It happened again.
Each time I come to Turkey, I come expecting that the worst I will go through are physical and logistical inconveniences– excessively long bus rides. Lost wallets and credit cards. Worn-down shoes and pants because European sizes are too small for me. Inability to communicate properly. Skeezy male attention. Choppy Skype calls with family in the distant land of America. The kind of practical complications and discomforts you expect with living abroad.
It’s always worse than that.
Life gets real. I make friends. I fall in love. I make mistakes. I break the rules. I work too hard and get too invested. Network with the kind of high-level people I’d never imagine to meet in the states. Every day find out a different way I’m naive. Realize again and again about how all the dry politics and history I read about in policy papers and learned in stale classrooms are actually alive and breathing in the stories and lives of the people around me.
And then things happen that I can’t say or write, because if I say them I am giving too much of myself and others away.
It’s real life in a way that my life in the states hardly ever was or is. It got so “real,” in fact, I had to get away and escape to London for a few days! But more on that shortly.
Photo: BB and I posing in Aegean waters in Akyaka.