"so much persisting"

Saturday morning in The 'Bul; up the coast here a shimmering, winter sun lingers around my windowsill. I've got a steaming cuppa joe at my side, and the kitties are afoot- basking in the golden glow in my room. Sometime in January came the swift death of my beloved french press, so I've been making do with my Melitta Ready Set Joe single cup coffee brewer thingy. The added drama, or flair, of the french press is surely missed, but coffee must go on! Or, in the newly coined phrase (memes too) by words arising from the new political climate we Americans are currently experiencing: "But, coffee persisted" Unfortunately, the stove top burners don't comply with my nifty caffeteria, so it must sit high up in the darkness of the back of a cupboard- never to experience the front row VIP utensils and such. Alas...

Here's the background:

But I digress; more about the current political shit-show later... Or not.  Let us persist in reveling on a more positive vibrational frequency.

Lots brewing in the Turkey transition cycle. I'm eagerly anticipating which country I'll be moving on to in September. Before that, though, I'll be doing a brief stint back in America hanging in the woods, on the beach- with all the usual suspects, etc.  The kitts will be hanging in southern Oregon, becoming acquainted with their new environment- living as indoor/outdoor kitties! They will also have other feline, and canine, roommates! I think they really miss their feline and canine friends back in Bahrain during the summer's at Starr Villa.

The weather, of course, if up for lengthy discussions. A long, cold winter finally showing the first signs of lifting. Nevertheless, Knit-wits persisted. Yes, fortunately, time was well-spent. Knitting kept me quite active; our 'Knit-Wit' Sunday sessions were/are welcome comic relief where we can come together, our little group of Americans, Canadians, Kiwis, Turks, etc. The Boyz, always gracious hosts for our shenanigans morph into 'TV-Js' (yes, I just made that up), tuning us into the latest and greatest TV series, comedy routines, news bits, etc.

I've been branching out in the culinary world as of late. I'm currently LOVING cooking with celery roots. Winter means soups and these buggahs serve as tremendous bases for tasty, soupy treats. Black beans have also become a staple. Imagine just throwing them into the pressure cooker for 22 minutes and PRESTO- they are finished; no soaking overnight! BAM; I love me some instant gratification when it comes to food. Avocados, I've noticed, are becoming increasingly easier to 'peel'. Yea, it's something to master- how to easily get the skins off of avos here.

This past week I've started to hear increasingly louder whispers from my spring collection, tucked away deep in my closet. Shiny, silky fabrics trying to make a run for it to the front row upon each opening. After a quick closet analysis, I decide to keep them in the background- awaiting patiently for 'that day' to arrive. Shunned for now, nevertheless, they persist in their whispers...

My running shoes are anxious to get dirty too. Last winter I ran throughout winter. Sure, it was cold; neverlesless, I persisted.  This winter? Well, it was damn cold, and icy quite a bit. It never felt totally fine, in my opinion, to risk running and slipping.

Okay, here's the real news folks: I'm hungover; I'm hungry; I've had too much coffee; I have to pee (some of this list might contain alternative facts, but I can't recall).  *very bigly problem*  

"This is fake news because the news is fake"      (look it up)

The End...or not. Neverless, meme news persisted...

In case you want a factual *meme analysis* of how I view this new Amerikan regime change, here it isn't:

*OMG' really?*



#tinyhands  #tinytrumps



The Young Turks   #resist


A funny thing happened to me on the way to Napoli Capodichino International Airport...

I'll begin with the end: A funny thing happened to me on the way to Napoli Capodichino International Airport, and this is how it went down...

So, there I was at the Port of Naples, sitting on a plastic chair drinking Proseco and soaking up the Napoli sun that has favorably looked down upon this city for thousands of years. Maxine, doing her thing with her new navy blue, Italian leather purse (admiration, appreciation, etc.), was waxing poetic about the city's cool, warm vibe (I know, sounds weird- but totally 100O% real fact, and not an 'alternative fact' (as the new U.S. president's inner circle would perhaps suggest).

Suddenly there is a chick coming up to us at our makeshift headquarters as we waited for the AliBus to whisk us off to the airport. She had a presence, I felt it. She hovered around us at first- until we noticed that she was going to say something to us, almost as if reluctant to approach us.

Let me back up a bit... So, January 21st, one day after the inauguration of the 45th American president *insert sad, angry emoji here*, was the "Women's March on D.C" https://www.womensmarch.com/ .  I had ferociously been making pink #pussyhatproject hats https://www.pussyhatproject.com/ weeks before for friends and myself to wear in protest of many important platforms, but just overall how shitty our douche bag new president is...

Because my time in Italy overlapped this monumental day, I decided that we must represent regardless of present location. I mean, pussies everywhere have shit to say, right? The 21st was spent checking out Naples most famous archaeological sites: Herculaneum and Pompeii. We had our pussyhats on and got our exploring on. Amazing day. Honestly, every day in Naples was amazing.

