it had been a while

June 30, 2014

Last week I headed out for a walk with Mahir, it had been a while since I had done one of those night walks… it started in Tarlabaşı, then to Kurtulus, Cihangir, Beşiktaş,then around back to Tarlabaşı. We were out for 3,4 hours. I took photos, but didn’t check the camera setting so… the results were not the greatest… but here are some images

in the friendship park

in the friendship park

trees in the night

trees in the night

strange waters

strange waters

the long shadows of Mahir and myself

the long shadows of Mahir and myself

passing cloud

passing cloud

a night of many cats

a night of many cats

street

street

another feline

another feline

they are everywhere

they are everywhere

baby

baby

these were all in this same park... endless number of cats

these were all in this same park… endless number of cats

shadows and light

shadows and light

leaves

leaves

meeting place

meeting place

remember Gezi?

remember Gezi?

would he have cried?

would he have cried?

this is light... no paint

this is light… no paint

old home

old home

old fountain

old fountain

otopark

otopark

moto

moto

political besiktas

political besiktas

dog

dog

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short bits…

June 24, 2014

What a day.  hmm… actually it`s been quite the week.  

I had a vivid, vivid dream a couple of nights ago.  I had this full production, film and narration about the nature of woman.  I woke up and the words were weaving themselves clearly, so eloquently into a theory.  A brilliant expose.  There were beautiful images..  and I tried to grasp it, and I said to myself: `i`ll remember in the morning, this is too clear.` of course I didn`t.  

I must keep a notebook by the bed.  Lately there has been many extremely clear dreams.  I wake up around 4 or 5 am stunned… then I panic because I should go back to sleep because I need to wake up early for work…  There always seem to be a conflict between jobs that you keep to pay the bills and your job as the unique human being that you are that requires that you listen and obey those whimsical commands, be it mid day or mid night.  

All I can remember is that it validated all that is female that is now negated, even vilified in our twisted societies (east and west) 

Be it the burka or the bikini, in my eyes they both are symbols of the denial of what is truly woman, turning the feminine into a sort of slavery.  Diminishing of the female spirit into something that only recognizes her as a body.  

***

Today I recorded.  Oh how humbling it is each time.  with Volga, from Turkey on darbuka, Joan from Spain on classical guitar and myself singing and playing.  We had a struggle with sound.  No headphones for us all…  so we were trying to find each other in the sound scape, used that we are to loud volume and now trying to find the dynamics.  Towards the end, we started to get a grasp… but I always am quite critical with these things… once we were outside, we listened for a few short moments in the control room and we started to smile so that is a good sign.  We are dreaming out loud about going to play on tour in Katmandu, japan, india…  Volga has contacts there…  and I said, maybe we can come and tour in Canada?  USA?  

***

What is the heart?  Well I am starting to think it is a hoax.  I saw this today… and I know this..  and I am trying to get to this…  

“Try not to confuse love with attachment.  

Attachment is about fear and dependency and has more to do with love of self than with love of another.  

Love without attachment is the purest love because it isn’t about what others can give you because you are empty.  

It is about what you can give others because you are already full.” 

Hmmm… working on it.  failing, trying, failing again…  To be continued i guess…

***

Other than that?  
I have my ear to the ground.  New winds…  a change I feel.   I have been meeting new faces and they are bringing new ideas, new realities.  Istanbul is incredible that way…  every turn, every week, magic is to be found…  I need to go back to meditating…  

All my love, Oh beautiful friends…  

DSC00003

I have posted much words lately, been lazy with the images… here are some

Meron and Mahir just before he left in May...

Meron and Mahir just before he left in May…

intense game

intense game

good times at Atolye

good times at Atolye

the beautiful Kimberly came to visit us one last time, she is about to eat this hand made pizza by Ibrahim

the beautiful Kimberly came to visit us one last time, she is about to eat this hand made pizza by Ibrahim

Mahir climbed the tree at Kahve Dunyasi to get some dut  :-)

