(Mom, don’t freak out.)
I found a friend on the internet. Well, Kelly and I found a friend on the internet, through Couch Surfing. I am, some would say, late on the trend, and while I prefer to stay with an established friend, or heck, even a friend-of-a-friend, the lure of free accomodation and the chance to make a Turkish aquaintance hooked me. And here I am, typing on his Sava roomate’s computer.
Last night, our new friend and his (now our other turkish) friend walked around Istanbul, hopped on rocks by the sea in a wealthy neighborhood where a drunk man’s whippy North Turkish traditional music lifted right out of a rigged up car stereo to mix with a teenager’s voice which betrayed his borrowed angst, bellowing”With Arms Wide Open” and beating his guitar for his friends.
Yesterday, we arrived in Istanbul after an overnight bus picked us up in Izmir. Kelly and I visited our friend Sarah there and got to know her fiance Osman. I found myself all day wishing she were with us, waddling through the crowds at the Grand Bazaar and stopping by a corner cafe for tea and coffee.
Izmir is a completely different culture full of sun and college kids and cafes. Istanbul is busier, grungier at first, but already I can tell the culture is more diverse, the cafes are better and more expensive, and the people we’ve met are kind and capable of great conversation.
I’ve been all over the map this trip. My talks in Izmir we’re full of catching up, and from my side that meant talking about the future, after Peace Corps which at this point looks like a million different things. I’ve got a dozen other countries on my radar. London, Barcelona, Boston, Austin, El Salvador, Honduras. Dominican Republic. Everything sounds like a blast.
Why then, when I close my eyes right now and dream, it’s of a house on a quiet street, movie nights with friends, lazy walks through a grocery store, sitting on the side yard with my parents, hugging people I’ve known for years.
I cannot seem to keep all this future whispers quiet. My mind races with elations and fears over choices. And, still, I should be careful not to miss a beat of my Armenian life.
And right now I should enjoy the Istanbul sun and time with new and old friends.