A home at last.

September 29, 2018

 

 

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Much has taken place in the last 10 days, but the big new is that I now have a home after a whole year of travel and nomadic life, with a back pack and a laptop  Now I have a set of keys to a door that is mine to lock and an address, a home.

It’s beautiful, spacious, simple but perfect.  It is in Galata, I can see the tower from my window, it’s a 1 + 1 meaning a bedroom and a room that contains kitchen and a living room all in one piece. I have “my” bed, “my” pillow, and thanks to my mother’s help, I have a work table with a lamp. There are many things missing, for example, there is no hot water yet, clothes are in a bag and there is no oven stove or fridge either.  The electricity just got figured out 2 days ago (I moved in on the 16th) but it’s home and the sun shines in the windows and the view are magical, breath taking.

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I arrived back in Turkey in August planning to do Workaway projects but this strong urge I had to find me a place to call home became more and more pressing.  So I listened to it. I now have to apply for a residence permit, that is always a bit of a gamble as one never knows if an application will be rejected or not. If it is rejected, then I’ll have to leave which is not so great but, if I do I could sublet and come back in three months.  It can take some months to obtain the appointment, so worst case scenario I’ll be able to enjoy this place for a few months. Best case scenario, my application is accepted and I have a whole year to enjoy, which at this points seems like a lifetime.

I spent the last ten days cleaning and painting, I am sore everywhere, the person who painted this place the last time (in a dark charcoal gray) must have felt a bit ill and out of sorts these last days as I cursed them constantly while slaving on the task of removing the millions of paint drops they spread all over the light gray floor. The first three days were spent on my knees with a scrubber removing the paint roller splatter. Then I painted in a lighter gray the room that is to be the work room and I painted  the bed room in sunshine color so I would always wake up with sunshine so to speak.
It is hard to describe the feelings I had while emptying the back pack, the little souvenirs from my journey, bits of paper with someone’s handwriting, the few precious objects I managed to keep, mainly pine cones and snail shells, a flower of life coaster that Pavlina and Pavel gave me when I left the Czech republic, the crystal from Ami, the giant cone from Oleron, the weird oak tree ball from France… the paper cone that held my brushes since February as we went around the world, that piece of paper was first a water color paper then it became my hitch hiking sign, on it you can read “Limoge” written in black pen marker rendered blueish by the time and humidity .  The realization that I am going to stop for a bit, retire the bags, take the clothes and the little items out of their traveling spots and routine.  Every piece of clothing is worn out, everything, road weary.  They can all rest now.

My main reason for wanting a flat was to have a place to create. With a kind and generous gift from mom I was able to go shopping to pick up a table and a lamp, I went to Ikea, in Kartal. I left at about 7 PM took the metro and there I quickly found my table, and the lamp (which had a super low price tag compared to all the other stores I found out after careful online checking) I got a tiny floor mat for the entrance, a toilet brush and a face cloth. I was going to get the table shipped, but I had this nagging feeling that I’d never see the order arrive… so after paying, as I was lining up for the shipping service desk, I considered the boxes and realized that I could carry it all by myself and not have to worry about bad shipping service or days of delays, and having to stay home waiting for a truck that would never come. So I taped the two boxes that contained the legs together, slipped them on the straps of my backpack, then put the lamp and the rest inside the back pack and carried the table top … on my head.

The store is practically built over the metro station, which was why I chose to come to this branch, so I got to the Metro easily. Then I had to cross on the ferry back to the European side, and then the longest hardest part was to climb up from Karakoy to Galata. But I made it. It was exhilarating!

I found a nice second hand office chair in the classified ads for expats on Facebook.  Dana, had a bunch of chairs so we got one from her.  That too traveled on the metro, no one lifts an eyebrow no matter what you are carrying on a bus or metro or ferry, in Istanbul, since many don’t have cars you will see just about everything being carried on public transit.

Other fun parts of this move was my dealings with the paint stores in Karakoy… Painting here is much more risky that in Canada, you can get the shittiest paint and brushes and rollers… but I had experience from my days at Chillout so I made out pretty good explaining my needs in broken Turkish to the guys in their shops. Again, I had to carry that stuff up the hill to Galata.