Mahir climbed the tree at Kahve Dunyasi to get some dut 🙂

night in Tarlabasi

night in Tarlabasi

Party at Chillout with Samuel and Joan and friends

Party at Chillout with Samuel and Joan and friends

Mahir and Orçun

Mahir and Orçun

The day, the moment I realized I got the permit to stay another year in Turkey

The day, the moment I realized I got the permit to stay another year in Turkey

Chillout party

Chillout party

On the ferry to Burgaz island with the Chillout gang

On the ferry to Burgaz island with the Chillout gang

Mehmet Can

Mehmet Can

green

green

flowers

flowers

  no picnic, no fires, no grill and hand written:  no sex allowed!

no picnic, no fires, no grill and hand written: no sex allowed!

on the island once were these flowers

on the island once were these flowers

and these

and these

the gang on the way up

the gang on the way up

the view from there

the view from there

break at the top

break at the top

summer

summer

and there were horses

and there were horses

mom

mom

dogs

dogs

fresh fruit

fresh fruit

and the sea

and the sea

and the beach

and the beach

oh water..

oh water..

...that splashed Mehmet Can and Ayna!

…that splashed Mehmet Can and Ayna!

we found a spot to take a break

we found a spot to take a break

with dogs too

with dogs too

cool compadre

cool compadre

and we had melon

and we had melon

Then I had to leave early because I was playing a concert that night, I missed the ferry to Kabatas, took another one, landed in Bostanci I think, then it was dolmus to Kadikoy, where we had to get off because the traffic was snarled up, down the street we saw why, there was a protest in progress, police, toma and all that stuff… we made it to the ferry terminal safe, but missed the ferry to Karakoy, I called Mahir and asked him if he could bring my guitar to the gig, as I would not have time to go get it. He said yes! then we took the next ferry, landing in Karakoy at 8:55. I was sweaty and tired from a whole day walk but I arrived to Atolye to find a bowl of hot, homemade soup, a double espresso. Mahir arrived with the guitar and the show happened. I made it home around 2 AM. Fantastic day!

Monday June 9

up early, today there is much to do. I get to Chillout at 8. It’s a quiet morning, no one is up, the hostel, quiet starship cruising gently as Istanbul slowly awakens. I get things ready in the kitchen then sit with Talat and we talk about all sorts of things in the gentleness of this young born day.

I know there will be much to do later so I savor this time. We have a group from Holland who have breakfast at the hostel, so they will keep me busy later. But what is really on my mind though, are the last steps towards this residence permit application. As you know it has been incredibly convoluted just to learn what was actually needed. With new rules being implemented differently in each district, massive confusion and at times panic surrounds this procedure everywhere I hear of it. I heard of a few who failed to renew and have to leave for 3 months in order to be able to be here again.

Yesterday two very important steps were achieved. First, the heath insurance, then the rental agreement. Two things that seem simple but required so many attempts, phone calls, varying stories, unsuccessful tries and the ups and downs these caused. I persevered. A few days before I became completely at peace with the whole process. I stopped fighting. I figured that since I am really trying everything possible, what happens will be what must happen and I finally let the static and the nerves drop.

I had to go get money to pay for the insurance premium in a bank machine. I decided to pay it with a credit card and pay it back as soon as any money comes in. I first go to the machine and since I so rarely use these, I found myself looking at the keyboard dumbfounded when I was requested to write my PIN number. I came back to me that there are no letters on the Turkish bank machine keyboards.. my Canadian PIN numbers I recall by letters… So I shrugged and thought, “of course this simple thing could not just be simple” I walked back to Chillout checked my Skype keyboard and figured out what numbers the letters correspond to and walked back to the bank machine. It worked.

The Insurance company was to send a representative to the hostel to pick up the money and hand me the papers around 1 PM. At 10 something AM he shows up. I have 1700 lira in my hands ($850). It feels like a gigantic fortune in my hands. I realize that I have not touched so much money in a very long time. I live with anything from 50 to 100 lira a week. ($25 to $50) this seems so non-sensical… so much money for something I will likely never use. All these bits of paper in my hands the whole machine they imply… I count them 2, 3 times. Yes, it’s the right amount. I hand it to the man who counts them again. Pelin is right there and I am very thankful for it as it’s all taking place in Turkish, fast and business like. I only catch bits and pieces. I realize how much I am literally disabled. Yes, without help it would be like walking in a thick fog in the night. Crossing your fingers hoping everyone is honest.

He gives me a fancy folder with two copies of the policy. Hands shaken and he’s gone. Wow… I look at Pelin. We did it! “Step one” I said.

