Bewitching Hour restlessness in the Fertile Crescent
It’s 5 A.M. and I’ve been up since 3:30 A.M. My mind can’t seem to stop working. Luckily it shut down for a good 5 hours earlier in the evening so tomorrow won’t be a total blur at work. I’m not sure what keeps me awake. Maybe it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow (today) and thoughts of being so far away from my favorite American holiday? I know not. Maybe it’s trying to sort through my life and my future plans? Prolly so.
It’s strange- being a world denizen. My connection to being grounded, and my past is most definitely Hawaii, but I make new connections as well. Every place I live and leave I have a connection with. Sometimes it gets confusing; Do I really miss living in Tunis, or do I just miss how strangely beautiful it was? Am I just being nostalgic about Istanbul, or is it really the most incredible city I have been to? Do I miss the wonders of the archaeological world, or am I just feeling blaise right now due to circumstances that are, obviously, out of my control at my current workplace?
..And now the 5:05 A.M. call to prayer… Funny, I have slept through it all week, and now I listen to the strangely hypnotic melody. As I sit out on my lanai (terrace) and view Gaziantep in the darkness I look into myself. All these questions, but do I have answers? Do I need answers? Am I even seeking answers?
Back to the comfort of my bed, and my cozy Canadian Goose Down sleeping bag… My thoughts wander back to work; how can I feel satisfied that my students are merely satisfied with receiving a passing grade in class? How do I not let it bother me that they want to become English teachers, yet not fully understand modal verbs? How else can I convey to them that it will be their responsibility to explain modal verbs to their future students when they become teachers?
Since teaching in faculty I have realized that I like this style of teaching- lecturing on specific subject content. Do I want to return to grad school and complete a PhD? Am I experiencing PhD envy? Certainly living in Turkey and seeing the incredible events of some of the earliest beginnings of civilization has made my heart stir for archaeology again…
When I was in grad school in NYC I was so happy to be going in a different direction w/TESOL, and I still am happy because of the anthropological connection that I feel to what I’m accomplishing in the present. But, something inside of me is stirring- rather quietly at the moment. It’s no secret that I miss the world of science.
This country is so amazing in that every step you take on this land, you can feel the history- even the prehistory if you are sensitive enough. What burnt me out with archaeology in Hawaii was the constant connect of the past to the needs of the present and future- developers. The mysteries unraveling from the earth were fantastic, but the constant pull of ethics weighed hard on me. As well, so did the extremely physical manual labor.
Now that I have stepped out of that arena, though, I look back into it. Those were my days of glory. The satisfaction of the physicalness of it was immense. More so than with the satisfaction of finishing a day of work at the university. But maybe I’m just romanticizing those moments with a, currently, selective memory…
Something happened to me in Cappadocia during the last Bayram. I saw this incredible landscape and along with this, I saw development. The connection is strong; when you see a beautiful place, you see tourism. With tourism you see development- increasing development. What I saw in Cappadocia, I experienced for over 20 years in Hawaii- development going out of control because of natural beauty and the inevitable ‘progress’ of civilization.
Last week while I was reading the local news from my Twitter feed, I saw 3 different articles on a major development issue in Cappadocia- Uçhisar to be exact. I don’t know enough about the community, but I know enough to know that it’s going to be a big, reoccurring problem for the community. The community is going to change- because it’s so beautiful of a natural wonder. It already has-drastically since my last visit 5 years ago. Even more so than my initial visit 11 years ago. If the community doesn’t rise up now and protest big development… well…I hope the community is up for an uphillbattle. They should have the power to change things if they unite.
From what I read, there are no archaeologists required on site during all aspects of construction- from the initial grubbing of the surface to mass sub-surface excavation with large machinery. It’s frightening to think what information is being lost. I would tell the local community there that they need to be citizen-policing the construction site. I would hope that at least the developer is a local person and/or entity so that the concerns of the community will weigh heavy in his/their hearts.
I haven’t a clue about historic preservation laws in Turkey, or the government’s desire and/or ability to keep large-scale development in check with the needs of the local population. I somehow have the idea that their stance is not as progressive as Hawaii’s though. I saw the same thing in Hawaii: corruption, finding loopholes in county, state and Federal laws and developers exploiting those loopholes, etc. I saw more than enough developments go through without the proper ‘chain of command’ being taken.
Anyway, this is on my mind at 6 A.M. I should be sleeping… My mind still wanders- to less complicated stuff though; Where should I go for my birthday? Am I going to Kabak for New Year’s? Should I buy a bread machine? Yes folks, this last one has been on my mind for a few weeks. So, Corporal Punishment has a bread machine, and she makes bread every week. Lately she hand-delivers to me freshly baked bread still warm from the oven… Not just any bread mind you, but hearty, healthy breads that are so delicious to eat that you don’t need to put anything on it. Anyway, I’m thinkng that a bread machine will improve my life! See, it really is the little things in life that matter…
I think I see the first light of dawn trying to crack through my silk curtains so I must end here and sleep for 1 more hour.
Happy Thanksgiving people! I’m eating turkey in Turkey tonight! Yes, my Turkish friends are having a Thanksgiving soiree for us vagabond expats. This is a wonderful thing that is what life is all about. Life is so precious- even when you are lost in confusion and thought. There is always something to be grateful about. I am so very grateful for my friends and family, and to know that I can feel at home wherever I am.
oh, Happy Thanksgiving today, or tomorrow- wherever you are!