I made the first steps towards the residence permit application by obtaining my health insurance today. There are multiple steps to take, I am hoping to be able to apply online Monday. So if you can, or think about it, send me some successful wishes and thoughts my way regarding this, it always helps.

Coming to Turkey I was shocked by how different the reality was. On some level I felt terrible as a Westerner for all that we take for granted, all that we use and abuse and so much unconscious habits that we have, for which other people suffer for us. I went on a sort of “consumption diet” I wanted to see how much I could “not consume” “not spend” “not desire”. I got really good at it. To the point of forgetting my own beingness. But by not desiring you erase an essential component of being human. Desire is a sort of motor for life. I don’t mean greedy want, or other determined goals (like all that is proposed by commercials and societal structure) I mean things like the desire to speak up, to create. The desire to feel to experience. The desire to push boundaries. To exist as who we are.

When I saw my motorcycle in California this last June, I had a very strong shock as I faced a part of me that I had erased without wanting to erase it. I had made that part of me out of the realm of the possible. I did this with many aspects of my life.

Getting this home, is a huge step out of paralysis into going for what I wish, believe and desire. I’ve made a whole list of those things. I have a vision of what I wish for and I will go for it as there is no other way to live this life. Otherwise you’re just a tourist, I am the adventuress, right?!!

Much love.

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Anxiety attack

September 12, 2018

There was a lull, I grabbed the guitar, the Go guitar.  That was the first time in 7 or 8 months. My fingers are ignorant, not callused, the mind is not connecting with reflexes of scales or riffs to run gracefully like when you run to the front door of a known home.

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In this very moment, there is no noise, no sounds. It is extremely rare. My room has a window on a physical well inside the building, there all the other apartments have windows as well, from their kitchen, bathroom and small bedroom that all communicate with this well.

I plunk some chords of a song I arranged, I sing a verse in Turkish, I have no more personal songs that represent me now, so personal songs don’t come. When I stop, there is silence still.

The guitar reverberates on my chest as it has one thousand million times before, and I don’t feel an emotional response. The Go and I might have said all we had to say together, like old married couples, we just grunt at each other and do the expected things on time to avoid having to explain anything.

I thought maybe I’d find some solace in the instrument. But no. Today I quit a job I didn’t even start. I was so freaked out. Freaked to the point where all that manifests in my incoherent thought process, is just a gigantic anxious “OH SHIIIIIT” I wonder if maybe I am afflicted with some sort of manufacturing defect that makes me escape, run away like this. You know like those Toyotas a while back, the accelerator would get jammed and you could not stop the cars except to run them into a brick wall… Come to think of it, this giant snafu did not stop the Toyota sales for very long. Marketing is powerful…  but I digress.

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Suddenly from the window a voice came up, an over excited young woman whose pitch drowns everything and spews over excited things out in the air, things that rise and reach me here, next to the well of the building where I camp at in the moment.

Now I hear showers and TVs and a giant fart and small kitchen noises. You are never alone. Earlier, I went to a cafe to be alone but there it’s the cigarette smoke that started to drown me. But what is truly drowning me now is this anxiety.

Why?  I’m not sure, nothing really changed since yesterday when I was on a thunderous winning streak (in my mind). Now I am (in my mind) completely eaten by anxiety because I backed out of taking a job that would have swallowed all my time and creative space… I am drawing, drawing, drawing… I am starting to see concepts and I am experimenting with colors and I feel like it’s going to be great, it shines and smiles to me and I get enamored and giddy and obsessed and that is all I want. Why should I give up my time to those thieves who believe in jobs and in “reality”? They never helped me before,  they just took from me.

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Back then I felt like they were bestowing some honor on me or something of the sort for having deigned to hire me, little, nothing me. But, time taught me that it’s not magnanimity that drove them and that what they were looking for was not the talent and qualities I so feared I lacked but the pliability and plasticity that would make me a good employee. I never got those jobs from those interviews because they clearly could immediately see that ‘I don’t line up too good’ and they saw that from a mile away.