Step two is about getting a notarized rental agreement. Pelin comes with me. We go to her flat to get her rental contract. Then back to Istiklal. We go up 3 flights of marble steps into an notary public office, absolutely looking as if right out of the 50’s.

“Buyrun?”

Within about 15 minutes it’s all done. Gulp. Wow. “Step two” I said. this is almost too easy… but that would be ignoring the three past attempts to get this done one way or another.

Step three, is about showing a big balance in a Turkish bank account, money to live on for a year. I have been making money transfers since last week, bit by bit, but they tell you it can take up to 5 business days to get the money transferred. I go to the bank, take a number, wait and wait and wait… almost 45 minutes… there is a strange numbering system, I learned later that people can use their credit cards to get their numbers and this way get ahead in the queue…. not very democratic… so I see a number of people who got there way after I did, getting helped before I do. Patience. I take a deep breath and relax. Finally my number comes up… “benim defteri yaz…” I don’t know how to say this… but Serhat bey gets my drift and prints my bank book. Balance: 0.00

Hmmm… all right. Step three isn’t going to happen today… there is always tomorrow.

Tuesday June 10

Up early again. Today is THE day. June 10th… I am actually 2 days late from the “10 days” I was given when I could not get all the paperwork on my May 29th appointment. Step three needs to happen. While thinking about all this, it dawned on my that when I went to the bank in Istanbul, it was 4 AM in Canada. So that means that there is a chance still that some money arrived on Monday. It’s a busy morning, up and down the stairs I go. At 11:15 Pelin tells me “You can go to the bank…” but something happens upstairs and she has to go fix it, she asks me to stay at reception while she goes up. Yeah, no problem. I am thinking: “the police will be closed from 12 to 13:30. I can just go to the bank at 12 when I’m finished working and after that go to the police station. So as I am taking it easy cleaning the last dishes downstairs Pelin comes and tells me:

“It’s 11:45, you should go to the bank…”

“They close for lunch?”

“Yes.”

I dropped everything and grabbed my bag and gallopped down to Galata, I must have made it in about 4.5 minutes.

Serhat bey is there, he asks me if I ran, I said yes. He prints my bank book. Paraniz var mi? Param var! I don’t have my glasses but I see that it’s not zeroes. I thank them and run back up the hill to Chillout. I see Pelin:

“There is money.”

“How much?”

“I don’t know, don’t have my glasses.” We laugh.

I get the glasses and look. Param var! There is only a little bit more needed. Pelin loans me the amount needed. I will go back to the bank at 13:30 and deposit that, then get the paper for the police. We’re on track.

In the mean time, I check all my documents, all is there. I get a little plastic sleeve and organize everything so I am not fumbling around at the police station. I message Mahir. “I will go to polis around 2, wanna see things unfold?” he says yes a few minutes later. He has been through so much of this, he should be there.

Round two at the bank, I go back I deposit the cash, get the book updated. Ask in my dire Turkish about “paper for Hikamet… polis…” He gets me and says:

Go to the 2nd floor and ask for Uğur bey.

“Uğur bey” I repeat.

I go up, but there are half floors… and on what seems like the second floor there is a sign on the door that says something to the fact that this is for employees only… so I end up on the third floor, being thoroughly ignored as I walked in an office. One man walks in…

“Buyrun?” He asks

“Uğur bey?”

“ikinci kat, blah blah, aşada… blah, blah…”

Hmmm I think… iki is two… yes, it is… “Ikinci kat mi?”

“Evet”

OK… second floor… I go down… cannot find.. the only door is this “employees only door” I go back up… confused… I go back to this man.

“çok pardon, anlamadım, ikinci kat ofis nerde?” (I”m very sorry… I didn’t understand, the second floor office where is it?) he walked me to the door that said “employees only”

in there, it is a vast space with only two people. It is so quiet, there is a man and a woman. The man looks up looking almost annoyed… I launched bravely in my bad Turkish.

“Polis kağıt istiyorum, hikamet için…” he looks at me puzzled. The woman got it, she goes and looks at the printer there, picks up a form and asks me if I am Danielle Hebert, I say yes and then the process is underway. Uğur bey signs, stamps and does what office people do and finally hands me the form.

