The world is much smaller than you thought

ak0There is a saying in Turkish, ‘I don’t have a grocery store’ meaning I don’t have a permanent residence. Therefore, I don’t have a hair salon. I don’t have a neighbor whose door I can knock on when I’m out of lemons. I don’t have a friend that I can just call up and invite over when I’m bored. I don’t have a friend I can just visit for a cup of coffee.

This is not to be dramatic. This is who I am and never in my life have I associated neighbors and lemons, anyway (keeping extra lemons is the solution).

ak5I wake up in a different country every week. Sometimes every other day… I have to speak a different language every week. Every week, I see different road signs, different advertisements and different products on market shelves. I buy a different brand of milk every week. Just when I get used to the taste of water, I have to drink another one the next week. I go to a different hair dresser every month. And as the girls like me, I have a hairdresser in every town. If it doesn’t work, I just find a new one and every time I try to explain the hair style I want in a different language. They never can quite match the previous color and haircut, and every time I look in the mirror I see a different person.

I don’t have the luxury to go to a bar and just say “the usual!”. After a while the cafe bars in marinas we coast become familiar, but sometimes it takes months before we go back to the same ones.

I live on the sea. The ground beneath my feet is never stable. No, I’m not dizzy; no, I don’t keep swinging once I step on the land. But when I’m on the sea for more than two weeks, then I understand how long it is since I last took a casual walk from the weird ache in my knees.

I don’t have a “dream house”. There is one but not around here. Every house I see on decoration magazines is nothing more than a bunch of similar furniture. None of those interest me. The only transportation vehicle I own is a bicycle. And I chose a portable model that I can carry anywhere.

There is no town that I miss. There are just moments that I miss. And it is a “moment” literally…It goes away in a moment as well…

I have six sim cards (for now). I put on the sim card of the country we visit. It usually never rings because most people I know don’t know all the numbers. Although internet can facilitate all the communication after a while I realize I have been only typing and not talking at all.

I can’t lose my temper the way I want to. The slang I know doesn’t work in the countries I visit. Because I can’t argue quickly using all the heated words I want to throw at, I give up arguing.

I always make love in different languages.

When something happens I can’t use one of our famous sayings. I can’t say “kolay gelsin” to a store owner. (“Kolay gelsin” is a frequently used Turkish saying meaning ‘may it be easy’, that is told to someone who is working and in some other contexts as well, the closest translation may be “more power to you” or “more power to your elbow”.) I want to say it but the words are just left hanging in the air! Because “kolay gelsin” does not have an equivalent in another language. I’m a cook but nobody says “eline sağlık” to me. (“eline sağlık” again a frequently used Turkish saying meaning “health to your hand”; congratulating a good work, especially good cooking, said after the meal). When people thank me after the meal, I can say “buon appetito” or “bon appetit” instead of “afiyet olsun” (“afiyet olsun” is said as a response to ‘eline sağlık’ and can be translated as bon appetit), but these phrases are used before the meals unlike in Turkish. When they say thank you for the meal I reflexively say “buon appetito” instead of “you’re welcome” and it sounds awkward, words are left hanging in the air again!


What about love?

When everything is on such slippery grounds love also falls off from the heart easily like some sticker that got wet. This is a life where there is no feeling of missing. You cannot miss your family or your lover. You are always the one who leaves. They are the ones always who stay behind, like in movies, the ones who waved you goodbye with their handkerchiefs to dry their tears miss you. You are the one who moves on without looking back.

As the roads grow longer, the countries you go to multiply, the seas turn into oceans; you understand that the world is actually a lot smaller than you thought it is. For the ones who stay in the shore, you are far away in a world that seems really big to them, but for you it is tiny. Because you know you have the freedom of being anywhere you want.

oDespite all this temporariness, homelessness and lack of missing, if there is someone in your mind, you understand that the world is so small so distances don’t matter or exist, and time is the only distance you cannot overcome.