Animals and trees. I miss animals and trees and grass. I miss animals and trees and grass and wind and flowers and their smell and space to stretch and the silence at night and the stars in the night sky. So I am looking for a flat with a tree nearby.  I did in fact get massively excited recently when I saw house plants for sale on a classified ads on a FB page. The tree thing seems pretty basic, but it’s hard to achieve here.

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I found animals in the cafe I go to these days. There is a cat and a love bird that hatched a baby love bird. There is also (not another animal but a beautiful gift) a beautifully spirited girl working there. On second sight, we hugged with great emotion for no apparent or known reason.

So the first day I saw the bird, way up on a fan on the ceiling. The cat was sitting next to me, I thought they were maybe too close but they are still too far for the bird to become cat snack.  The bird that day just sat there looking pretty nervous. The next day, there was a scraggly looking nestling of a bird next to the proud but still nervous looking parent. It looked like a decrepit sculpture of death with empty eyes from where I sat.

Today I saw the baby opened its wings, with feathers that looked like the feathers of a cheap plastic birdie for badminton (with really long quills). He already wants to fly. The cat, he is young, and he’s a sort of hip cool kind of cat, contrary to many cats will gladly stay there sliding into another pose just fast enough to give you time to shoot.  Since the cafe is pretty  hipster-ish, it makes the shots look like the cat is a supermodel doing a fashion magazine photo spread.  He will accept to be petted, and he will also bite a chunk of your hand once in a while just for fun. So there is my dose of nature.

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At the moment I have to figure out where I’ll live and how I’ll support myself. And to tie into all this questioning, a few hours ago I had the second and last “counseling” session with the bankruptcy firm.

“So you are careful about how you spend your money?”
“hmm hmm” (in the affirmative)

“You have to send your proofs of income.” she scolded me ( I had forgotten to do that) “Oh, OK. I will.”

“Do you want to get a credit card?”
“No. I don’t”
“Oh… uh, well, when you do, go to your bank and ask, don’t take it personal if they say no, get a prepaid card then and rebuild your credit.”
“Hmm hmm” I said. I had looked that topic up on line some weeks ago out of curiosity, a young financial wiz explained in 3 minutes how to rebuild your messed up credit to a stellar rated one within a couple of months.  That whole session was so mediocre. It didn’t help my anxiety. “Play by the rules and shut up”, I told myself.

So… the extraordinary moment… yes last week an extraordinary moment of clarity. It worked I was cruising in my new reality until I looked at the details of this new job, the commute time, the hours teaching, Istanbul is a nightmare for transportation.  I calculated that some days I’d spend 4 hours of commuting for 120 minutes of teaching and that I’d need time to prepare classes and that I am not a teacher and that I don’t know how to prepare classes. I realized clearly that this job was going to be a sort of prison and at that moment I started to lose all composure to a gigantic tsunami of anxiety.

I stayed in a daze all day.  Then I got the call.  I had to tell them that I must back out, and I love Beste so very much and I know she’s having a hell of a challenge finding teachers (hence my appointment).  I am trying to find something to say but I just stutter stupid stuff and I feel like throwing up.

After that conversation I was just blabbering feeling fever.  An email came in:  quote of the day: “Be in love with your life.  Every minute of it.”  Jack Kerouac, novelist. It hit.  BLAMMMMMM!!.

True.   It’s true, so true, so so so true. I need to hook my talons into life right NOW.  NOW.  NOW.    NOW.        NOW            NOW.
I spent the last 24 hours floating on a load of nervousness coming from God knows where.

NOW.

I look around!  NOW  I look inside.  NOW Feel your heart.  NOW  breathe deeply.  NOW.  Wow.  Phew….  the ground, earth…

I am a bit rudderless at the moment,  I made a mistake with this, never betray your own truth.

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Something extraordinary

It was another day, another morning to wake up to. I felt tired, sore. But I remembered the promise I made to myself and the Universe: see the joy, be the joy, see the beauty and don’t let this sort of unconscious habit to pay attention to what feels bad instead of what feels good.   So I got up, did my morning stretches, some push ups (started that in June) I sat for meditation and my mind was roving wildly all over the place.