He says that now I have to see Barış bey on the first floor, çok teşekkur ederim, I thank them and walk back down, Sehat bey is looking at me, I say Barış bey nerde? He points to the man at the desk. Barış bey is a smiley fellow. I think they get a kick out of watching me try to speak Turkish and going through these motions clumsily. He gestures for me to come in, “otur!” “sit” he offers pointing at a chair. He signs the paper and suddenly I realize that step 3 is done.

I run back up to Chillout. I have the money paper, the rent paper and the insurance papers. I have photocopies, photos, form. I have everything. Mahir is there. We head out for the moment of truth at the police station. There, we immediately get to the counter, no one there yet. Luck is with us. A few people walk in after us and they have to wait in line… One paper after another… I feel a bit of nervousness… then I think: “don’t be nervous. It is all perfect. No matter what the result is. Mahir acts as my translator, guardian angel. They speak, I didn’t get much… we go out.

“Now we have to go to the tax office and the other office on Istiklal, to pay more money. We head up to Istiklal, hop on the running tram, laughing as we scared a tourist who was standing there when we appeared out of nowhere. They took pictures of us, and pictures with us, hanging outside the gate. At the tax office, it is up to the 2nd floor. A man looks at my papers… then says “Which address?” I realize that since the beginning of this process, things having evolved as I went, there are now 3 addresses on there… uh oh… this could be trouble… well it would be in Canada… We try to play it cool, both of us, sheepishly looking at each other and kicking each other under the desk…

“oh, it’s the address on the rental agreement, which I realize I would have no idea what it is if I had to tell someone where I live. Somehow it all slides by. We grin at each other…

“Go downstairs to pay now.” the man tells us. So we go. First window. Same woman as last year. We hand her the receipt, she tells us to go to the next window, we pay the man sitting there behind the glass with exact change, which I just so happened to have, 177 lira. Teşekkur ederim! We run out of there all smiles in the mid afternoon sun.

Woo… now office number 2 on Istiklal. The Gods are with us: the tram is just about to go. We hop on in again, ride to Galata Saray… walk a bit to this other government office. Up 3 floors. To a wicket that looks again right out of the 40’s 50’s. Another 50 lira, another bit of paper.

“Güle güle!!” says the man and we climb back down the stairs and head for the last bit of bureaucracy at the police station.

Again we walk in, the coast is clear, we get to the desk, the officer has shed his police shirt for a civilian t-shirt. We hand him all the papers… more talk between him and Mahir… and we exit.

“So? ” Does it mean…? Success? Mahir looks at me, a subtle smile on his face. “Yes.” Mahir explains that it will be a month before I get a letter from Ankara with my new kimlik kartı.

we hug. Wow. … Really… you mean… OK… It’s a done deal?

“Lets go, he says…”

“Wait, wait… I have to take this in…”

I look around. The blueness of the sky, the gold of the light. The birds flying above us. My heart fills with joy. Oh my. Really… and it slowly starts to dawn on me. More and more over the next hours… bigger and bigger. I have another year. Whoa… really… I think how I should really get things together. First pay off this insurance and all the banking fees that I have accrued with these transfers… There is much I want to do. And I also want to live well. This is actually one of the things about being here: the way of life. There is no money but there is such a wealth of moments, faces, friends, sights that just fill me with joy. And I got the gift of another year.

A bit later my phone rings

“Can you play at Atolye tonight?”

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

Then I meet with Hooman one more time before he flies back to Iran. He offers me a gift. From his mother, sister, friends and all the people of Iran he says. He opens up his notebook, and there lays a hundred US dollar bill. He said something about the obstacles of life and the dreams we have. He told me how he was helped when he tried to reach his dreams and that now he could pay it forward by giving me this money. I am moved deeply. That will help me pay back this insurance thing.

Oh how the universe provides when you jump in towards what you love, what you want, what moves you. And when you are moved, the world is moved and moves… always motion, travel, head held up confidently, smile on the lips. Oh life how incredible you are.

