October 7, 2015

I have been following the Canadian Elections from afar.  About two months ago I went on the GOC website to figure out how to vote from abroad.  I was led down a page where it was written that I had to fill a questionnaire before being  “approved” to vote.  That was a great surprise.  I filled out a form immediately.  To this day I have not received any answer from this.  Because of the Bill C-51 I could not help but think that if the government can now look into my FB page, they can see where my political leanings go and conveniently never answer me.  I also thought it was some sort of hoop to jump, the kind they like to put out there so people give up.

About 6-8 days ago, I called Elections Canada, I explained the above, I was told:

“Oh we didn’t have our program set up on those dates.”   Hmm hmmm… so what was it that I filled out?  She had no idea. She then told me that the only way to vote at this point in time was by mail.  I said:

“I am in Turkey… will the letter with the ballot reach me in time? ” and with the high rate of failure in sending things in or out of this country how can I possibly hope to be able to have time to vote?  Obviously she couldn’t guarantee that.  She said they would send me the voting ballot as fast as possible.  So I went and filled out the online form and crossed my fingers.  Well, to my great joy and surprise the packaged arrived yesterday.  Tonight I filled my ballot.  I also contacted the Canadian Consulate again.  At this point I have already tried to reach them 3 times by email  and I attempted to go there in person for one visit.  No answers.  It started to feel like one of those conspiracy-theory things.  And I must say, with policies like Bill C-51  there is no reason to have a shred of faith in the government.  Tonight I re-contacted them via email.  tomorrow I’ll try by phone. if there is no one to answer, I still have time to go with a courrier.

But I did get the ballot.  It felt like a sacred artifact.  I have a voice.  I filled it.  It sits on my desk now, It will go back to the homeland at the latest Thursday or Friday.  Politically we have a huge responsibility, I feel at this moment, the whole future of our country, our lands, our rights, how we want to be as a society(one of sharing and helping or one of brutal corporate reasoning? (all for profits)).

The voters that brought this madman (I am not one of them, I voted in every election and I certainly did not vote for this monster.  But despite the obvious racism, despite the fact that the man was openly corrupted, openly funded by the people who funded George Bush, despite the knowledge that in two past elections there was fraud.  Despite closing parliament, despite the fact that this party is chin deep into money scandals, despite all the lies about the cost of the war planes about he fact that Canada allowed torture on prisoners… and so on and so forth…   Despite all these facts which are just the tip of the iceberg, people STILL give this party their votes…

“we get what we deserve” a friend of mine said.  I didn’t understand when he said it.  Now I do. Among many of the completely morally wrong things, Canada has refused to sign an International treaty on aboriginal rights

Canada has refused to participate in the effort in slowing down global warming.

Canada has removed the protection on over 90% of our lakes and clean water sources.

Canada has one of the worst records for child poverty in the the developed countries in the world

Canada has signed the TPP accord without ANY consultation with the public.

and on and on…

will we wake up?  At times I think  it’s already too late.  The damage is deep, not only in the sense of laws and written agreements.  But in the sense that a vast majority of Canadians are accepting without any protest all the above. The rhetoric is working, people will justify not helping another by saying: “Well I worked for mine, he should work for his…”  But life doesn’t work that way.  Life, like thunderstorms hits whenever and it doesn’t discriminate. So you are doing good today, tomorrow you don’t know, you may need help.  In the old days, Canadians had this wonderful view about help, about society, about a minimum necessary and available for all in the society so that this society could better itself, make great things, and think for the greater good, not just the selfish wants of the individual.

The corporate culture has permeated everything and all that matters is the bottom line.  The graph going up, even if it takes child labor to achieve it.  We sadly, are at that place in our society.  We are blinded, dumbed and deafened by the noise coming from the TV, the media living in bubbles.  We have given up our responsibilities as citizens… because we are not citizens anymore but… Consumers.  Yeah, if you look at most literature, a citizen is referred to as a consumer: one who consumes, buys.   So we go out and get our appetites satisfied, we cry for gas prices and tax hikes and we don’t react when all our basic citizens rights are being castrated in front of our eyes.  “yeah, it’s for our protection”  sure…

Sorry for the rant,but at this very moment I live in a country now run by a megalomaniac.  And the techniques are exactly the same as the ones used by the Harper government:  fear, dissension, lies and lies and lies and more lies, muzzling of the voices that dissent, the only difference at this point is that right now the president here feels it’s cool and all right to kill people right and left to create chaos so he can keep power.  Mr Harper is not quite there yet but if he has another mandate, with his bill C-51 he will be able to shut many down, to incarcerate whoever is a thorn on his thin skin, and that way will be able to continue the plunder of the country to the profit of outside interest or the very rich. It is just seemingly a little more discreet than what Erdogan in doing here, but in the end it’s the same thing.  People have lost their political voices and a mad man runs crazy.

