More bombs tonight

June 28, 2016

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It’s Ramazan, people fast during the day, then after sunset they eat a meal called Iftar. Tonight like every night, there is a rise in noise, voices sounds, life on the street around 7 PM. People are hungry, thirsty, they have been fasting since about 4 AM and the knowledge of the meal coming makes everyone more vocal, noisy as they anticipate the relief to come. Then at about 8 when they eat, the street goes dead quiet. Everyone is inside eating, drinking, celebrating the gift of food. At around 10 they come out again, satiated and again the whole neighborhood comes to life until the wee hours. It’s kind of festive, it’s a good vibe.

Normally that is.

I realized that everything got quiet a few moments ago, not normal. Then I saw the news; bombings and shootings at Ataturk International airport, Turkey’s main airport, 3rd biggest in Europe, hub for the world between East and West. So instead of just enjoying their full stomachs, the Turks tonight are watching on TV or laptops, the reports of destruction. Photos with limbs and holes in walls and assault rifle on the ground.

I was just at an airport yesterday, the other one, I think of my friend Ibrahim who will fly back from London in a few days. I think how life is cheap sometimes, timing is everything.

Once again, at a moment where I was fully enjoying being here and enjoying the marvels and wonders and poetry of this place, some horrific act takes place.

I wonder if it can get worse, then I think of Syria and I know that can get much worse. My friend Sari last year was telling me that what was going on here in Turkey, somewhat paralleled what took place in Syria before the war broke. He was worried about staying here and living take two of a civil war. In this country right now there is a lot of unrest, religious things, racial things, war things, money things, people in power lie, cheat, kill, destroy (like everywhere in the world mind you) We vote these clowns in and then everything goes to hell. Here we have Erdogan, in Russia they have Putin, in Britain they have Cameron and the fat blond guy, in USA there is the specter or Trump or Clinton… all in it for special interests, bound on destroying the world while hoping for fortune and power. Sick, mentally handicapped demagogues and ego maniacal people with not a thread of sensitivity for the life, for the lives of the people of the earth, for the earth itself… If we could get above our own self interest and rally together for peace, for the future generations, for life itself.

I pray for the ones killed and wounded and terrorized, some will never erase what they saw and survived tonight. Can we have more love please? More patience, more kindness, more care and what we call humanity? Morals? Ethics? Respect? Life is strong but it’s also very fragile.

Sigh.

Hugs

And much, much love.

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Sweetness

June 21, 2016

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Oh a breeze, gentle relief from this incredible heat we are getting here, over 30 with such humidity, it feels like we broil as soon as we step in the sun. It is hard on the people fasting during Ramazan. It’s been an interesting time since I quit the school. I took the first two weeks just to unwind, as I really was wound up. I realize now to what extent as the days go by and the stress washes off. I was reading past messages to a friend and saw how most of all I have been saying since October has been: “I’m so tired.”  and how he was replying “I am worried about you…”

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Barış means peace…

I slowly found myself visiting friends again, going to Chillout, or just going for a walk… going to the pazar on Sunday to get fresh inexpensive vegetables, interestingly, I find that I spend at least 50% less money by not going to work. Kind of insane this work world we have agreed to wholeheartedly as a society. There is always a choice to be made. There is the point where you abandon your ideals. Where you bow to fear and carry on down the slippery slope. Quitting my job was about refusing to let fear dictate my life.

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One of my favorite kitties in her urban world.

I had stopped playing any music around January, the gig I had stopped but I felt absolutely no desire or will to do it in any shape or form. I would think about it here and there, feel all sorts of ways, bad, guilty, depressed, watching myself giving up something that always meant so much to me. Well last night I played my first gig in months, with two of my favorite people and musicians. It was a very  wild experience. I stood there, feeling the notes, sounds, my voice, the guitar in my arms as an outsider. I was watching how I would hold up. I was singing a rock song standing up on that stage and it was a bit like feeling a dreamy reality… with a tad of doubt regarding my ability to carry it.  I did, I had a great team with me. Eren my magic drummer… per chance, he was around, he was free and he came to play… and Alican who is such a good friend.  So we just played.  Wandered, jammed, everyone really enjoyed and it was kind of “wow.. cool” all is well, simple… After I sat with some of the friends who came down, it was so enjoyable, relaxed.  Life.  Good, simple and sweet.

