I realized with some trepidation today that I have been in the US for six months now. Six months. It certainly does not feel like six months, more like six days.
While I was digesting this realization, I was hit hard by how much I have let go of since my return. I made many promises to myself as I lay on a rickety bunk in the World House Hostel in Istanbul on the night of July 1. Promises about the kind of person I wanted to be, the traditions I wanted to hold on to, the people I wanted to keep in my life. But somehow, in the rush of resettling, readjusting, reacclimatizing, I have let life get in the way, let it get in the way in the exact way that I promised myself it would not.
Ayran içtik, ayrı düştük.
We drank our ayran and fell away from each other.
While in Turkey, I fell in love with the tradition of Türk kahvesi, Turkish coffee. I do not particularly like coffee, but I admire, and even adore the ritual of Türk kahvesi.
Making coffee in the Turkish style is a slow, exact process. Each step must be followed precisely, or the coffee will be ruined. There is something soothing about the rigidity of the process — there is no second-guessing, no improvisation, no ambiguity, the opposite of real life.
Additionally, coffee is not a beverage to be consumed alone, it is meant to be prepared with love and shared with loved ones, usually after a meal. The tick, strong drink is meant to be sipped slowly over conversation. And after drinking, the cups should be swirled and flipped over, and once they have cooled, the drinkers’ fortunes read in the grounds. I do not put any stock in fortune-telling, but it is an important part of the tradition. If you listen closely to a friend’s reading of your grounds, you can learn a lot about what they think about you and your relationship to the world. It is also generally hilarious.
The actual consumption of the beverage is not what Türk kahvesi is about. It is about community, friendship, love. Preparing and sipping coffee and reading fal (fortunes) is a time for bringing people together. It is never rushed; there is time to sit and reflect and talk and just be.
When I returned to the States, I wanted to preserve that space for friendship, that space for slowing life down and appreciating each other, whether it be over coffee, tea, wine, a meal, or a patch of grass. However, I have not created that space. I have allowed life to pass hurriedly by without many pauses. I have gotten sucked into work and errands, at the expense of my Türk kahvesi space. I want to make it a priority again. I want to enjoy my time with the people around me and appreciate the relationships I have cultivated.
In the last six months, I have also let adventuring get away from me. While in Turkey I thought nothing of hopping on a midnight bus and driving halfway across the country to visit friends, often for less than 48 hours. I know it is not necessarily a sustainable way to live, this constant weekend traveling, but I have not many many attempts to venture out as of late. Somehow, a weekend has become ‘not enough time’ to see those near and dear to me or to explore my surroundings. When did there stop being enough time for an adventure?
I want to commit myself to seeking out new adventures, big and small, far and near. I do not want to put my inquisitiveness on the back-burner. I need to inject more spontaneity into my life again.
Dağ dağı kavuşmaz, insan insana kavuşlar.
Mountains do not reunite with each other, people do.
Perhaps the most important thing I have let go of, the thing I least want to lose are the important people in my life. In July, when I decided to move to Seattle, I vowed that I would not allow myself to fall out of touch with my friends. I chose to move to the Left Coast, in full awareness that a vast majority of my friends are not there. I knew it would take a lot work to hold onto my friendships, but I promised myself I would not allow them to disintegrate.
This promise has not panned out as planned. My attempts to keep in touch have been sporadic at best. Again, I have let everyday life get in the way, allowing work, relocation, and a whole lot of nothing get in the way of my relationships with important people. I rarely pick up the phone when I am bored, instead opting for the much easier, passive activities of picking up my computer or a book (let’s be real, my computer).
The one and only resolution I have made for 2014 is to be in better contact with the ones I love. More phone calls, emails, Gchats, text messages. More visits, birthday cards, Skype dates. Reconnecting with people I have not talked to in months. Not letting “life” be an excuse. I have cultivated some beautiful friendships with some amazing people, and I should not allow them to fallow.
The realization that I have let go of so many important things that I had gained in the past year saddened me deeply. Crying-myself-to-sleep-at-night sad. It frightened me to think I might be losing some of the perspective I have gained in last year and a half. I do not want to lose my incredible sense of self. I am resolved to hold onto all of the adventure, curiosity, peace of mind, and friendships I have discovered.
İstediğin kadar uzağa git, hep aynı gökyüzünü paylaşacağız.
Go as far as you want, we will always share the same sky.