Wednesday, August 21, 2013

darkening air

this was in november, late november, as the weather and your mind starts to grey. the world slows around you and the winter light dawns on the bare branches. there is something about the empty spaces, something lonely, something stolen, stolen from the air and given to the ground.  

my brother and i, on an adventure, had parked in the woods, just off the main road so we could still see silhouettes of cars through the darkening air.  cold rain was starting to eclipse the clear air and our breath rose before our faces. fog seeped from the earth and cucooned us in its ghostly grasp. secrets were held and secrets fell in the drops around us.  

we stepped lightly through the thorns and they snapped and i could feel my brother right behind me. in the shadows of dusk, we followed a path shown only to us.  we came to a clearing where the ice met the roots of tall slate trees and through the ice we could see the shapes of lives past waiting for the spring thaw.  a train whistle, the call of a lone crow, we were miles from home. 

and though the light was low and the wind had stolen the warmth, there, in the darkening, silent air, i was happy with my brother.  words are not necessary between the closest souls, and just like the sun says nothing to the moon as they make their grand movements, i know he can hear me though we are miles apart.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

HOME and why i have not written for 3+ weeks

we went to yalikavak and the Aegean was so lovely. and we ate and we ate and everything tasted of olive oil and salt.

we went to new hampshire later. and everything tasted up dew and sunshine.

life is easy in nh. it is unpretentious and the trees cradle you in their shade as the peepers call the night in.  it is lovely and my family is like peas and carrots and i miss them everyday.  

coming back to this big city is difficult for me; not culturally or physically, but mentally, spiritually. i was raised among trees not buildings, my body prefers 2 wheels to four, and the emptiness and silence of the world, to me, is beautiful; natural solitude and space are rare commodities in istanbul and i find that my skin craves the grass, the roughness of bark, my limbs the breath of wandering summer air, beach sand, resting on sun-baked stones.

living in a foreign place is exhilarating, illuminating, gratifying and i love the life that surrounds me; but, as im sure many wanderers would agree, the best part of being abroad is leaving, is the return to a smaller world, simple loves, the things that you hold with you wherever you go...home. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


this is the peninsula of land on which i have spent the last 4 days. the aegean is crystalline and warm, the sand holds histories in its miniature stones.  

i have eaten more than i care to discuss. alis parents are skillful persuaders and i always eat everything that is placed in front of me, much to my own detriment. 

but one of my favorite parts of this trip was the twisted aesop fable that alis parents told me.  it is a tale of august bugs and ants. there are eucalyptus trees everywhere here, used to soak up the water and keep the land from returning to its formerly swampy state, and in these eucalyptus trees live (what the turks call) august bugs. august bugs make a deep chirping noise, something akin to cicadas, that harmoniously emanate from the soft green, perfumed eucalyptus leaves. august bugs are a lazy, peaceful creature and they spend their summer months singing and sitting in the warm sea breeze, laughing at the ants toiling below in the aegean heat.  

however, the seasons do not last and soon the chill of fall nights settle upon the once comfortable homes of the august bugs.  and the august bugs are bewildered by their growing discomfort and agitated by their settling hunger.  
and as the nights grow colder and longer, they look at the ants in their food filled homes with envy and they ask the ones they once laughed at for favors. 

but the ants have worked for their spoils and they laugh now as they rebuff the pleas of the august bugs and laugh still as the august bugs perish in the winds only to repeat the same tragic cycle for eternity... for what does an august bug want but to sit in the perfumed breeze of a lovely, tall cicada tree?  

Friday, July 12, 2013


we are going on vacation. normally i would be ecstatic about the prospects of leaving the city for the aegean coast, but i am being distracted by my unending illness. it has been one week. i am never sick. i have come to the conclusion that i must be dying. so in direct juxtaposition to my present sentiments, i give you these beautiful photographs of my home.... how i wish to sit on the banks of these shady, dark waters with nothing but the breeze and a neti pot.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

velvet curtains

i have a sore throat. i hate being ill and, unfortunately, i make that perfectly clear so everyone else hates when i am ill as well.  i have my flaws; complaining is definitely one of them. probably should work on that....probably not today.
but i digress; my intention for this post is to tell of the strange occurrences manifesting themselves in the time of my discomfort.....

1. i used the electric teapot as a very effective humidifier for our room. i figured out (definitely not accidentally) that if i leave the top open to let out maximum steam, the kettle will never stop boiling;  a small work of genius, as the little kettle-that-could immediately transformed our sleeping space into a steamy sauna. i was very happy. ali was very unhappy (he is covered in a fine brown fur that keeps him well insulated on even the coldest of nights), but i didnt care...i am ill.