 But I digress... Back to the Port of Naples... So this chick is approaching us- me and my pink pussyhat specifically. She is a local, and looks to be asking for directions? I'm, of course, delighted as I think to myself, 'hah! I look Italian enough to be a 'local'- how cool is that?' I mean, I am Italian-American after all and have the nose to 'prove' it. She stops at our rickety little table and starts off, "Excuse me, but your hat you're wearing. I couldn't help but notice that it's pink and am wondering if you are part of this movement..." (something like this is went). It was like, YESSSSSS!!! I LOVE YOU! I mean, that is so cool that during our entire Naples journey no one approached us while wearing our hats, although I'm sure many knew from the news, social media, etc.

It was SUCH a beautiful moment that here is this chick and she recognized what was going on. Quickly she produced a camera! OMG! Suddenly I noticed another entity next to her- another pussycat, this one had a penis though! We were still in awe of what was happening and he quickly shifted into paparazzi mode!  We took pictures while exchanging niceties, etc.

Now, I tried to give away my pussyhat a day earlier, while thrift shopping. By the way, Naples has a thriving thrifting community! So, at Happy Vintage https://www.facebook.com/Happy-vintage-to-you-519567091414932/ I spied this lovely frock that I suddenly had to have. I bargained down to an incredible deal- mainly due to the owner being this kind, generous, wonderful creature. I was explaining the significance of my #pussyhat I was wearing and entered it into the deal, along with the makeshift sign (refer to pictures) I carried around while in pussyhat mode, etc. He wasn't quite getting it, and when I finally took it off my head to give it to him, he graciously turned down my offer, but kept the signage!  I hope he looks it up and reads all about it! I also gave him my calling card so he just might be checking out this blog at any moment (the makeshift card consisted of a Dr. Seuss sticker with some Sharpie scribblings of my social media sites to visit).

Again I digress. Earlier in the day I had lamented about how I wanted to give my pussyhat away to some Napoli pussy! During our photoshoot, I decided that this awesome female was the perfect pussy to don my very own made-by-my-hands pussyhat and continue to represent the movement in her world! I took off my hat and offered it to her. She was trying to graciously decline my offer, but I was having none of it.  I motioned for her to wait a moment (while I was digging through my backpack) so I could give her one of my calling cards too!

Because our bus was coming any minute, we left it at this. We just were all thrilled at what had transpired. I mean, it felt GOOD. I am so happy to give my hat to her. I feel like we healed the world, just a little bit from this :) I know she will be reading this too, so I am expecting some photos from yesterday of us, as well as keeping the movement alive and posting with it on around!!! I am so excited for the new chapter in my pussyhat's new life. I want to hear all about its journey. Those 2 people were just so damn cute and real and I hope they know how deep in my heart I loved their energy and how important it all was and the lead-up to our meeting was just whimsy!

Oh yea, Italy is amazing. More on that another time though. It's Thursday morning and I'm back in Istanbul on a dreary winter day that threatens with snowfall.

Here are some #pussyhat pictures in Pompeii!

by the end of the day, we were fuzzy pussies :)


Today in HERstory: Lucky13

Today. Today in HERstory:

MYstory about HERstory in history- 6 years ago to be exact. January 13, 2011. Not a date for forget, she thinks. Every year now I ponder what each and every one of us is thinking in those initial moments of awareness of the date. This year I was reminded on January 11. Marley posted something and the memory gates flooded so hard that a warmth washed over my body. I almost forgot, I thought. Solo_ojo reminded me I was 2 days early. Lucky 13, he said. That's how he remembers the date; his lucky number... Clever. Poignant. Bittersweet.

Tunisia, my beloved. A relatively recent arrival, soon enough I found myself immersed, absorbed, engulfed in the turmoil of that most wonderful country. Tunisia is kinda like my first love. I'm not sure why I say that, but I do. How do I define such a thing. I guess the 'Arab Spring' is one of those defining moments. So is Hammamet, though. Yea. That day we just decided to hop on the train and go camp on the beach in Hammamet. That we did.

I remember hanging out at this funky joint inside the kasbah (fort), in Hammamet's medina on the Mediterranean.  What a sight, I tell you. I remember we were smoking shisha outside. The heat of the day still radiating. We slid right into relax mode and just checked the new scene. Later we were walking the shoreline in darkness, looking for a resting spot in the sand for the night. Having no idea where we were, really, at some point we just sat down, rolled out our sleeping bags and passed out. Well, Solo_ojo did. Haha. He snores. My bag was about 10 feet away. The stars were chattering- louder than Solo_ojo's snoring.

La Goulette, another defining moment. And El Dougga. And 'plastic alley'. And Tunis's medina. And and and...I loved that city. Well, I also loved Gaziantep. I love Istanbul. There is a theme here, that doesn't go unnoticed by me. If you can't figure it out, ask and I'll tell you about it sometime...

