Over a delicious breakfast in the sun, looking at Aphrodite Beachfront in Lefke area, we meet up with a very interesting man named Paul Coppicus. He approaches the breakfast table with firm steps dressed in flip-flops, with his long hair swaying in the wind.
Over a nice cup of coffee we introduce ourselves to each other. Paul comes from Calgary, Canada and has lived almost everywhere in the world. He now lives permanently in Northern Cyprus and he really enjoy his life here.
-What are you working with here in North Cyprus?
“Nothing. I retired from the Canadian Army a few years ago, after 29 years of service, and now I’m working on getting my master’s degree online through a university in the UK. ”
“Here at Aphrodite, it is quiet and relaxing with few distractions in the winter, but in summer it is filled with lots of different people to interact with, every few weeks. Some are new to me, but others are familiar from the years I traveled here before retiring. I interact with many people from Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, Russia, England, Ireland and Scotland. I also have some very good local friends, not just ex-pats and tourists. ”
-Are there any cultural differences?
“Sure, but that’s the best part of living internationally and Aphrodite Beachfront is a resort so you meet many different cultures, there is a reason why I like this. Due to travellers coming here, and students at the universities, there are many people from around the world that contribute to an interesting mix. ”
-Why did you come to North Cyprus?
“Even in the Canadian Army, I saw many different cultures and customs. When I started planning my retirement a few years ago, I knew there was more attractive alternatives than to stay in Canada, and the idea of living abroad appealed to me very much. ”
So you live here full time?
“Yes, I moved here in April 2013 and applied for residence visa immediately. The process was pretty efficient and I have lived here ever since. When I travel, there is very easy access to the UK, Europe or Canada. For example, I fly from Ercan to Istanbul, then straight to Toronto, or from Larnaca to London, which runs directly. From Cyprus I have access to all the interesting places in the world; Asia, Europe or the Middle East. ”
-Why did you choose to stay just in North Cyprus?
“As North Cyprus is not linked to the poor economy in Europe or North America. Interest rates are not kept artificially low, so I get a significant return on a normal savings account. I get my pension in Canadian dollars and the currency is strong against the Turkish lira, so my salary increases in comparison, and in addition, the cost of living is much lower here than in Canada. I looked into other countries as well, especially Belize, Panama, Chile and Uruguay, but I prefer the culture and food around the Mediterranean. I remember my time here in 1993 with UNFICYP and decided that I wanted this life. ”
Is it better to live here?
“Most certainly. Most things are cheaper here. I have a beach condo here that would have cost three times as much in Canada, but with the cold and snow instead of sun and sand. Golf prices are reasonable, the food is excellent but cheap, especially if you know how to cook. Service is also cheaper here than in Canada, as when I had custom wood cabinets installed in my apartment. ”
-Do you have any communication problems?
“Not at all. I speak only English and functional French, but most people here speak English quite well. I think the locals are generally very friendly and they help when they notice a language barrier. I even have a friend who speaks very little English and I speak no Turkish, but we get along well anyway. ”
To stay in Northern Cyprus has been life changing for me. After 29 years in the Army, I could not retire in Canada, without having to continue to work for many years. Now I’m retired, at age 47. I can enjoy life and upgrade my education living on a Mediterranean jewel. Will I work in the future? Possibly, but it will be a choice and not a necessity.