Where has all the time gone?
September was a month of orientation. I needed to find my bearings in all directions – at the university where I now teach, a new home in a country still so foreign to me and I had to hold on tightly to my own personal direction as I navigated all these changes. I am here to write I remind myself but things do get in the way and for now, I allow them to because I know that this is the process of adjustment so as Istanbul pulls at me I pull at myself. It isn’t easy and it was never meant to be. I remind myself that I had only got this far on my journey because I chose what was difficult.
Being back in the classroom has reminded me just how much I love teaching. I thought that I would be nervous. I am used to teaching a maximum of 10 students and now my classes average at about 20 or more. The nervousness sometimes comes but I don’t give into it. I let it remain in the background and instead focus on preparing my material and delivering it in the best possible way so that it not only meets the needs of my students but also inspires them. It is not enough for me to teach English; I want to inspire my students to find their own love of learning and, most of all, I want to inspire their curiosity. I want them to see themselves in a new light and to own their individual talents — for learning to be for them a journey of discovery not only in language ( or any subject they choose) but also a discovery of self and potential. This is why I teach.
Finding a home in this huge city has been more challenging than I thought it would be. At first, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to live with a roommate or alone. I had spent the whole year living alone and I wanted a bit of a change. I also thought that it would be easier to share a flat with someone who spoke the language and has already been navigating the city for some time. I could learn from them. But finding the right roommate isn’t easy – especially one that doesn’t smoke and has the same priorities as I do. So I decided the best thing was to find a place on my own. I think this is what Istanbul has intended me to do. Now deciding where to live is another issue – Istanbul is a city of cities and each neighborhood has its own culture. My main criteria was accessibility. I wanted to be somewhere close to public transport but at the same time, I wanted to be in a place that inspired me. A place that would inspire me to write and put me into contact with real Istanbul. I saw many places and with each one that I rejected, I placed more and more faith that Istanbul would eventually provide me with something suitable as long as I followed my instinct. The places that I had seen just didn’t feel right so the search continued. And as the search continued I must admit that I got a little anxious but I tried to remain stoic. It was part of the journey.
What I learned this month…
This month I had reclaimed a part of my independence. I had achieved a milestone – I was in Istanbul. I was teaching. I was at the start of a new beginning. I had done what I had a year ago set out to do. I had stepped into my dream and the path continued. And I know that in this dream I will soon need to give birth to a new vision as the one that was is fading into reality. The one that was has become my reality – the dream of Istanbul now surrounds me. I can touch it. Smell it. Walk in and out of it. Get lost it in, literally. And no matter what feelings or thoughts fill me and move me, I remind myself that I am here, first and foremost, as a researcher and as a writer. There must always remain some distance between me and the city so that I can continue to see it.
Goals for October
My only goal for October is to find a home that is my own.