies the village's strength. Families must learn to live with each other and make allowances for the likes and dislikes of individual members. Where there are differing points of view, compromises have to be reached and harmony restored. That is the richness of family life. Without such interaction, relationships are bland and nothing is achieved. Diversity of thought should bring people closer together in order to find and develop the common ground. That is, I believe, what is happening in Pissouri, and has probably been happening for many years past. The rich tapestry which is the modern Pissouri is the summation of all that has gone before. The beauty is that every now and again, someone will twist the kaleidoscope and the picture will shift slightly again, bringing new dimensions to what is already priceless.

My thoughts will probably say nothing new to those members of the collective community of Pissouri who were either born in the village, or who have been resident for many years. However, as a tourident, we are looking at the community with a fresh set of eyes, and what we see is, overall, a power for the good. Linda and I feel that we have recently married into a new extended family. We are slowly getting to know how the family 'ticks', but what we have learned thus far is that Pissouri is a friendly and welcoming community, and one to be valued. It is a community we are glad to have joined.

And remember, when the word 'tourident' does enter the Oxford English Dictionary, it was here that you first read it!