We need something radically different.  We need to trust in the capacity of people.  Like the new employee, no he never held that position, done that job before, but heck, give him your confidence and he will shine.  Give him your support and he will surpass all expectations.  There is life beyond the conservatives and the liberals, those two have shown over and over that their foundations are rotten.   Their interest lie in big business, not in you and I and the children that go hungry.

I want to be able to be proud of my country.  Once upon a time we were the envy of the world with out kindness, openness, creativity and humility.

take that little bit of responsibility, vote so we can take back our country

.  A01


Job interview

October 2, 2015

The phone rang.

How many stories can start with this. A phone ringing often marks the beginning of huge changes in one’s life. I can think of a few… Deaths, births, jobs, old friends, breakups, make-ups, all types of good or bad news coming through the wires.

I was, sitting at my desk, concentrating on CSS and HTML fineries when the phone rang. Hmm? I look, unknown number. Hmmm… should I answer? Hmmm all right. I pick up.


“Hi, is this Danielle?”

“It is.”

She tells me she has looked over my CV and that she liked what she saw, and this is for the job I applied for. Hmmm… which job? I think…. I had recently, with the precious help of a friend, applied to a few jobs on “” a Turkish job website. One of the jobs was a fraud agent for an insurance company!! Yuk!!! not my thing at all… and I cannot quite remember the others… She tells me then it’s a language school, it starts to come back to me.

“Oh yeah, right! Sure I remember now.” I’m thinking that this is Major Faux Pas #1 in a job interview list of “Donts” there is a little bit of an awkward moment on the line but she proceeds.

“I would like you to come for an interview tomorrow morning.” An interview!!!???!! wow.

“yes, of course, what time?” I say with composure. I’m seriously hoping for anything after 10:30 AM…

“11:30” She says. Perfect time I think to myself.

“Yes no problem, I will be there.” She tells me she will send the school’s address via email and see you tomorrow. A job interview… when was the last job interview I did? I think I was in my twenties… Way, way long ago. I realize that I have not held a “job” since about 1998 when I started Dark Horse Productions. I have been lucky, or just too averse to ‘lining up like a good girl” to tolerate anything else than myself as a boss, and don’t get me wrong, I worked a lot, and I am not a soft boss, I am a slave driver… In Vancouver I went 10 years without a vacation. Work, work, work… Yeah, stupid. I know.

The thought of this interview keeps popping in my mind for the rest of the day. My financial situation does urgently require that income happens. I am like a rope walker where the actual rope has started to fray and unwind under his feet. But I refused to panic and worry lately. And I refused to look at doing things I didn’t want, because I know too well what will ensue. I crossed my fingers and focused on the beautiful things and people around me, getting a fair success at staying grounded. I had not been idle though, taking the web development course, making cakes for the hostel, reading, listening, viewing all sorts of videos, texts, gurus’ wise words about the Universe and it’s unfailing beauty and perfection as well as some scientists words about how to make the brain bypass the “stupid” system of reactivity.

In the morning, I am up at 08:30 yes a record. I go downstairs to the bakkal, buy milk and simit. I make myself a nice breakfast, coffee, take a shower and when it’s time to get dressed I have a moment of doubt. I have one pair of jeans and they are about 3 years old. I have hiking boots as shoes and they are old and scuffed, they don’t match the black jeans and they are brown. For a shirt I have another 3 year old shirt which has reasonably kept its shape somehow, and I have this leather jacket that I practically never wore, so it looks good, if not a bit showy for a job interview. (it’s a kind of Hendrix looking black short jacket.) maybe the balance of the wear of the pants with the shine of the coat will average OK. I think: Woa… this is nowhere near an “interview grade” outfit… Every job search program will tell you: First impressions matter!!! A pang of stress grabs me. But I rectify it immediately with this thought: “if they do like me or don’t like me the clothes won’t matter. And if the clothes are more important than the person, then I should not work there.” I got dressed, then I did the “power” pose with my arms stretched out and I smiled as this seems all so funny. I grabbed my bag and headed out.

It’s windy, it’s fall. It has arrived brusquely, barging in and offending everyone by its rudeness: rain, cold, hugely violent winds, and spectacular thunder storms in the last 3 days. Now it’s just cloudy and cool. I get to the boulevard, look back, a few more steps… the 55T shows up.

