Up, down. Still here.

May 20, 2015

the view from my window

I sit here in my new place. It’s been 10 days now. It feels good, really good to have a home. Last week, I was told that I would have 2 nights a week to play at Atolye, steady money I thought. And we were doing the walking tours, a little more income there, and I had an offer to maybe play in a new place. All was grooving nicely. Then last week, as we had a big group on a walking tour and things were just going beautifully as we approached the Golden Horn, we were accosted quite brutally by an official tour guide and 3 other people, with cameras, filming us. They told us.. or more accurately, yelled at us that we were doing something illegal by doing our walks, they followed and harassed us, threatened to call police… end result: we stopped doing the walks. And to top this, this afternoon, the phone rang and I was told that my extra day of work at Atolye was cancelled. In a short few days, my income almost disappears.

The surviving walking tour participants after the “attack of the licensed guides”

Accept. Trust. Have faith. I tell myself.

Yeah, I love my new place, I love walking to it. From one side, there is a tiny park, trees, grass, then the Golden Horn in the horizon, and birds singing! The neighborhood is clean, unpretentious, peaceful. Always a cat in this park, going somewhere, coming here. The tension releases, sometimes some kids sit together in the grass. Sometimes it is old men in the mid-day heat retreating from the madness. Sometimes you can hear rehearsals from the high school that is there, Turkish music with drums and zurna…

What must be will be. Inshallah.

The light today… I went and met a friend we went to the Old City, in Fatih. He generously paid for a whole spread of foods. Syrian food. He is Syrian and wanted me to experience his food. We went to his favorite place, sat facing the Wednesday pazar. There was a booth with shoes hanging from ropes, all colors, all shapes, hundreds of them, it must take forever to hang them up… there are vegetable and fruit sellers right in front of us. But the light. This gold. I think how much I need this light to feel alive. When I think of the northern countries I shudder… the gray…. I love the gold, I need the gold to fill my eyes, here it is, filtering through the white tarps covering the pazar, hanging into the cotton things floating in the wind, rugs, bed sheets, it pours itself onto the tables, people’s faces and clothes, especially things that are white, they then turn to warmth.

Back in Taksim I met with another friend who came to help me carry a crazy purchase I just made, yeah, I got brave (or stupid) and bought an espresso machine. I figure that I spend over 2000 lira a year on espresso, the machine is 200 lira. I would start saving money and enjoying the coffee in my new home. In about 2 months it would be paid for. So I went for it. I’ve been wanting this for 2 years… It’s beautiful, and it feels really, really special. It’s Christmas like. I am very excited. A new box, a new shiny thing, when was the last time I purchased anything other than food and the bare necessities? It’s so luxurious… It’s an act of trust and faith (or stupidity) that all will be OK that I will be able to take care of myself. That I’ll be able to pay the rent. Right?

The “crazy” purchase

Two days ago, looking for work, I answered an ad on Craigslist. Yesterday I was surprised for one to get an answer, and secondly an answer that felt like a real person was there. Transcription work; listen to interviews and transcribe them. The pay is low. Istanbul style. But it would be income. I responded then I was asked to do a sort of audition by transcribing 2 minutes of an audio interview and to adhere to the work’s specific guidelines. I made mistakes. Of course. But the guy is ready to give me a try. Bottom of the ladder… but I know I can do well. He says he’ll send me one job soon, then I have 3 days to turn it around. And not make formatting mistakes.

Hot, cold, win, lose. Work, no work. The speed at which these changes of direction are coming at me are dizzying. Every 10 days or so, everything changes drastically, jobs, work, home, agreements broken, promises neglected. Every 10 days or so, something new appears, sparkling and shining, stirring hopes, then it vanishes. Reality shapes itself then dissolves unexpectedly.

You learn to dance with it. But now I need to pay this rent and I want to pay this rent, so I can have this nest for a while at least. Heal, grow strong, create, build.

“All of this happens and you still want to be here?” Commented Alican after I told him about the walking tour thing.


In a way nothing matters. It’s all beautiful. Truly. It’s all grand and incredibly complex, un-apprehendable, my limited human senses so inadequate to capture the full meaning of all the forces at play. So I’ll be patient, a good student, I’ll wait to see the answers life, the Gods or whatever you call it will bring me.



One Response to “Up, down. Still here.”

  1. Aaron Says:

    I always feel like I’m walking right next to you as I read your story. Thank you for the trip to your home and experience. Life always has an interesting journey for you. Take care and be safe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: