Sick Wanderings

Some days I love my life. Okay. Most days I love it. Today I was sick, and it should have made life close to unbearable, but it didn’t. Not even close. We woke up late this morning, at 815, after the alarms had already gone off. We try to be out of the house by 830, and usually even though we don’t get moving until 810, that 20 minutes is enough. However, since I was sick and Nikola was beginning to come down with something it wasn’t enough time, and we left late. Of course I had trouble, as I always do at the bus stop that inspires me to go into urban planning and fix transportation issues in Istanbul. Seriously, last friday I was at this bus stop for nearly an hour, waiting for a bus that was not so full that even a girl with my size and lack of delicacy could not squeeze her way in. Three buses passed before I was able to get on, and I was half an hour late to a class that was cancelled anyways. Today wasn’t quite that bad. I made it on the second bus, and made it to school only five minutes late. It seemed the professor was having an off day as well, because he started five minutes late, and it was almost as if I was on time.

The first class consisted of me almost falling asleep. Not because of the content. In fact, it is one of my favorite classes, with an absolutely passionate professor and the interesting topic of the state and the stateless in the middle east. I get to contemplate all sorts of ideas regarding nationalism, sovereignty and autonomy. But sick bodies do not really care what you are studying and so my head started nodding despite my interest. After the class I went for a coffee, and I began to feel like maybe I could make it through my next class without a nap.

My next class was modern theory, where we are currently studying Benjamin. Let me just take a moment to say, even though I haven’t read much of him, he might be one of my favorite theorists. He leaves all of the wet complexity in sociology, that too many theorists extract for the sake of clarity. Sometimes things are MORE clear when they are left murky. I actually was able to stay awake, and mostly engaged, for most of that class. There was a long section that the professor explored an example in Turkish, which happens often with that professor, but other than that I was having a grand time. I had even done the readings, for once, and was excited about having a quiz, which she unfortunately put off until Wednesday. (sigh)

After that class I walked down to the south campus. I know that I have described the Bogazici South Campus hill before, but I feel like I have to explain it once more, because it struck me as altogether new today. The hill looks out over Bebek, a more affluent bay of the Bosphorous, where there are many adorable sailboats tethered about. Beyond the bay are many free boats and ships moving about the channel, and in the further distance a bridge, and the Asian side. The view is usually a little treat, no matter how fast you pass it. Today, however, I was more enchanted with the greenery that has completely taken over the hill beside the sidewalk. Trees, bushes, and grasses are overflowing. Flowers are in bloom. Today every leaf looked particularly crisp and clear. Every dew drop looked heavy, and with a gentle glance I could measure its weight, and not just its absolute weight, but the relationship of weight that it had with the leaf holding it. The greens were more vibrant than usual. Everything seemed healthy, full and growing. Nothing seemed to be in a state of decay. I did not even see the scalloped tell of a caterpillar marring a bit of green. As I began to descend the hill I was thinking about the tragedy of sociologists, and how any good sociologist would never be accepted by the dominant hegemony, because in reality we always have to go against the dominant, and how far separate theory is from applied sociology. It is tragic. But the greenery pulled me out of those thoughts, and before I could understand the transition I was busy appreciating the moment, and life, and my surroundings. It was one of those moments that makes life altogether worthwhile.

I ate a quick lunch in the cafeteria. It was nothing spectacular. Lately it hasn’t been, and I think I miss having my campus friends that I used to eat with. After that I had another coffee and did some research into moving to Bulgaria. (Although I should have done homework). Then I had one more class- learning about poetry as a form of hope in central asia, which was a difficult class, because my professor was speaking about a particular tragedy that has been so silenced that no one even really knows how many people died. We hear these things and I think as students they go in one ear as facts, and out the other, as facts. We have a sterile approach to such tragedies, which is necessary in sociology because some group is almost always oppressed, or dying. But for some reason today that sterility was lifted, just a bit. My professor cried as she told the story. She cries in class sometimes, and apparently got a poor review for it last semester, but I am actually very thankful for it. It shows that yes, a sociologist can still be a human. These are events that are worth getting upset about and I appreciate her bravery in allowing them to remain painful instead of just turning them into facts. Still, it was a difficult class.

After class it was back on the bus, and an hour later I met up with Nikola for a coffee and sushi. Unfortunately sushi isn’t nearly as good when you are sick 🙁 We are both hurting pretty bad. He has a fever, I have a runny nose. It is his birthday and I would have loved to have done something truly special, but it looks like cuddling away the sickness wins.

So yeah, not the best day, but with a life when that is among the worst days, how can I be unhappy? 

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