Afghans in Turkey

I have plotted my next adventure. In a couple of days, I leave for Istanbul and then off to Holland to visit a friend, Marjan, who I first met in Patagonia. I hope to see another couple of scattered-about Dutch friends while I am there as well, if it works out. The ticket there was an amazing 4 Euros + minimal taxes. Super.

It will be good to be on the move again. I enjoyed settling down for a bit at Serkan's parents' house, but I've also found it difficult to develop my routine. Some element of weirdness is to be expected, since we can't really communicate with each other. (It's been good for my Turkish. I still can't really speak, but I do understand more than when I started.) Plus I have officially spent more consecutive days in Samsun than Serkan has since he first left when he was 18. I've just spent a beautiful day with his mom and his brother's family. I still have the kids voices ringing in my ears. It's funny, but I can tell already that I will miss them.

This set up where I live with my sweetheart's family with whom I can hardly communicate while he is away has been quite the experiment. There's been a psychologically interesting part, mainly what's triggered when I start tiptoeing inside someone else's world. (The bastard question marks dangle their feet: "someone else's world?" "tiptoeing?" Though I am a master tiptoer, it's still kind of uncomfortable. My discomfort has only to do with me--nothing to do with anybody else (of course). Everyone has been crazy welcoming. In fact, I've received so many gifts, there's no way we can bring everything back with us to Patagonia. Some gifts are too precious, like the handstitched body scrubber from Serkan's mom. She crochets these amazing, exfoliating, super sudsy foaming wash cloths for the whole family. Her son-in-law loves his so much: To make sure nobody else uses it, after he bathes he stores the washrag in the pocket of his robe, you know, for safe keeping. Each rag could be one square in an afghan. Someday I think we should unite all the cloths into a hodgepodge family heirloom. Would that be gross?

Anyway, yeah, the discomfort is a mini psychic trigger for me. It has to do with revisiting childhood roles. We all have them, and they are, for the most part, bad habits meant to be tamed or flat out broken. Otherwise we end up playing out our Oedipal disasters in our adult relationships, and who wants that?

My role was that of the anemic tiptoer. Invisible bullet dodger. Mostly nobody even knew that I was anemic or that there were bullets to dodge. I have, I hope, sloughed off that kid identity. But it crops up again sometimes, especially in uncomfortable situations where I feel trapped in "somebody else's" world. Part of me refuses to enter that world and part of my is utterly incapacitated by it. Stuck inside, forever outside. There's something so familiar about this kind of discomfort, which dusts off the little girl in me. She says: Time to blow this popstand.

My zen side says, "You are not your past. You are not your identity. You are not a you or an I. You are light and love and one... just like everybody else. In which case there are no human separations. Your ego mind is creating these separations to keep itself in power, in control and in tact. Om. [white space] My literature side is intrigued by the idea of identity and identities and could write essays on the subject, has written essays on the subject. My therapy side says to turn the rock over in my hand until it becomes glossy from the grip. Crack open the stone, come to terms with it, understand its guts and its voices, listen to each and reunite them. [Time-is-up-buzz of the 50-minute alarm] My writer side says, "Ummm. OK. I am just going to Amsterdam and it's really not that big of a deal." My crafty side says to make a hodgepodge afghan outta this.

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