A wave of grief swelled up in me when Leylim asked me not to leave last night, “First night and last night!” Only an hour before Arzu had asked me how I feel about going back to the States. “Mixed.”
“Keep your heart with you,” encouraged Umit. 🙂 How can I not when life rewards me with such sweet meetings? Early yesterday morning, I’d told Fatih I wanted to spend my last night with old friends instead of new ones. I meant it when I said it, but life doesn’t always conform to expectation. Instead I had a perfect day and perfect night with five new people and seven old friends. Quality time with a dozen people in one day! Who would ever have imagined my capacity could expand so much?
Liminal Turkey (as I’ve subtitled my holiday here) has done its work in me. Warning: My sentimental streak is in high gear. Double warning: I won’t apologize for the excess I can’t contain! 🙂
I got started late even though I woke up early. Instead of throwing a blanket on Erdem’s face to wake him this morning I tried shaking his feet. Three times. Finally the woman in the bunk above was also disturbed by his alarm (she thought it was mine), so I roused myself, getting out of bed to go to the head of his bunk and shake the dude. I was pleased to be awake and alert after our (unphotographed!) late night and immediately dove into work.
There were conversations to have with Gunseli, Nina, and Fatih. The morning stretched luxuriously into early afternoon. Yikes! I was supposed to be “doing things!” I bumped into Jillian as I readied myself to leave and it turned out her afternoon was free. “Have you been to Moda?” she asked me? Nope. And we were off. 🙂
After much meandering &emdash; in conversation as well as path &emdash; we arrived at a cay bahcesi.
Since it was my last day, Jill offered me “the better view.” I accepted but then realized I didn’t want to see the city, I wanted more of the water as my visual horizon. “Perfect! I get the mosque,” she said. “Perfect!” I responded, “I get the open sea.”
Something in me chafed a few times….wasn’t I in a hurry to get somewhere? I noted this temporal residue: being in a constant rush, as if whatever I was engaged in was en route to somewhere else where there was (supposedly?) something “more.” I reminded myself that the only destination is now. Besides, I really did not have anything else that needed doing! A few phone calls to touch base and coordinate schedules offer some proof of the “Mediterranean attitude” I’ve absorbed. (Of course we’ll have to see how long it lasts once back in the gristmill of the academic calendar.)
The afternoon floated along like sailboats. Eventually, it was time to rendezvous with Arzu and Ahmet for dinner: delicious crab salad. The evening’s pre-planned schedule faded: more “things to do next time.” Instead, I viewed Ahmet’s first short film, The Trashcan, listened to some of his mixes, and burned Kabakoz photos for Arzu. We were starting to wind down when the phone rang. Ten minutes later Umit and Leylim arrived. I sucked down some coffee fast. 🙂 We enjoyed some dessert and stretched our wings in stimulating conversation. Meanwhile we perused Arzu’s artwork. We laughed often and deep.
I flew until my body stopped (hi, Claire). 🙂
Returning to the hostel conjured the sense of coming home, a place of respite, affection and teasing after respective days full of who knows what. Old (!) friends &emdash; including Recep, Özcan, Erdem, and Olga &emdash; opened, closed, and touched the middle of the day. New friends filled it with light.