February 14, 2015


4:47. AM that is, I hear snoring upstairs and outside it’s the quiet hour on an Istanbul Friday night. Tonight was a good night. We played tonight. Yeah on a Friday night, lately it’s been the quiet Sundays, but tonight it was a full on, full power Friday. Atölye is bustling, faces facing us. Eager, wanting, and us delivering. I had this smile pasted on my face the whole way through… but I should tell you more. Who was “us”? I had Bariş with me, and that is always a massive treat. But tonight there was also… Eren. My magic drummer…. yeah!!! Sitting on my left, back on the kit! Yeah, yeah, yeah… I cannot describe my joy. To hear his touch.. his beats, feel his soul then to look at him and just fill up with joy! He has this …not sure how to say, it’s not a dimple… it’s a sort of angle, light crease at the corner of his mouth, it’s the coolest smiley thing to see. It’s an almost smile all the time, but a gentle sort of smiley thing… there are no words. But we had played so much in the past… then not at all for almost a year… I really missed his music. On top of that personal thing, the two of them, Baris and Eren, tuned into each other so very nicely. I was sandwiched in the middle of both grinning endlessly.

The room was packed. I had a feeling it would be, the last 10 days have been kind of filled with rain, cold, snow and shitty weather, tonight the skies held back and everyone went out. Friends showed up some I had not seen in a loooong time and it was just too cool, it all went by too fast. And maalesef, no there is no video… a friend wanted to come but could not free himself from work. So this music headed into the ether. Into the wide infinite universe to maybe be heard somewhere light years away from our little blue planet in a far, far away other-worldness.

But it will live in my heart.

Yes I know I’ve been sparse on the writing, lately I could feel the “where is she?” “Is she OK?” “Wonder what’s going on..?” from a few of you. So here are some news:

I moved again… yeah, 16 days after the first move that happened 6 days after I arrived back in Istanbul… (gotta love those :D) I moved again. I got fumigated out of the house, literally. There is no point in fighting against smokers, whatever stuff they put in the cigarettes, one of the 400 and some additives (I believe) does makes smokers fierce. Combative. Territorial. When they feel the vibe of a non-smoker, someone from the “other” side, they will instinctively smoke more, fan out the enemy so to speak, exhale war like vapors and eliminate the threat. In that “new” flat on the 15th night, all cigarettes were on, rolled ones, commercial ones, upstairs, downstairs… they were all alighted and that from about 10 PM until 7 AM. It was a freezing night and yet I had to have the window wide open as I was choking. Headaches, nausea, dizziness… coughing.. it was just horrible. My window open I think was a double edged sword… as I was trying to get fresh air, it also worked as a draft, bringing the smoke from the house into my room… could not win… At around 5 AM I hit Craigslist ( an wanted ads website) Plunged into it, scoured every possible avenue.. around 7 I had 4 candidates. I crossed my fingers after sending emails and finally could close the window and try to sleep as everyone else had finally gone to bed and stopped the pollution.

Two days later there was two options left. I visited one and I said yes. The next day I moved in. I liked the room, the flat, the roommate, the owner, the only downside…. Tarlabası… I had sworn I would not move there again… but here I am…

Now there are some things I know if as a non smoker you live with smoking flatmates here is some advice: you want a flat with multiple levels. Here there are three: bottom is the kitchen, main floor is my room, top floor is the bathroom and my flatmate’s room. Smoke goes up. He’s up, I’m down. No smoke I get. He does smoke, all the time, but I don’t get it… smoke goes up! remember that! The second important point is: density. The more the smokers, the more there is smoke and smoke starts to expand ( I believe there must be a formula for smoke expansion) it fills a room then goes from room to room and there is no escaping it. (I learned that in June 2013… Ömer Hayyam flat… one level, 6 smokers and …me. It didn’t work. Here we are two. It works. I can breathe. I never imagined that this could be my fate… In Canada, when you smoke you are pretty much considered a defective person… so smokers go outside, huddle around windows, are embarrassed… you can expect a smoker to go outside without protests… Here, the guy at the Kasımpasa flat told me flat out (pun intended) about the smoking: It’s the way in Istanbul. All right dude. Got it. I know this. so I left.

Now issue number one is handled… I can breathe and not wake up in a nightmarish panic for fresh air.

So along with flats comes rent and rent I will need to pay in another 3 weeks. Work I need. I had some hopes on some gigs but I realize they’re not going to happen, there are much politics involved in this game, but at the same time, there are many many venues, so I’ll just keep on looking, the path of least resistance. But this week a couple of things appeared that are showing some promise. The club Mono is interested in having me play there, they are working on it… cross your fingers for me… and there is this hotel in Taksim, Eren has a contact ther and they were very interested in my playing there… I also had a chat with a really cool ex-pat who lives here, he teaches English and was saying that he thought I would be just fine doing that. I’ve had hang ups and did not even try because I am not a “native speaker” or a teacher for that matter, but when he explained what he did, I thought that maybe I could be good at this… so I must gather my courage and go seek and who knows maybe I can enjoy this and do a good job.

What else? Well, I did enroll into a philosophy class on Coursera and I am really, really digging this. I think this is part of a calling … I am reading Plato, the dialogues, and it is really exciting to me. So I study this daily, I also have been doing my yoga and meditations and a program that addresses various weaknesses, neck, shoulders, core, lower back… a sort of physiotherapy DVD from my cycling days that I found when I went to California… it has been very good, I’m getting stronger. And… back to studying Turkish. I got two new books that arrived today. They were recommended by my Turkish teacher in California, I started on that too. So my days right now are disciplined: wake up, yoga, lemon water, study, practice, cook at home… I feel I must use this time in this space (in MY space.. oh luxury…) as much as I can and be focused on these things. I think they will matter… well no, lets rephrase, they do matter somehow I sense this. And… this weekend I will meet a possible bağlama teacher. My friend Elvan’s ex is into Sufism and bağlama. The two main things that motivated me to come to this country… we will see. No expectations, but magic is always welcome!

So I learn, play, practice, exercise, meditate. And there is of course time for friends. My beautiful, amazing, wondrous friends. Life brings much goodness… so much. So much. I am grateful.



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