I may have mentioned before that the big draw of living abroad is the high incidence of unusual thing that might not happen back home. It keeps you on your toes.
This week has been a fairly typical week for me. The general structure of the day is get up, do coffee and breakfast activities, go to a cafe around eleven or so, fix the draft of the book, copedit articles about the paralell state (a shadowy organization within the turkish state which may or may not exist) or government corruption, order another cappucino, then walk home and do some more articles, have dinner, play Starcraft with Jari ( a computer game from the 90s–neither one of us has bothered to upgrade any further than the game we played at age 12), talk to anna and watch dumb tv shows with her, sleep. Already, this is a pretty good setup. I work from home, I have mostly interesting work, Turkey is cheap enough that I don’t have to worry about buying coffee or dinner here and there, and my neighborhood is a truly great place. I get to talk to our awesome neighbors (aysegul the artist/sandwich maker, Damien and Jen and baby rowan) and enjoy being a local american. I am very grateful for my life here.
The details, though, crowded into this very comfortable setup, these are what keep me. I know myself well enough to know this. Tyically I get bored and destroy comfortable setups, much like a toddler with his very own spoon and very own applesauce.
On wednedsay I woke up and me and the new roommate David went shopping for breakfast things, but when we got home, we realized we’d forgotten bread. I went out to get some. I heard someone yelling, somewhere above me. On the top floor of the corner building, the old auntie who lived there had popped open her window hatch and lowered a basket on a string. Genç burarya baksın, she said. Hey young person, look over here. She had a croaky froggy monster voice. She was looking right at me.
What can I do for you? I asked.
I want cigarettes. Can you get me some from the corner store?
Ok, I said. What kind?
The guy knows, she said. Money’s in the basket. I looked, and there was indeed a pink ten-lira note in the basket. I went inside the market and told him the auntie on the top floor over there wanted cigarettes. He said ok and got winston slims. I gave him the note plus a lira of my own for bread, and then returned to the robot voiced woman.
Thank you kind young one, she said. I dropped the cigarettes and change in the basket, and she pulled it skyward.
Later that day, Jari and I saw a rock paperweight with the image of a child in a leopard-print dress printed upon it, a cat leap into a square hole in a wall, and protestors shoot fireworks over the bull statue in the center of Kadikoy, where we live, before batallions of police chased them back into the alleyways with watercannons and tear gas. That was wednesday.