Thursday, April 18, 2013

All About Alba (Ok, not all.)

Expat Interviews

And something fun I wrote for them here!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Translating İstanbul

It's Friday night and this is what I do to amuse myself. İstanbul translated.

Beşiktaş = Best game in Tash.

Yıldız = Get up that hilldız and you'll see them yıldız.

Fulya = F-ya

Bomonti = BoMo

Taksim = Taksi (Taksi dude is our designated driver.)

Beyoğlu = Obey you - that's the current vibe.

Cihangir = D'you hang here? (I find it too full of itself.)

Galatasaray = Gotta lotta sorry.

Galata Tower = Gotta lotta tower. *Message me for the joke I didn't write here, NSFW.

Karaköy = Carry your (self down for some Namlı yum yum.) (Güllüoğlu too.)

Nişantaşı = Me-chi-chi-auntie-say

Çukurcuma = Cute kooky junka.

Sarıyer = Sorry you're here?

Cınaraltı = Six Sycamores (It's all gone with the wind or view from the bridge.)

Kuruçeşme = Could you text me? (When the band comes on?)

İstinye = Is it in ya?

Tarabya = Terribly far, ya.

Eminönü = Ms and Ö, Üs

Fatih = Faith

Balat = Buy lot (or buy now before it costs a lot.)

Kuzguncuk = Gesundheit (Thank you, Rich Altman for this one.)

Üsküdar = You skirt daring (at the knee.)

Acıbadem = Agita from the bottom (of my heart.)

Kartal = Cart y'all (We've got a metro!)

Fenerbahçe = (No f'in way, Ezgi and Tülin will kick my sweet, smart a$$.)

And this is what other people do on a Friday night.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Secret In Our Hearts

Something happened to me on Sunday night and as I write this I am not exactly sure what I feel about it. I had a lovely lazy morning and then cleaned and organized the apartment all afternoon. I needed to get out, I just can’t be indoors and in my head all day. I wanted to go out when it was still light, but I am a putterer. I’ll organize the things in my nightstand or look for some notes and then root around the kitchen cabinets for some tea or hot cocoa mix. Sunday was no exception. It got dark and I still needed to go out. I decided I wanted to buy colored cleaning cloths at Bim (pink, yellow and blue, they make me happy), but I just couldn’t get out of the house. I had to pee 500 million times. Then I was out the door and remembered I needed to get some money. Then I got outside and it was raining and I needed to go back in and get my umbrella. Finally, I was on my way. I had so many thoughts swimming in my head – or, maybe no thoughts. I was walking along the street and noticing the rhythm of my walk. Down passed the parking lot, straight to the gas station, then on the long, re-paved sidewalk passed the luxury car dealership. On the road across from the Real Supermarket a woman stops me. She is asking me something in Turkish and usually I say I do not speak Turkish (in Turkish) and keep walking in that New Yorker way I have of stopping/not stopping. But there is something in her face and she immediately and fluently switches to English as so many people do here in İstanbul.

She is taking a workshop she explains and needs to tell a stranger a secret. She and the stranger should then exchange numbers and if the stranger wants they too can share a secret. Can she tell me her secret? I look at her and in a fraction of a second so many thoughts flip through my brain and my instinct takes over. I look at her face and my answer is yes.

She explains a little and then tells me her secret. Her secret comes from a place of pain and fear. I listen to her. Because of the work I used to do in New York I know her fear is a real one and statistically the odds are on the side of her fear being realized. Her face is soft, wounded, open. I do not know if I should offer my thoughts – perhaps she only needed to be witnessed.

I am not sure about any workshop that asks you to take your deepest fear and confess it to a stranger on the street. Perhaps this is something better suited to the person who loves and understands you most or a highly trained and skilled professional. But what I have noticed is that there is such a thirst here in İstanbul in people from all walks of life for spiritual growth and healing. Everyone, everywhere, all the time. I don’t remember New York being like this, although it is true that you attract who and what is energetically like you. Perhaps this deep-rooted fear, this courage to face it and trust in a total stranger is what I am seeing now reflected in her face.

I ask her if I may offer my thoughts – and I do. She closes her eyes and opens them. The fear is still there, but there is also relief. Then she asks me a question that in the past would have felt like being pushed off a cliff. When I answer it I am in a place of peace. I guess I have faced this fear enough times to be close to accepting it. I guess the more and more you face your fears, the less fearful it becomes. Perhaps it doesn’t matter who you face your fears with - stranger or friend – as long as you face them.

Now she asks me if I will share a secret with her. Yes. I will. And when I do her face blooms like a flower. It is not a smile, but a look of peace, of acceptance.

“But this is wonderful,” she says.

“Yes, I know. Thank you.”

We exchange numbers and then I ask her name. Both our names have four letters and begin with an ‘A’. I put her number in my purse and she does the same with mine. We say goodbye and I keep thinking of her and our exchange. I go to Bim to buy the colored cleaning cloths and on the way home it stops raining.