12.31.2016

2017 Rollercoaster ride begins

So... Last night 4-Gra met up with the Büyükdere Club Kids and partook in proper New Year's shenanigans... Fortunately we had the good fortune to stay put in the 'hood and have an epic house party.

For me it was particularly emotional, although I tried not to dwell on it too much. My inner circle here is so close to my heart. I had worked so hard at moving to Istanbul a few years back. I mean, I thought Istanbul was going to be my 'happy ending' so to say. Unfortunately, my move to Istanbul came about 10 years too late.  There is just too much shit here that prevents me from staying; finances, and politics, etc. Again, not to dwell on this because, well, they are facts- for me. Anyway, now that I know I won't be returning for the Fall Semester 2017, I concentrate on enjoying my time left here before moving on, to an as-of-yet undisclosed location. I am happy to divulge though that I have re-joined the Georgetown University Teaching Fellow program!

Okay, that is my big news. So last night was just so monumental for me because my phamily and I were together sharing my last New Year's (living) here in Turkey. I LOVE the feeling of being part of a tribe, and a wacky tribe we are. What 2017 invokes, for me, is a deepening of connection to my Istanbul tribe.


4-Gra started out yesterday meeting up at our fav local watering hole, the Corner Irish Pub. Viagra and I were happily traipsing along Istiklal Caddesi (the main pedestrian street in the heart of the city-Beyoglu) giggling, as we are prone to do. It was rain/sleet/snow action so we were walking fast. Independently of talking to each other, we both noticed this guy walking nearby. I took notice, and so did she, that he heard us speaking English. Then he started slowing down. The famous Beyoglu trolley was approaching and I motioned to her to cross the tracks. Then I was keeping an eye on this dude because he noticed, slowed down his gait and was trying to slightly look over his left shoulder. My mind is racing because so much shit is happening in this country right now that I don't delve into, but you all know exactly what I'm talking about... Anyway, I decided I needed to focus on him and his shoes- because it was cold and everybody was wearing black, and I wanted to remember his description if he took off his gray beanie he was wearing. As I was observing his strange moves, Viagra tugged at my sleeve to tell me that someone was following us, maybe.  It was just so interesting that we both were feeling this at the same time.  We watched him briefly as we stalked our stalker.  At some point we ducked into a side street and made our way to the pub, but it was unsettling. I immediately thought 'suicide bomber', but Viagra was thinking 'undercover police' just keeping track of the crowd. After all, the place was swarming with uniformed policemen (there are many embassies, as well as the Russian Consulate which has recently been heavily guarded, etc). 

So at the height of our gathering last night someone's phone beeped and a headline came up of a terrorist attack at Reina nightclub in Örtaköy (an upscale Istanbul neighborhood). No one wanted to deal with it in those moments. I didn't even realize it was in Turkey until a bit later, because I just didn't want to deal with it...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2017/jan/01/istanbul-nightclub-attack-dozens-killed-new-years-eve-mass-shooting-live-updates

So... by now you must realize that this is not a typical New Year's Day 'peace, love and happiness' post, but it kinda is. The atmosphere here is light, in spite of the heaviness that engulfs this country. This place is bittersweet.

Now, to greet the day!!! 2017