Return to the Fantasy

It’s been awhile since I have written here. I have mostly fallen into my family this past year. Day after day, it is the same thing. But we have hit a rhythm. In many ways, it is satisfying. It just doesn’t leave a lot to share with the world, intellectually.

But things have taken a change in the past month. Peatuk is in daycare. Full-time. From 8:30 am until 5:00 pm. That has freed me to return to work, which is a struggle on its own. Nikola and I are still trying to iron out the wrinkles in our business plan, and are hoping to hit a solid $0 profit for this year, if we both work hard during December. (It is amazing, the unexpected expenses that come up in a new business, especially if both people managing it have no previous business experience.) I am still struggling come to terms with working in the ‘real world.’ 10 years with non-profits pretty much spoiled me and some days I feel like writing content is a soul-crushing, pointless activity. Well, at least it is usually a fun, soul-crushing, pointless activity.

In other news, a very old friend asked me to meet up with her in Istanbul. I am ecstatic to see her after many years of face-stalking each other and the rare skype conversation. I love when the people I love visit this corner of the world.

While I am excited to see her, I am nervous about returning to Istanbul. Occasionally, I try to remember a few Turkish phrases. I was never particularly great at the language, but I used to be able to say that I had a husband, that I lived in a small flat with two rooms, that I liked eating lentil soup and doners. I could ask where and what and when. Now I can count to ten, and say yes, no, and thank you. It is a little disappointing. But that is not why I am hesitant to return.

Before I moved to Istanbul, I fell in lust with it. It was a magical city. It was supposed to be my Paris. When I moved there, things changed. The luster fell off. Nikola and I got cheated, time and again. We spent a cold, drizzly winter in a sub-standard apartment, keeping each other warm with our new-relationship heat.

While there were beautiful parts of living there, I left with a sour feeling in my stomach. Of course, leaving during the Gezi Park protests also left me feeling unsettled about the city. The weeks before we left were spent listening to shouting in the streets and seeing our roommate bring home empty teargas canisters for his collection. I never felt unsafe (although one night we did not leave our friend’s home to go home due to the protests)… I just felt unsettled.

Now I think about going back as a tourist again, as opposed to a student. I want to dive back into the romance. The late night dance clubs. Flirting with hot men. Writing in the park. Riding the ferry out to the islands. I want that feeling of young freedom and possibility, and I am afraid that it will no longer be there. It is like sticking the final nail in the coffin of my love affair with that city, and I am not sure if I am ready for that, because somehow the city, its confusing possibility and pregnant atmosphere, has gotten tied up with my ideas of youth and writing. Even though it never actually became my Paris, I am afraid that if I return and it has completely lost its luster, that I am admitting that I will never have a Paris.

Right now, that is a very scary thought.

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