Saturday, April 23, 2011

I want to love you madly.

Things keep happening; Literary Festival in Oxford (Phillip Pullman made fun of a woman's stupid question, awesome. Signed my book!), another article on the YA Fantasy Guide, fantastic new friends in Oxford and world wide, London a few times, Spring hit Oxford, the rain stopped. Two of my friends on my course and I were accepted to the Future of Feminism Conference in London for a panel topic we put together about the future of women in humor, the classroom and YA writing. We may not be able to go, things keep getting in the way, but it's still amazing we were selected from the hundred other applicants. I turned 24 and went to Istanbul. I got so many touching, thoughtful gifts and hand made cards from my friends here, making me want to cry and never leave. I have a tan. Well, I'd call it an English tan which would still be considered pale in other parts of the world. Finally had a English kebab, then a real Turkish one a few days later (guess which was better). Yesterday I painted my toe nails Mountaineer blue and saw Emma Watson at a cafe in the city, just hanging out with a friend. I played it cool, don't worry. I finally hit a good stride with my final project book (like yesterday, it's about time). Our house is full of Peeps. I spent an hour in Asia. And I came up with yet another tattoo idea. I want this tattooed on me somewhere:

""  Zembla, Zenda, Xanadu:
All our dream-worlds may come true.
Fairy lands are fearsome too.
As I wander far from view
Read, and bring me home to you."

It's from Salman Rushdie's, Haroun and the Sea of Stories. My awesome new friend Owen bought it for me for my birthday and I read it all on the plane to Istanbul, then re-read parts of it on the plane back from Istanbul. I know it's kind of long for a tattoo, so maybe just the last line. I love it. 

 My birthday was fantastic.
 Jen came for the day. I wore my blue wing all night long.

Then Alisha and I went to Istanbul. 

  More pics HERE.

It was amazing. 

Istanbul was unlike any place in the world I've ever been; cats everywhere, domed mosques dominating the skyline, fruit vendors, stuff vendors, juice vendors, Doener every five feet. I've never seen so many meat cones in my life, including when I used to make them for a living.  Alisha and I were constantly covering our hair (number one travel tip for women; bring a head scarf) and taking off our shoes to go inside mosques. Men were always yelling at us to buy their stuff, everything from jewelry, clothing, spices, sweets, books, purses, Evil Eyes, shoes, tea, and anything else you could possibly imagine. 

"  Hey beautiful, gorgeous, baby. Look here, I am here, you found me. Can I help you? Just a moment, over here. Spice girls, Angelina, beautiful girls. You are sisters? Just for you, I make special price. Just for you. Remember me."   I will. 
We made a lot of empty promises ("Yeah ok, sure we'll remember you next time we are looking to buy a knock off Gucci purse, but we've gotta go.") and found out that American's are apparently not as friendly as Canadians. Not really the best way to start a conversation, but whatever. In our hostel we made friends with people from Turkey, Germany, Iran, Lebanon, and Hungry. Our friend from Iran, upon first learning we were American, said, "so, I guess we are enemies." This made me really sad, but he assured me he was kidding. We visited a palace with him the next day and now I really want to go to Iran. 

Me, Saeed and Alisha at Dolmabache Palace.

Hostel friends are the hardest. I've met interesting people before in hostels, but never really made friends with them like we did in Istanbul. Most of them are on facebook, which makes it a little easier saying goodbye, but others you know you'll most likely never see again. You have to just trust in your memory and enjoy their company, while it lasts. Then it's goodbye, a heartfelt hug that lingers, bushy Turkish hair against your cheek, a shy wave, then your gone. Five day old friends = tiny heartbreak.  

Alisha and I packed a lot into our five days. We visited most of the big places you are supposed to visit, went inside all the mosques that were free, mastered the public transportation and even haggled in the Grand Bazaar for some amazing deals. We took a boat tour around the Golden Horn and into the The Bosporus, stopping for an hour on the Asian side of Istanbul. We saw a four ton chandelier in the Dolmabache Palace, where sultans and princess used to live. No pictures, not allowed. Saeed (like in Lost, but a different spelling), our Iranian friend, kept trying to get me to sneak pictures, but I'm a rule follower, so I didn't. The whole city was fairy-tale-beautiful; my favorite kind of beautiful. (Not to be confused with the look of the new Red Riding Hood movie, which can best be described as fairy-tale-gross. Or, more accurately, why-does-the-world-need-another-Twilight-looking-movie?) 

Alisha and I drank tons of Turkish tea in dainty glass cups with sugar cubes, tried our hardest to eat hummus with every meal and walked until our feet begged us to stop, at which point we ignored them and continued walking. We longed for anther week, month, even just one more day. Just one more tea, see one more cat, hear one more call to prayer, feel one more carpeted mosque beneath our bare feet.

But then it was back to Oxford. Two trams, two planes, a tube ride and a bus later, we were back at home. I want to go back. 

That was a week ago. This week I've spent lying in the sun, reading, writing, hanging out with people in the sun, not going to work. I am bragging a little, sorry. (You can rub it in my face in a few years when I'm living in a box in Nicole's front yard.) Back to the 'grind' in a few weeks, work starts again and we have three more classes. The the course is over. I can't believe it.

I think today Shobha and I are going to cut the grass in our back yard and iron clothes, two things I never do. I can hear my mother gasping in shock all the way over here. 

Happy Easter!



DeeRoo said...

Don't burn yourself!:) xo

Yes, charmed life....a little rust on it but otherwise charmed!:)

We miss you candy bunny trail coming out of you and the boy's room this year!:(

Kelsey Austin Threatte said...

BRAG AWAY! I love to hear your stories and I would be jealous except you of all people in this world deserve and respect the beauty present in all things so if anyone is going to get to see one of the most gorgeous places the world has to offer it better be you. You are amazing.

Rose Brettingham said...

i'm liking that zembla zandu whatever rhyme, very nice, can i borrow that book perhaps?!
not so keen on that photo with the big eye tho! grrr... x