Today I was getting on the tram to come home when I glanced to the side and saw a young woman wearing shorts and large sunglasses, with her slender fingers wrapped around a large frappicinno. (I can’t even spell the word it has been so long since I thought about it.) The entire moment seemed so foreign and out of place to me. Now, I know that Istanbul is a metropolitan place, and there are starbucks, and every copycat that can pretend to be starbucks, and I know that plenty of people here have the money to spend on those drinks. But it has been so long since I have had one- years- that the size of it struck me as grotesque, and I could not imagine drinking one. Strange that now things that are normal in a foreign land, from my homeland, have become foreign to me?
Maybe it is just the summer time creeping in on alternating hot and cold sea breezes that carve out the space around the channel with freshness. Maybe it is just the finally shining sun that illuminates the dirty, gritty grim held between cobblestones and on every public surface. But I don’t think that is the case. Life up in Ferahevler was too sanitary. People mainly kept to themselves and there was not a whole lot of diversity. I am not saying that people weren’t nice enough, but really, it felt like everyone else wanted to do exactly what Nikola and I wanted to do: be left to their own devises and live their own lives. Down here it is very different. The layering of the people, the engagement, the eye contact. It is invigorating after an entire winter of missed conversations and interactions.