2. i dreamed of a lone toilet that stood nakedly in the middle of my home town. the solitary john was completely exposed to the elements and the watchful eyes of passersby.  as i walked along  the presently empty, moonlit street, the need came upon me, so i rested my pale fa-funs on its pearly edges.  my skin had but touched the cold contours when, to my immediate horror, i realized that a crowd of night runners was nearly upon my public place of constitution! i raced against them to simultaneously extricate myself from my blue, chiffon gown (chiffon?! how shameful. what torture is this?) and extricate said gown from the grips of the porcelain pooper. alas, humiliation seemed inevitable; i could now distinguish the first oncoming face (a mean-girl, what cruel fate!)....but as the realization dawned that i could not escape with the weight of a toilet-watered, frilled dress, i turned to face my former tormentors, and awoke (justice! i've paid loser dues) to the continued boil of my ancient, yet trusty teapot. 

moral: everyone has devils past, but i can proudly say, with near complete credence, that not one of those grade-school queens possesses the initiative to create a homemade humidifier from a soviet-era, electric kettle. what now.    

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


today is the start of ramazan.  ramazan (turkish, or ramadan in english) is the ninth month of the islamic calendar, throughout which observers are expected to refrain from lustful acts, ingesting mind-altering substances, and various other heathenish behaviors. participants are also expected to fast during the daylight hours (even from water), making an already very animated peoples even more.....animated, is the word i am inclined to use again. 

this year, ramazan coincides with a period of oppressive heat in the city as well as roiling socio-political unrest; a storm is brewing and, like the most exciting summer thunder-storms, one cannot predict whether the winds will change, leaving only a sprinkle of rain chasing after a dark sky, or whether that sky will open and the forces will make what they want of this world.

so ali (my little turkish love) and i decided to escape. we drove up the bosporus to the black sea where the winds whip the water into a foamy, cold playground. we checked into a hotel room and shouted (spat)from our balcony. we ate pan-fried fish and drank cold beer and saw the sun set and waited for the night to bath our burnt skin in its cool, clean air.

it did, and we slept soundly in a way that is particular only to the comforts of a plush, white hotel bed you know you dont have to make in the morning.

and we didn't make it. we left it and walked amongst stone ruins and along grassy, green bluffs. we walked and whispered and watched the big boats push slowly on towards an elusive destination (perhaps russia or iran), an inconceivable reality, leaving only our wonder and envy in their wake. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

lazy days

yesterday i cooked (bells sound, doves fly)... an extraordinary feat.  on a normal blog, one might post pictures of said culinary endeavors but, as my meal consisted of chicken, onions, peppers, and eggplant stir-fried until the desired grayish-brown, i will post this 

picture of me romping through the wintery woods instead (it has the same pallet, with a much more inspiring image....presumptuously) (and thanks dad for snapping it).  what it may have lacked in aesthetic appeal however, it fully made up for in taste. go me.

otherwise this weekend has been almost completely uneventful because i am 26 going on 90.  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

istanbul summer

on july 2nd i was kept in this country against my will.  apparently, i had not followed the proper visa violation routes and consequently was unable to leave turkey without paying a fine and serving a mandatory probation period of THREE MONTHS!!!!! during which time i would be unable to reenter turkey.  this seemed particularly unjust as, not the day before, i had spoken to the head of the visa issuing department in istanbul and been reassured that all that awaited me at the airport was a small fine.


so, sobbing in the airport in broken turkish, i pushed my flight back, retrieved my already checked baggage, threw myself into a taxi and begrudgingly grumbled my address. i refused to smile or laugh for a whole day after on principle.


while watching tv on my computer (totally legal) and resentfully pondering what adventures i might be having in the US today, i happened upon an unwanted realization....i realized i should learn from this (i hate learning things from uncomfortable situations); that i should turn my frown upside down, stop watching modern family on repeat, take a shower and do all of things i've been too tired and lazy (mostly lazy) to do before like writing on my blog, painting, studying for the GREs etc...

so here is an update on istanbul in the summer.  it is hot. not hot like new england (where i grew up) in the summer hot; hot like an oven hot.  the city is old; it holds its age in the stone buildings and the glowing green glazes of mosques; in the water ways and the traffic and the street vendors.  but the sun bakes this old city, firing the stones and boiling the water and the heat sits on millions and holds the winds back. the heat births mosquitos and deep, dark scents, behaviors and glances and dirt and dirty words and restlessness. and there is no reprieve, the salty currents that surround the city are all spoiled.

despite this, istanbul is still beautiful and it is big and there is an ease that comes through the open windows and with the night as it crawls in over the city of seven hills.  and this summer, it birthed, once more, something beautiful: resistance.  I will not pretend that i participated in the protests in any way, nor will i claim that i had any right to, but i am proud to witness the strength of humans and their vigor and solidarity and love in the face of evil words and evil actions.  power is a hateful drug, one that has been widely misused, and here, in turkey, amongst burgeoning islamization and drowning democracy, actions were taken against it. those actions were brave and they were beautiful.


(yes, i went there)
(yes, its a hashtag, let it go)


Thursday, June 20, 2013

mon père

this is for my father. my father who always gave me as much as he had to give. 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze 

thanks for never telling me i couldnt do anything
or not to believe
thanks for swimming and sitting in the shade
for telling me stories
and spitting watermelon seeds
and for annies with peas
thanks for never leaving me alone, even when i wanted it
thanks for the world and the sunshine and the rain and the magic you showed me in everything; every mundane, ordinary thing.
i love him so much.