Ah this stupid word processor could not open any slower… I am restive, restless… I finished reading three books this week.. my fingers are itching to write, my mind boils over, the moon is teasing me, the wind blows over Beyoğlu. My head is full of pieces of words, feelings, colors, that push me around, tickle, pinch me as I stumble in the center of the circle of them, it’s a mad game. Na, na na na naaaa naaaa…

***

Angel, my love, where are you? How are you? Our moon is showing its belly and wisps of clouds cover that belly like a veil. Remember looking at the moon together, arm in arm deep in the night in Istanbul? I feel your absence on these streets… Istanbul cajoles me, flirts with me while you own Beirut on the other side of the Mediterranean, you and your velvetness. You and your impossible laughter. You know, Istanbul is emptying itself of all that made our world? Karakedi and all its beautiful people are gone, yes I know, not forever but right now, the streets are to be rediscovered, because what was, isn’t anymore…

***

Beds, bed sheets, all colors, I can’t figure out which ones are the double bed ones, so I stretch one purple one over the worn mattress and it doesn’t reach. I sweat as I put over-inflated pillows in tight worn cotton pillow cases of all colors and shapes. Tic toc says one. I love London says another. A blanket cover red and white with moose on it. Almost Canadian.

***

Stay or leave. In a few days I will finally know. I promise myself much projects, endeavors like making much needed money but I know damn well that it’s going to be whatever comes in front of me. The lady from Arya Hotel said something about working for a week, 100 lira a day I think, dusting, no beds to make… That is, if I understood correctly yeah… I could do that for a week.

***

Dirty bathrooms, beer bottles and cigarette butts in the double rooms. Sex and alcoohol I don’t see why you’d mix the two. To me all senses on is the way, no dulling with intoxicants… Fabio, swears a storm trying to make himself interesting while prancing around. But he complains too much, not cool dude… OOoooo! Your from Quebec!!! I love Quebecois women! He told me. But he’s full of it. Playa… Oh Fabio, Fabio… the game is so transparent, there is no fun in that. Everything exposed for all to see. Blah…

***

Hey! Bartin, where are you? Yeah, I know where you are. It’s just that I miss my people… I miss your growling and rolling eyes and finger twitching when things would irritate you. I miss your laugher. Too many friends have up and gone in the last while… Maybe I can go visit you soon in that paradise by the Agean sea.

***

Tonight I walked through the pazar as they were tearing it down. I followed two skirted, scarved, well covered women, I wanted to feel what it would feel like, but about 75 seconds into it I had to pass and go on, it’s just too slow for me. They must think I am always in such a hurry… long booted steps. The ground is covered in places by countless cuttings of vegetables, Some vendors still have their wares out for the late shoppers, darkness is coming, almost there. The dim light bulbs over the stalls make a sad light. Bir lira!! Bir lira!! vegetables, fruits, bedding, kitchen things, skirts and socks and candles and anything you might need. I have not seen a shopping mall for a year now. They have everything. The tarps are coming down. Ropes dangling among the last customers. A table is walking in front of me… a table with feet, and hands, gloved in yellow thick work gloves. I cannot see the man, just that table bigger than the man advancing slowly in front of me in the crowd. A brown, rough wood table with numbers spray painted on it. On the right, nuts, dried fruits. They are packing it all out. Ağabey!!! Said the smiling kids to a man tearing down his booth. These kids who know more about work and doing business than most Canadian 20 somethings.

***

From home I can hear the market. From home I can hear everything. Since the warmth has arrived the lives of the people of Tarlabaşı takes place outside. All windows open, women on the doorsteps, kids on the street, work places open their doors and add their own sounds to this exhorbitance of aural output. I have never lived in such densely populated human surroundings. Drums, clarinets, babies screaming, cats caterwauling, mothers, children, fathers yelling, Turkish rhythms and sad songs, scooters ripping the night, bangs of firecrackers, gun shots, car engines, garbage bin being kicked around. car horns, all rising thick like a Mississippi fog. The very air is sound. There is no empty spaces, no brackets of silence in which to retreat into, but somehow all this become wide and huge, it becomes the whole sky, the whole universe, it becomes infinity, so in a way we’re floating free in this as if in a delusional heaven of clouds and angels. There is a sort of safety with this sound. I wonder how my bağlama melds and weaves through this sound tapestry when i play. The Ezan, rising from 1,2, 4 ,10 mosques around, sometimes it works, sometimes its utterly mad dissonnance. I focus on one voice … Aaaaaaaaallllaaaaaaaahhhh… I don’t know if you can get what I mean… it’s all so foreign for us Westerners… we’d consider this all an unacceptable chaos to be tamed and conquered with rules and bylaws. But here it’s life… So much damn, amazing, incredible life. All there, vibrating, perpetrating, brutal and fragile.

