Although Cyprus has a reputation for hospitality and friendliness when it comes to tourists, it is qualified by a general xenophobia when reality bites for those of us actually living here. I'm not suggesting that there is outright hostility, but it can be difficult to make friends, especially in Nicosia where generally there are fewer expats and Nicosians in particular tend to be a bit offish with outsiders. There is however an increasing mix of Europeans and those from further afield that add an interesting (and more friendly) twist to the nightlife (which is nevertheless crazily expensive).
There isn't much surf in the south and only sometimes snow on the Troodos, but plenty of great hiking country to be had. If you've never been outside the states before, you'll be in for a bit of a culture shock. Probably the biggest risk is being a pedestrian in the city - there is little respect here for the rights of the pedestrian and in practice the pedestrian does not have the right of way - a Filipino woman was killed at the end of our road in Nicosia only a few days ago (crossing a pedestrian crossing on WALK). In the States drivers cannot afford to knock someone over - here it is not even a misdameanour it seems...