To her credit, Benal found three (3) people to replace me immediately. A dancer, a singer, and a professional english teacher who’s done enough drama to pull something together. This makes me feel better. I will write the remaining bits and pieces of script and be done with it. All three of these people came into work yesterday. The dancer, Irving, had a perfect half-hour lesson. He came in, had the right demeanor. Hey kids, let’s get ready to dance! Slow, timed sentences, careful. Taught them some dance moves, it was scaled to their level, held their attention. Right kind of music. Knew when to check in. At their insistence, showed them his own choreography. Listed some of the famous people he’d worked with. “Can you make me famous?!” He captured their attention, imagination, and hopes in half an hour, and I realized, this stable and wonderful human being with a wife and new baby who’s choreographing dancers for coca-cola commercials in istanbul and teaching children–this is neither the person I am, nor the person I want to be. It was so damn wholesome.

Maybe a year or two ago, Libby and I were walking past Curves, the gym chain for Women, on northern lights in Anchorage. “Ugh,” I said, as we passed. “I know,” Libby said. “It’s just so sickening and positive.”

“Wait,” I said, “Why do we hate on the gym chain just for being positive? Like, that’s not inherently a bad thing. But I do hate it.”

“Right,” Libby agreed. “We just don’t believe it.” Could be a family thing, but I don’t know. Neither Libby, nor Jari, nor I, nor any of my parents are particularly snuggly. It’s not really a family value. So when a dance teacher comes in and aces a kids’ lesson like that…I understand in a deep way why I have been having trouble. I’m happy to teach things I love to people who want to learn it, but nuturing…nuturing is not really an inclination I possess.

Anyways, this has been a blog post with way more of my thoughts and observations than the typical travel writing fare, so to remind you all that I’m living in a weird place, two week’s ago was ataturk’s deathday, and pedestrians and traffic stopped, everywhere, and 9:05 am for a minute. A low siren call permeated the air. People got out of their cars and stood in silence to honor his memory. The clock in the room in Dolmabahce palace where he breathed his last is still stopped at the minute he died.

Ataturk: (1881-193∞)

Last night was american thanksgiving and we made a turkey and a bunch of other stuff and it was awesome. there will be an expat cooking show. yes.

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