Sunday, November 29, 2015

We'll Always Have Istanbul

My friends Kelley and Glenda went to Paris, Avignon, and Provence over the holiday and last night Glenda hosted a gathering at her place. She gave me a vintage postcard of a woman posing in front of the Eiffel Tower, and said it was totally moi. As per my request, she put on Sarah Vaughan, whose voice makes me melt and then I melted even more while listening to Glenda’s and Kelley’s stories about France.

My mom and I shared our stories about what we’ve been up to in the past couple weeks. We really have had an amazing time. We were thinking about going to Cyprus to get out of the rain, but our plan fell through, which was fine because the weather forecast lied. The weather was lovely and I only had to open my umbrella a couple times. On the Uskudar waterfront, my hat went off to the Turkish umbrella salesman who was trying his best to say “Umbrella” in English. “Oombra roombra” is what actually came out, but I understood him.

The highlight was perhaps our calligraphy class at Les Arts Turcs. Our instructors were funny, knowledgeable, and talented. After seeing videos of master calligraphers at the Sabanci Museum and seeing the hurried dashes of my own work, I realize doing calligraphy well is like a spider spinning a web. It takes time and you have to be relaxed and fully present to get it right. I mentioned to our instructors that my mom used to live in Istanbul in the 70s and they immediately associated that decade with hippies. They asked questions that began with, “Back when you were a hippie . . .” and said, “We love hippies.” Never mind that she wasn’t a hippie, but they seemed to like that idea so much, we hated to disappoint them.

At the Baris Manco Museum in Kadikoy, we met a nice man from Germany who said he was Baris Manco’s biggest fan. He briefly snagged one of the museum employees to take pictures of him worshiping before Baris Manco photographs, but she seemed a little freaked out, so I offered to take pictures of him, with his camera and mine.

Today at the Pierre Loti CafĂ©, a favorite place that we wanted to return to for old time’s sake, I bought a very interesting wall hanging on which a Turkified Barbie is holding a basket of fruit. I bought her for 15 lira and hung her in front of my kitchen door. Her name is Mutfak Fatma and she is the kitchen goddess. I was inspired by Baris Manco’s biggest fan to have my own photo taken of me worshipping her. I still want to return to France as soon as possible, but I’d say this holiday has been more than satisfying just exploring in my own backyard. 

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