***

Hands in the bleach, smelly toilet. Fuck. I hate that smell of mold and excrement and hot water mixed with hand soap… I need to wear a bio-hazard suit. But I’ll fucking clean it all, because it must be done. Excuse my swearing… I rarely swear anymore, but shit and its byproducts will make me swear.

One night an acclaimed singer, quasi rock star, the next morning hands in the shit. Some hostel customers put the mild polite smile tolerant people use for the “cleaning staff” or what’s that word… Oh yeah! : “Custodian” that word has no smell attached to it. It is such a clean word. You feel in that word that you are in good disinfected, bacterially neutralized hands. Yes, that smile, a bit of pity, condescending, the smile the owner of a platinum visa card pastes on while he enjoys his privileges and before he gets the bill and the fees. But for me today is so cool. Ayna could not come to work, her back kept her bedridden. We couldn’t find a replacement on a Sunday morning, so I helped. Got the broom, the mop, the cleaning basket and a whole load of clean bed sheets, blankets, and pillow cases and headed up, up, up and got ‘er done.

I felt so good because I could help. I don’t really care about much else. Helping gives the best feeling of all. Like when I played Thursday, at one point everyone was cheering, laughing, enjoying the atmosphere, and after a songs I asked :” Aren’t we all so lucky? I mean, look around…” they did and they agreed and cheered louder. Life is good.

***

I was just walking up the street, it is lined with fancy restaurants. It is a tourist area. This place is a Meyhane, one of the kind of places I’ve never been to because I just could never afford any of it. Yes, been here a year and I never did tourist things… There were three men wearing crisp white shirts, black trousers, standing outside on this gorgeous night trying to entice customers in. One of them invited me in to eat.

Param yok! I said. ( my money does not exist!) no money for such things. I expected to just be on my way after that. But the man suddenly offered free food.

On the house! It’s on the house! Free!! The larger of the three men said. I laughed and said:

“Why?”

and that somehow took him completely aback.

“uh… On the house! Free!”

“Nothing comes for free!” I said laughing. He tried some more, but really my stomach was full and I didn’t need anything I told him so and thanked him, maybe one day I would but now I was in no need of such food. Actually today Hooman had so graciously paid for an unexpected lunch and cafe earlier. my stomach was happy, the universe had taken care of me.. actually come to think of it, I was also given an espresso early this morning..hmmm… anyways… then he asked:

“Something to drink then? Wine, beer…” I made a face,

“Well thank you but I don’t like wine.” he was puzzled. We settled for tea, tea is OK, tea is fair and I’m not abusing anything or anyone. They all started to talk to me,

Where are you from? How long in Istanbul, I told them then I explained that I am a musician, he asked me to sing I asked:

“In Turkish?” Uzun ince bir yoldayim…

OK, in French! Quand il me prend dans ses bras…

OK in English! Let be, the love that stills the heart… Ooooohhh he swooned. Turks fall in mad love so quickly.

They tell me they will go to the first Island in a week, gave me a card. I should go visit them.

“Arkadaş var mı?” (do you have a boyfriend?) it was the second one of them to ask me that question in a few minutes.

“Var! he’s crazy and beautiful! I said, Gitmem lazım” I added, (I must go) They all said goodbyes, all smiles. They are so beautiful. Hassan gave me what we call in French a “baise main” a light kiss on the hand. I walked away as they kept calling: “Danielle! Good bye!” waving at me until I turned the next corner.

Beautiful moment. Beautiful moments… I love this place.

Damsel in progress

June 7, 2014

IMG_0069

Round and round she goes, round and round she runs.

So close yet so far….

Do not sell the skin until you have killed the bear…

This too shall pass…

blah di blah, blah, blah!

I made more rounds yesterday, was almost touching the ribbon at the finish of the race, arm extended, fingers reaching… then the Gods added a few more kilometers, just to see if I could do it, so I’m still in the race.

