continuing saga of Sylvie,
a new resident of Cyprus
New? I don’t feel so new
first anniversary of moving day is less than a week away.
the words of Fagin, ‘I am reviewing the situation’.
Time to share the musings and the
The most asked question of
‘Any regrets about leaving
England, family and friends and relocating to Cyprus.’
The answer throughout the
year has varied with what ever is happening at the time, for of course
there have been ups and downs.
Had the most asked question
‘Will you relocate back to
My answer would always have been
So why the difference?
The regrets stem mostly from
missing people, especially family. I am sure these feelings are part of
the adjustment. Most of my family and many friends have visited me in the
past months. We had real quality time together; something that was
impossible when we saw each other regularly but were stressed out with the
problems of every day living. When folks arrive here they leave their
daily grind behind them after a few days and relax into the Cyprus
laid-back lifestyle. Then we have fun, renewing friendships and close
In November I returned to Britain
for two weeks. I tried to see as many people as possible in that time, but
from the moment I arrived at Heathrow I was counting the days until I
could return ‘home’’ to Cyprus. The cold and grey of Britain in
winter held no attraction for me.
inevitable happened, I did not have my own transport so the number of
people I could visit was limited. Those I did not get to see were upset
because we didn’t meet. In the end I wondered if the whole expensive
exercise was worth it. I am not sure whether I will repeat it again.
The family are enjoying having a
relative living in such a good holiday destination, so maybe they will all
visit me this year.
I did, however, learn some lessons
about managing my visitors.
From the beginning of September
until the day I left for England in mid November I had continuous
It was really fantastic to see
everybody. But as the weeks wore on I realized I was unable to continue
with my Cyprus lifestyle or meet my friends here because every day was
filled with sightseeing, visits, beaching, swimming, meals out and all the
things people like to do when they stay on this wonderful island. Each new
batch of visitors arrived eager for their holiday. Whereas I became less
and less like the hostess with the mostest as so many people came and
went. They were refreshed and I became more and more exhausted.
It takes stamina to cater for so many guests over such a long
This year the visitors begin in February and so far flights
have been booked for most months through to October. So my new and
unbreakable golden rule is nobody
stays with me. I have booked
accommodation for them close by instead. That way I get to sleep in my
own bed every night and we all have some privacy.
Traveling around Cyprus becomes more
and more enjoyable as the seasons change. All that I wrote in part one
still applies, but more so. In June I purchased a brand new duty
free car. It is great to have the independence of my own transport.
There is no point in me describing the process of duty free car purchase
because I am sure it will all change when Cyprus enters the EU in January
2004. Suffice to say the car purchase was a long drawn out affair with
miles and miles of red tape attached; but all worth it in the end. As
always a sense of humour and plenty of time is essential. One point about
the car I eventually chose. I was advised to go for a large car, like a
people carrier. At first this seemed like an unnecessary expense just for
me to ride around in. I did take the advice and it is invaluable, not only
for transporting the many guests, but also for going out with groups of
friends. The costs of motoring are relatively inexpensive. The road
network is good and improving all the time. Traffic is relatively light
except for the dreaded 6 roundabouts above Limassol and morning and
evening rush hours around any of the towns.
no problems at all with being an alien. The only times I have been asked
for sight of my alien’s certificate is during the car purchasing process
and for applications for loyalty cards at some of the big stores. After
January 2004 I imagine full EU rules will apply for foreign residents and
visas for EU citizens will be a thing of the past.. It is wait and see
time on the effects of membership.
Language The evening classes for
Greek language lessons at state schools are
intensive; 4 hours each week plus
lots of homework. If you miss one lesson it is very difficult to
catch up. The time factor for me was a problem (see visitor numbers). I
missed a class and that was it. Now I pay £10 per hour for private
tuition. I have one lesson per week plus homework. This suits me better as
it is one to one and I can change the times when necessary.
I found the teacher via an ad in my local supermarket. She provides
textbooks and records language tapes to help pronunciation.
I found a private language school who charged £8 per hour, but
they insisted on a minimum of 4 hours tuition per week, plus a great deal
Renting out my home in England has worked very well for the whole of the
year. My agent has been excellent. We keep in touch via e-mail and we are
both very happy with that system.
I am just coming to the end of my
year-long contract on my flat here in Larnaka.
The big question is should I now buy
my own property? I feel settled and happy. Why not buy?
For now I don’t think I will.
With the Cyprus problem so near to a solution and the entry to the EU just
a year away what will happen to land prices here? Will they go up or down?
I don’t have a crystal ball, neither does anyone else. My intuition
tells me to wait a while longer. For you, if you are thinking of moving to
Cyprus, the answer might be different. For me?? I am happy in my flat, if
it ain't broke don’t fix it!! Right or Wrong?
Watch this space.
At the time of writing part one my
household effects were rocking away on the high seas. They arrived safely,
but it seemed to take forever for unloading and customs clearance. It all
coincided with a public holiday (of which there are many) so that caused
delay. It was exactly 9 weeks from my boxes leaving England to arrival at
my flat in Larnaka. There was a small customs charge to pay. Everything
was delivered and I had the option of the men unpacking the boxes and
disposing of the packing material as arranged in England.
Everything worked fine. Only one
small item was damaged.
The arrival of my computer
was a wonderful moment. It was easy to connect to Cytanet via an existing
landline; it took just one phone call. I used their free telephone support
system to help in solving the initial problems of logging on to a new
system. Now I exchange daily e-mails with close family and keep in contact
with most friends in this way.
Snail mail is OK for birthday
cards and official stuff. The cost of postal stamps for Europe is
unchanged at 31 cents for sealed envelopes and 26 cents for unsealed
cards. The cost of telephoning to the UK has reduced during the year, and
made it possible to speak to the family on a regular basis.
income tax. I discovered there
is an advantageous taxation system for ex pats in Cyprus. It is possible
to opt to be taxed here rather than in UK. After 6 months of continuous
residency I applied to be taxed here in Cyprus. I am still waiting to hear
the outcome of my application. Plus entry to the EU will probably mean
many changes. Once again, watch this space.
During the year I have paid to
visit the dentist, a medical consultant and a laboratory for blood
I paid CYP 200 for emergency
treatment to a broken tooth and subsequently for a crown. How does that
compare with UK prices?
I had heard horror stories about
standards of dental care here and intended to visit my UK dentist during
my holiday. But the broken tooth changed all of those well-laid plans.
The dentist I visited had trained
in Athens, spoke excellent English and worked from a modern, well-equipped
dental surgery very close to my home. I had around 8 appointments prior to
the crown being fitted. His
dental nurse was kind and helpful too. I will return to the same dentist
if I need more treatment.
For the medical consultant.
I chose one on spec from the yellow pages. Made a telephone appointment
and had a three day wait until she could fit me in. This compares with a
2-year wait I once had to see an NHS consultant in UK.
I needed to have a blood analysis
before I saw the doctor. For this I went to a laboratory near by and paid
£20.Collected the results next day and took them along for the
consultant’s opinion. For one and a half hours consultation I paid
CYP20. I was given a thorough examination and good advice. Subsequent
visits will cost me CYP15.
Had I opted for medical
insurance I would have paid out far more than this in premiums.
Had I required
treatment I would have paid out considerably more than the insurance
What will you opt for?
Tricky isn’t it?
I will conclude my ramblings on a
positive note. I am here for the foreseeable future. No thoughts about
moving back to the UK. All the talk of war with Iraq does not make me want
Like the rest of the world,
I wonder what the future holds?
Please feel free to
e-mail if you have any points you would like to discuss, or any
further information you would like.
Part 1 here
Part 3 here