But it had its reasons. Yesterday I was in a blur of options and choices and indecision. My original plan was to go do Workaway jobs all the way to November when my 90 day visa expires.  After that the plan was simply to do more Workaways in Europe.

After the bankruptcy, I had many realisations. It was very intense and kind of scary. But looking back over the last 5 years or so, I was able to see my decline and the reasons why it happened. Through that whole period, (the last 3.5 years)  I was completely unable to make any single decision. Anytime I would make one, it would promptly skid and land in some ditch.  It was so ubiquitous that I finally accepted that I could not make decisions anymore, and I let it all go.
While I was in Romania last July, Ami gifted me a sketch book, a small, black, hard covered, rectangular sketch book. On it I wrote “What?” short for “What do I want to do?” I would fill it with my questions, resumes of my state of mind and some drawings of potential projects.  At the same time I started listening and reading all sorts of people from the self help community.  I listened to the Get Rich lectures with Bob Proctor, to Tony Robbins, I started  to read “Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and a large number of inspirational people and ideas to see what would stick. I started to make lists of “my dreams”, and keep updating them, lists of my skills, wishes, fears, lists of possible jobs fitting my skill set, then I went into exploring the internet marketing thing to see what is going on there ( and I saw that I’ve been left in the dust since my days of website design) This gave me some hope, a sense of vague possibilities other than just surviving the next day, having the next meal.

I left Romania, arrived in Istanbul on August 2nd, felt good to be here despite seeing the immense economic stresses caused by this falling lira and political scene. I kept searching for answers. But this last week things started to click. I didn’t realize how much until today.  If you remember I had enrolled in the drawing academy, drawing course. One thing led to another, and after sending a series of drawings to the tutor because I could not get the concept taught, he offered to tutor me by sending me the exercises that address my faults directly. I was completely elated. So we started this exchange this week. I felt so validated and so thankful to have this personalized support as I am so determined to draw to the very best of my abilities, no matter what it takes.

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Then as part of my search, I went to the Udemy website they have courses on all imaginable subjects. There was a gigantic sale and for some reason, the courses in Turkey were charged in Turkish Lira, which means that what would cost $25 in Canada, cost me 25 TL (less than 5 bucks) So I bought a number of courses on topics I need to study, one of them, a “watercolor fundamentals” course (which I finished and which gave me so much knowledge!!)

Another one I got on a whim, it is a course on “how to manifest” by Ray Maor. I knew this guy from Youtube, I found him about 1 year ago, when I was looking into breatharianism, I had a sense that this was important to me.  This week I started and finished the fundamentals in watercolors course and started the next course which is about brush strokes.

Yesterday I finished the Manifestation course. I actually teared up because it was over!  Now, how to explain? I did all the exercises, once again building lists about dreams and lists to make you aware of your blocks.  there were a few exercises, so simple they were mind boggling, but they totally made me see and experience the power of an idea, a thought. I knew this, but never quite experienced it this way.

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So, I was about to leave to Yalova on Sunday for the first Turkish Workaway.  I felt confusion and many things were colliding in my mind.  This brings me back to this morning.  I went for coffee, then suddenly, as if all the ideas, choices, desires, blocks found their place in the scheme of my life, I made all those decisions not quite with my intellect if more by the work of some sort of mind gravity that put all the pieces in their place.  I made some drastic decisions, decisions to serve my longings, my desires, my needs and not just to fulfill the need for a roof and food when one has no money.

I decided to stay.  I will not go do Workaway. I will get a flat, my flat. Apply for the the residence permit despite all the system changes and the widespread panic within the expat community. I will work and support myself, as I write I have 3 possibilities awaiting my answer. I am investing time in educating myself with courses, with my drawing tutoring, so I can get more qualified to do work I adore.
It is a huge bite,  a dramatic volte-face.  Yesterday, I had no idea, I was vacillating between ideas and very confused. Now I am set and it feels … Extraordinary. Life is getting better all the time; My health, my focus,  my work, my love, my aspirations. Today was an incredible example that anything is possible.  My main “job” is to stay “elevated” in the soul.  Keep seeing the beauty, the wonder, the incredible magic of this little trip on earth we call life.

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