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I have been having some blessed moments, pure joy of absorbing the beauty around me. It all feels fragile and fleeting, as every time I look at the news another diabolical plot is on the way to get realized here in Turkey.  In Three days I leave for Kabak Valley for a week, I’ll be by the sea, by nature, I have been appointed “music volunteer” for my stay. How interesting how music comes back into my world.

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I will likely leave my room in the apartment, mainly because it would put too much strain to try to pay the rent right now, I have a few options for going back into a hostel and help against having a room.  I will decide where when I come back.  There is something about this communal life. As we all strain to have privacy, we end up in a lonely bubble… and nowadays a bubble that contains you and a computer or phone and Facebook.  So I think I’ll do that for the summer, then comes September I might travel a bit, I am hoping to go home and see my mother, in November it will have been 2 years since I saw her and the family.

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In the mean time, my plan is to live every moment, enjoy the city, the life.  I saw  a post a little while back and it said: “one day you will look at today with fondness” it really made me realize how special my experience here is.  I am lucky.

 

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Newness

June 6, 2016

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I watch the sunset in front of me. My window is a sunset window. It is really hard to concentrate on anything when the sun sets, so majestically every night.

The last week has been momentous. Many changes and I believe more are to come. Today I accomplished a bureaucratic feat of respectable proportion… I managed to gather all the documents and papers for my residence permit application in a few hours. After much questioning I made the decision to stay one more year. It feels good. I need to go and do some of the things I promised myself to do and do things I didn’t expect to do. Live. To make a long story short, I realized that all the documents had to be gathered and sent between 9AM and 5PM Monday. I set out on my mission this morning and with the help of Pelin and a very cool and helpful insurance broker I managed it… So the documents are on their way to the immigration office. Hopefully all will be accepted and within 2 weeks I would have my new permit.

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Inşallah.

On Sunday June 29th around 7PM I hopped one more time on the 55T down the hill from Gaziosman Paşa, through Balat, across the Haliç. and into Beyoğlu. Free. I had just handed back the books, markers, stapler, filled in the last registrar sheets and last exam result sheets. Well I’ll have to go one more time to pick up the last pay cheque and I really hope they don’t give me grief with that as it seems to be regular practice in Turkey, I don’t think so but if they do I have a “get paid” strategy ready to be implemented.

I was never made for a job, could never keep a job, the most I ever did was 1.5 year I think. So at 8 months that is actually quite good for me. It was a great experience, it was incredibly enriching in so many ways. But in the end, to be polite, it was not going to go anywhere other than what it was; a big loop of class upon class thrown at me with shitty pay and no chance of improvement. I am thankful, I needed it when it came, I learned tons, met and discovered “real” people from an all too real rough neighborhood.

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So I had a first week off this last week. A first week end off since September. I cleaned up my room, rearranged the furniture, threw out old stuff, and then I had this thought: Hmm… if I am cleaning everything, I’ll probably move out of here soon…”

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What now? I don’t know for sure. I promised myself to take 2 weeks off, the first one is gone. I have enjoyed every moment of it. What I know is that I know I did the right thing for me. I feel a sense of freedom and renewal and eagerness to re-enter the “real” world, well, my “real world”. My life in Turkey, before this had been one of constant meetings, motion, friends, sharing… then I took my room and my world very quickly shrunk into a little bubble where I would spend too much time with the wifi. I am open to any and everything. I also want to go places this summer, I really hope I do it. See more than Beyoğlu, Istanbul…

But I feel good, alive, my eyes are bright and wide open, and I’m smiling a lot.

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