Impressions

January 20, 2016

Walking on Istiklal, got a heavy backpack with pedals and guitar cables, the guitar is heavy… stupid plywood case weights 40 lbs. Dreaming of a lightweight case for this baby one day. Twice, heavily made up Arab tourist girls run right into me. They are fat with bonbons. Americans are fat with grease, Arabs are fat with bonbons. They don’t apologize, they carry many shopping bags, their eyes scanning for opportunities, the mustard color pants stick in my memory.

It snowed for two days straight but it didn’t stick on the ground. The only thing that got stuck to the ground for those two days were 325 planes at Ataturk airport. f

I get to Jurnal but the gig isn’t going to happen. I didn’t want to go to tell you the truth… I had this really huge “Naaaaahhhhhh don’t wanna gooooooooooooooo” feeling. I almost messaged that I wasn’t coming but I kicked my but and went. Erkan is sick, the place is cold and empty and we just agreed that I could just go home. Yay. I actually wanted to take photos so…. I went.

I walk down the road, cars honk. Mostly taxi drivers. It’s aggravating. I am taking photos “honk!” “beep beep!” a constant flow of honking, greedy, taxi drivers, and it’s pretty damn obvious that I am not even looking for a cab, I’m not even paying any attention at the road. Then the driver of a regular car slows down, pulls over, he cranes his neck trying to look at me, rolls the window down. They do that. Men in cars, when you walk along the sidewalk, just stop and expect you are just going to smile and jump right into their cars…. Sometimes they follow you for a while, in case you change your mind. As if… I pay attention to their plates, 34 means Istanbul, other numbers; they’re from out of town and sometimes that means that they have some strange ideas about women.

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Karaköy. It’s dark and deserted. Tuesday night is a good night for empty streets. I don’t like taking photos when there are too many people. I don’t like sticking the camera in people’s faces… seems… rude. I walk down the deserted off ramp for the bridge, there is a fenced area, kind of open field. Puppies are eating, someone fed them. These someones are amazing. So generous and caring.

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Walking in the dark emptiness further on, 3 more dogs appear, one is quite young. They come close to me. The little one is very nervous, he looks like he’s had bad encounters with humans before, a kind of brown lab. An older one approaches me, big, brown with a white patch on the chest, a large square muzzle, noble looking. I gently touch him, talk to him, he looks so grave. A third one hangs off to the back. Suddenly the serious one launches full speed, barking and running, the other two follow him. The disappear in the night but I can hear them bark.

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My eyes get excited, angles, colors, unexpected things. It’s cool to be in an empty Istanbu. It’s cold tonight, for locals I mean, I think that might be the main reason why it’s so empty, it’s below zero, no one’s out but the crazy Canadian. My roommate rode his motorcycle today, “maniac” he called himself. He has a wool jacket, I hope his leather jacket is underneath… I know how cold it gets on a motorcycle when you get around zero C.

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Work at the school. Everyone is working so very hard. Everyone is doing too many hours. Everyone is paid a little too little. Everyone is given the short end of the stick by the management. It’s always about money. I wish people would get this… Money is not the goal. Money is an energy that happens and that should be shared. This week I’ve had reduced hours because of the end of some of the classes that started in October. Not good for finances but spirit-wise it’s good because it makes me feel free as the work load is not so damn heavy. I work 3 days a week now. 10 classes on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s too much for one day. Those days start at 7 AM, then ten lessons in a row with 10 different set of faces, 10 different programs, I still don’t know anyone’s names… I am a full on zombie when I get home after those days. Then I need two days to recover. But it’s not all bad, there have been days where some really great moments occur, human things, community things, it’s for real. I also learn to be more resilient and support my colleagues instead of whining. This week I was able to set aglow a few “light bulb moments” in my student’s faces and that was priceless.

I am dangerously addicted to this new coffee shop: Ministry of Coffee. Australian roasters… the rush is undescribable. I’m in trouble… I shouldn’t spend money in the coffee shop with reduced work hours… that is food money. But it’s sooooooo good….

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Shelley, my beautiful new friend left Istanbul yesterday. She is from China, she did a thing for me… how to describe… maybe what explains it is that because she is an artist she can create things… she made me see something in me I wasn’t able to see, and she did this with a sort of visual-apparition magic, holographic thing… images came to me. It was something I needed to see on this journey of mine. Then that vision allowed me to free some other considerations in my mind. One must always leave the door open for discoveries, for love, for connection. How amazing are all the meetings we make upon our road. All those are gifts. I am so thankful.

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I have a heater. I can eat. I can take photos, write and play. I have many streams of friendships that make my heart happy. I have a fuzzy blanket that Berna gave me, books to read, courses I take. Coffee. Hot showers. An incredible guitar and a camera. I have a love for the world and its wondrous creatures. All that is required at this point is to stop watching the news. All the news. Life then will be idyllic as it will be mine, as my spirit seeks and not the reflection of some other entity’s agenda.

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