Man! Those Turkish bus drivers, within barely a minute, I am nauseated. I wonder how long it will take, the woman had told me 35 minutes but a bus information website said 1hr 30 minutes… so I left quite early, don’t want to be late. We ride along the Golden Horn, towards Pierre Loti, some ancient parts of the Constantinople walls, Balat, old buildings, meandering lines of streets and hills. It must have been just magnificent at one time. The Ottoman buildings and the trees, they had a very special way of using space… Now, so much is decrepit. Falling down, literally. Up a hill and we arrive at Gaziosman Pasha. Time: 25 minutes nice. I had concerns about 1.5 hour bus commute, that’s 3 hours a day… it’s too much for a few hours of work but this is great, this is perfect. I walk around a bit, locate the school, find a tea house near a small pazar. I study CSS and HTML for about 40 minutes then it’s time to go meet Anna.

I walked in the school and there was no one there, a cardboard cutout of the statue of Liberty is showing the way. I walk around. Wait. The class rooms have names of big US cities: San Francisco, New York… I walk up some stairs and find a terrasse with an incredible view towards the Bosphorus, the whole of the Golden Horn, the bridges, Galata tower, the mosques… it’s an amazing vista. I knock on a door. No one answers. Finally someone shows me the way, one more set of steps and I walk in a fashionable office in a red and white theme. I get an up and down appraisal look from two women, then they make a comment about my Turkish being not so good. For a micro second I feel very annoyed. But no, I pushed that aside. They offered me a seat while I waited for Anna.

Bir şey içmek ister misiniz çay? Kahve? (would you like something to drink, tea, coffee?) No, no thank you very much.

A bit later I am directed to Anna’s office and I take a seat.

“Would you like something to drink? Tea? Coffee? No thank you I just had tea… the interview begins.

“So you do have a lot of …skills, I went on your website, you are a musician, sculptor, writer…”

“Yes, indeed!”

“What kind of experience do you have that would be an asset for us here?”

“As a teacher I used to teach horseback riding, then I taught some music students. I spent a year in Northern Canada working with kids in a French school, I did special projects with them, wrote a play for them and we performed it.”

Then I said something about the fact that I had not held a job since 1998 when I started my company, I told her what I did there, productions, voice over, translations and all that stuff. I talked for a while, trying to give her the picture.

“I love your energy!” she said. And she said it again a few times. I was relaxed. I felt good. I asked her questions about herself, how she came to Turkey, she is a US citizen but has lived all over the world. It was interesting. She told me what they needed: someone to do conversation with adults and kids, someone with energy, to make things interesting. Yeah, I can do that. Then she said:

“Well for me it is a yes!”

“Great” I said, but it didn’t really register. It’s a funny thing when you are not desperate for something. When you have faith, then you just take the steps, and somehow the right things manifest.

“Now you will do a second interview, please have a seat, I was back in the lobby, one of the women came to me and asked: Bir şey içmek ister misiniz çay? Kahve? In Turkey it is very much part of the fabric of life to offer tea or nescafe. Everyone drinks tea, all the time, everywhere and in business it is like a sign of welcome and hospitality.

The second woman came. We waited a bit longer, she needed an interpreter. So you are a musician? Oh so great! Where do you perform? We have to come see you!! We talked some more, she asked me a few questions then suddenly said: “I love your energy!!” I had to smile, yeah it’s not the clothes. this is good. it’s the energy. She showed me the terms, money, schedule, explained the 2 months trial time. It’s not huge money at all, but right now, it would be a king’s ransom. A life saver. She asks if week ends are OK for me, evenings, and yeah, of course they are, they are best for me. I start to see that this exactly what I wanted, 25 hours a week, part time so I can survive and still do creative things and not be a slave to a 9 to 5 prison.

“OK then! Lets sign the contract!” I was invited to change chairs again. As I waited another woman came to me and asked: “Bir şey içmek ister misiniz çay? Kahve? “ Yok, yok, tesekkur ederim.

I got the contract filled out, signed out forms, filled out blank spaces with the help of a third woman, her too so very nice. I will have an orientation session around October 10 and start around October 12. They have all the materials, I will pass that to the students. I see that I just have to come here with good spirits and all will be well.

Then, I was outside again. It’s quite different here in this neighborhood, more normal life, normal people, no tourists per say. I will likely find cool pazar and stores and foods I cannot find in Taksim, that is good. It feels really good. It feels peacefully perfect. Somehow, I feel all the vectors aligned. Onwards we go. I rode the bus back to Sishane, in my mind the thought of this work, it is so very good.