There has been so many loops, detours, returns and false starts in this quest for this residence permit, it’s either too funny or too sad. My flat mate Mahir, budding film maker, asked me if I would be cool with me if he used this whole quest to making a short film with. He’s helped me so much along this process already. He saw the events unfurl from the very front row seats.

Soooooo…. I have to show a pile of money in a Turkish bank account as part of the requirements. After eluding the banking sharks in the swim part of this triathlon, I managed to open my very own Turkish bank account. Smile, Yay, success… one battle won but certainly not the race. To follow this, I had problems initiating the transfers, security measures, understandable, that was overcome fairly easily. Then came immense issues trying to get access to internet banking for my Turkish account… we called them three times, tried 6 times and failed at every attempt. I still cannot access this internet banking… but onward we stride still.

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Yesterday, with Mahir the course’s demanded for us to get the rental agreement notarized. We get the official form, get a letter written with Orçun’s help, photocopies, ID papers, passport ready, we head for the police office (they now know me on a first name basis…) they say our papers are all good so we head confidently to the notary,once there,they tells us it is not Kosher. Mahir’s ID papers have to be updated, they were good enough for the police but not for them… sooooooo no go. Now an added ability course has been added to the race, he will have to take a day to get this completed, running from one bureaucrat to another, then back to the first one and hopefully all works out. And to add to the mounting deadline pressure, he has to wait until Monday, business day, to get this done.

Insurance. Two days ago on a phone conversation we were told that yes, they will issue a policy and that we can pay once the permit is actually granted. If it is denied, no problem. Yesterday on another phone conversation I am told that no, the premium has to be paid first before the papers are issued, then if I am denied the permit in order to get a refund, I would have to get a letter written by the police (ha ha ha, I can just see how that could possibly take place in the chaos that takes place there…) and then present the said letter to the insurance company who would then (hopefully) annul the policy… yes, yes, yes… I can see how smoothly this could happen! Ever seen an insurance company issuing cheques willingly? (she said with much irony). Today, I called back expressed my reluctance… Oh but maybe I am too cynical… So Monday (ah Monday is getting busier by the minute) I will pay them, get the papers delivered, maybe?

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Today, Saturday, internet issues arise which means problems with transferring money, for some reason the Canadian bank’s website is inaccessible (!) Yahoo. Monday morning I work, then I have to get all these loose ends to tie so that Tuesday I can go and present my dossier to the police and cross my fingers for a positive outcome. But at least one thing is sure : I have tried EVERYTHING I possibly can. So what happens is what must happen.

The race is still on, I run, sweat, must have mental toughness and spiritual detachment.a08

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Damsel in paralysis

June 5, 2014

Screaming “HELP” in a high pitch voice with my brows at 45 degrees is how I feel.

For the life of me, I CANNOT make a decision. It is as if I don’t know anything. Maybe I am indeed losing my faculties. I am utterly helpless and that is not the norm for me.

Last week I was going to get the permit, I could not get the necessary papers in time for the 29th, they gave me 10 days. the insurance, the rent papers, the moving the money… it seemed impossible.

After thinking for a while I decided that I should go back to LA to regroup, take care of my things stored at Steve’s, maybe manage to sell some stuff and have some cash. A major wavering back and forth of the mind followed that decision. Everyday my mind would glaze over with the half seen pros and cons and the fact that I am stuck my two feet in drying cement.

Yesterday I practiced my baglama in the afternoon and for some reason I was playing fairly convincingly and suddenly the thought that I would leave made me sense that leaving would close the door on this, this being the reason for my being here in the first place.

Last night in a bold attempt to decisiveness I spent hours trying to get a decent flight online and did not succeed, that exercise made me really see to what extent I have nothing to stand on once I leave Istanbul. No money, no job prospect, no home, I would be an absolute burden to everyone… I didn’t sleep for most of the night my mind going in wide wild circles.

Now we are Thursday the 5th of June and I sit here thinking I should stay but not knowing where to start. In theory I have until Monday but this being Turkey, I think that if I show up with the papers, I’ll have a fighting chance… can I do it?

It is as if I need someone to take me by the hand and walk every step with me…

Oh and just now the phone rang. Pelin, she was going to help me with the insurance and the money… a sign?

Oh what will I do? Can I overcome this paralysis? Can I begin to understand what is going on? and how to kick myself into gear???

TBC…