So many defining moments, that place. Tunisia was a moment on my timeline, just a hiccup really. What I took away from that moment in time though is vast and inspiring.

So yea, I always wonder about our 'crew'; the circles of people who collectively make up this experience. All of us landing in time and place at that specific point in time, we had no idea what we were about to become a part of. It's like this tattoo impressed upon which memories might fade with time, but it's ETCHED in there pretty firmly, really. Whatever 'it' is, that is.

We all share it. We all know it. We don't really give ourselves too many platforms to talk about it. So this anniversary is special, I think, for each of us.

I look forward to the process of invoking these memories. I absolutely LOVE Facebook for allowing us a platform to all come together to see postings, make comments, share a collective experience- even though we've all (many) since scattered to all realms of the globe.

Photos, words, videos, emoji all mixed together in bittersweet expressionism; our performance art. I feel closer to everyone, again, during these days leading up to today. I think we all know of our whereabouts, and social media is this web for us. I know what both (Scottish and German) Kirsten's are doing. Does Faeez still wear my Brazilian track jacket, that I bought at some back alley fripe? The list goes on. This group of incredible beings I met while working at Amideast, we are a movement. We are in movement, always it seems. We seem to ebb and flow as the tide, landing on other shores to take up residence, for a short stay, or not.

So I mean to say that there is so much history from this historical event. I love all our stories. The connection to Tunisia still feels so strong. I came. I saw. I stayed. I got interrupted. I left. I hunger. I dream. I forget.

We all have it. We all have THIS in our systems. I wonder what we are all thinking at this moment...
Here is what I'm thinking about tonight, in pictures. Solo_ojo produced some epic shots of that day, which you will see. Yea, nearly cost him his life in doing so...

This coffee shop was around the corner from where I lived. We met up here a few times in the days that followed January 13.

The infamous Tunis Clocktower- legendary in fact... yes, it's a dark story of what used to happen underneath it...

Lots of protests erupted throughout the city, but certainly here downtown- a sort of spiritual center for revolutionaries you might say.





Solo_ojo captured this from his rooftop. This was our first observation deck. Soon afterwards, we decided to graduate ourselves from the safety of the roof to down on the streets, with the masses. We had no fucking idea what would happen...

My apartment,with the 'hood regulars. Solo_ojo had to take refuge here and re-cooperate from his gunshot wounds. Many friends actually stayed here during the days right after. No one wanted to stay alone in their apartments...

Neighbors being neighborly. These guys checked in very frequently to make sure Solo_ojo had all that he needed during his convalescing.

the nightly kitchen crew!

We did a lot of just hanging out right afterwards. There was no choice really as martial law was declared and curfews in place.

Another altercation on the street just below my apartment. We were like caged birds- watching from inside, wondering what it was like 'down there'. Everything suddenly seems so familiar. The Monoprix supermarket just down the street a block, Bombay Shwarma near the corner. FYI, to date,Bombay Shwarma is THE BEST shwarma in the world... (my) FACT.

Solo_ojo and Liz. Liz and Ehsan and friends rescued us! They braved driving under martial law (no one was supposed to be on the road) and got us out of the city center to Menzah 5 (?) neighborhood, in the 'burbs- where we thought we would be safe... NOT

Liz, Stephen, Faeez, Kirsten, Sam and Emily. We're all just chilling- I mean, we had all lost our jobs (temporarily). It was a surreal time indeed. Days of sitting, smoking, drinking, talking, wondering, theorizing...

I'm not sure if this was just before, or just after...

Hichem and Stephen catching up

Faeez, Avril, Hichem, Kirsten and Stephen. Another day, another cafe. We're all wondering when we would be working again, when our money was going to run out, what would happen to Tunisia now, etc.

This day was our 'revolution' field trip; we took ourselves on a self-guided walking tour of the various residences of Ben Ali and family members in a swank neighborhood. We weren't alone. Hundreds of people were descending into the (now) vandalized residences as Ben Ali and family members fled the country.

More of the 'revolutionary walking tour'

Claire-bear and I in yet another restaurant

I am amusing Kirsten here, I think :) 

Okay not sure how this got here. This was right when Solo_ojo first moved into Chloe's old place when she took off for Argentina.  I ended up finding a place 2 blocks away.

Amri, Emily and a large group at another bar in the aftermath


At David's place in the 'burbs. Stephen and Sarah. There was about 7 of us that took refuge here for a few days- until just after thugs decided to loot the Monoprix supermarket below and wreck havoc in general.  I remember thinking they would try to burn the building. Then I remember freaking out and all of thinking they were coming up the stairwell so we started moving furniture against the front door so it would take longer to break the door open... THIS was freaky.  We spend a very tense 1st night here. I mean, I thought this was it, again, for a few hours... Sarah and I did happen to catch one looter running away (we were spying from up on the 4th floor) carrying a naked mannequin... That was a funny Arab Spring Moment. A few of those moments managed to present themselves to us. Those distractions were much appreciated.