Hello all. I know it’s been months since I have updated the going on’s of life here with the Kurdish man. And well it’s for good reason…. He is in Gaziantep. He is there working. He lives there. I am still here in Istanbul. Working as a preschool teacher at an upscale school. Love the job. It gives me joy to go there each day and know that I am changing the future (for the better of those kids as well as their families)…it keeps me going.
As for how things are with the man… well it has been over one year since he moved to Gaziantep. The first few months were hard as hell. So many times I thought to just pack up and go home to the US, but he would call about 3 times a week and it would be okay for a few days. I felt as if he cared and he had to make this move for his future as well as mine, if not for ‘our’ future. He came back after being there for a month and stayed home for about 8 days. It was hard to see him leave again but I had to let him go.
It was time to stand on my own. I don’t know if he felt bad for this but something told me that he was split on it all. There was something that said he was glad to be away from me but then there was something that said that he hated to leave me also. I guess we will never know what he thought at that moment.
So he left in August 2012, came back in September (to help with my resident visa which was a nightmare!) and then he left again saying that he would be back when his work allowed. October went by and it was hard as this is my favorite time with Halloween and the weather getting cooler and it being time to snuggle up. Lucky me I had the cat to snuggle with. Then November came and it was a bit harder. This is holiday time starting where I am from and Thanksgiving came. This was a nightmare day for me. I braved the internet and skyped my family back home. It was good at first and then came the tears. They might not have been so bad except that my daughter, 15 at the time, said to everyone “She’s crying” and then my mom started to cry, then my sister, and then my sister in law. It was not a good ending to the day. As I lay down that evening, I thought to myself, “that’s it, I am going back”. Just then the phone rang. It was the man. He could hear that I was depressed and he offered a talk but talk does not replace the need for human contact. Sometimes no words and a shoulder to lean on are better than 10.000 words.
November ended and December came. I tried to make the most of it. I volunteered to decorate the school for the holiday. It took my mind away a bit. Then at home I thought that I needed to cheer myself up so I went out to get a Christmas tree. That was an adventure worthy of its own blog. Got the tree home and decorated it.
A few days went by and he called. The usual how are you and is everything ok was asked and then he let me know that he had the intent to come home for the January 1 holiday. I was happy to hear this but in my heart I wanted him to be here at Christmas. I know that he does not do ‘Christmas’ but I thought that he could learn to accept this as it is my custom and with me having made such huge changes that he would make this one change. He agreed. Surprised is not the word I would use to describe the feeling. I am not sure that there is a word.
He was to come on December 22 late at night. So I cleaned and scrubbed and cleaned everything again. I stayed awake until almost 3 am. No man…. The plane was supposed to land at 9pm. 6 hours…. What has happened??? Finally I told myself that I was the biggest fool ever. I had been dooped by a great hustler. My heart sank. The tears came and I cried myself to sleep. I woke at 9am and got dressed and said to myself that I will go to the market and then to visit a friend that I had met from the US. However, while making the plan I discovered that my phone was dead. I tried to charge it but the battery was simply dead. So out the door and down the street to get a new one and back home to charge it for a few mins. As I walked down the street slowly, I thought…well if the phone is dead now… how long had it been dead? Since last night? Maybe he tried to call. Maybe there was a problem with the airport. ( yeah yeah.. I know.. a fool in love is what I thought too!) So I was almost running at this point. I had to get back home and charge that phone. It was charging and the time going on maybe 12:15 pm. I kept looking at the phone every two minutes. Nothing. Nothing at all. It was like looking into the abyss. Blackness swallowing me ..defeat mocking me. Heart sinking..slowly falling out of the sky to the sharp rocks and harsh seas below…tears fall. Sleep engulfs me… A frog. Another frog. And another… what is this??? It’s not frogs… it’s the phone ringing… I look.. It’s him.
He tells me that he is in Istanbul at the airport on the other side. OMG. I can’t speak. Is it a lie? A trick? I say ok. He tells me that the flight last night was cancelled. He had no way to tell me. He says he tried to call but the phone was dead. Home in 2 hours he says. Ok. I wait….
BUZZ…. The doorbell. He is here. He’s hungry and cold. But his hug warms us both. It was the longest hug ever. Full of care and sorrow. He pulls the ticket out of his pocket to show me that he was telling the truth… he knew that I doubted his story. There it is… cancelled. Ok let it go….
The following days were great. He accepted his gifts and smiled and gave a huge hug. But he had nothing for me. I didn’t care. He is not used to this holiday. So all that mattered was that he was here with me. He went out so that I could chat with my family back home. Privacy is somewhat important to him. Good thing there. He goes to school with me the next day to see what my day is like.
He lasted 2.5 hours. I could not help but laugh. He was like a deer in headlights… he read the kids a story in Turkish and then he said that he had to go. He was going nuts. I could see that he looked at me in a different light. He had some new found respect for me and for the craziness that I sometimes felt. (personal thought is that every man should go to work with his lady once to see what she does and understand why she is the way she is…as a woman should do for her man..just one day.)
We stayed in on New Year Eve. Watched VS fashion show and a Beyoncé special. Fell asleep. It was nice. He lets me know that he intends to buy a car while home. Okay. He says also that he will take a new coat for me so that I don’t freeze to death since mine is somewhat thin. He takes me out with him to the car auction. We look..no luck… Off to find that coat. We finally find it.. he has it altered and we go home. The next day he calls to say he has taken a car. Wonderful. He comes home after I do and shows off this new ride. Strange little thing.. An Opel Combo. Never seen such a thing like this in the US. Cute but odd.
He’s been home 11 days now. I know the time is nearing for him to go. He says that he will go soon. Three days later he will go. Sad but I know he has to go. And so off he goes. The tears fall. They fall out of loneliness. He’s 3 blocks away but he might as well be on the moon. He’s gone. That was January 7th 2013.
January 25th….Friday..the last day of school for 2 weeks. Holiday time. Yippie. I am out of the school and taking coffee with friends when one of the teachers reads my fortune. Lol this should be good. She says she sees 3 birds.. what?? She says that it’s bad and she is not sure but it’s something bad coming in an increment of “3”. I pay attention..
We go to visit a friend in the hospital that is due to have a baby any time. While there, the strangest phone call comes. A foreign number. I don’t answer. Then a call from a friend that lived in the US for a while that is back here in Turkey. I answer.. he tells me to go on line or to call home. There is something that my mom needs to talk to me about. Before I can get out to find an internet café that strange number calls again. I look… it’s my moms home number. I answer.. It’ my daughter…she asks me if I am sitting down. I say no and ask her what is wrong.
She says in a simple clear voice….`aunt Marilyn has passed away’. I can’t breathe. I fall to the floor. My friends are there to pick me up and luckily one of them spoke perfect English so she talks to my mom. It’s clear that I must go home. With what money?
SO we call the man. He gives his credit card info up easily and tells me not to cry because this is a part of life and we will all die one day. I know that he was trying to help but not the right words at the time.
So we try to buy the ticket. Something is wrong with the card info. The next day I call him and tell him. He gives me another card. Same problem. OMG.. he starts to get mad. This is not my fault.
Finally my sister pays for a ticket and I go to the airport. I call the man and say my goodbyes and tell him when I will be back. It was a cold conversation and for the next 16 hours I feel lost. Helpless. Scared.
I am home in the US. I feel like a stranger in my own home. Weird how that happens.
I call him after being home for about 8 days and he is so cold to me. He says that if I come back to Istanbul that I have to care for myself and that he is tired. He is very short with me and almost cruel. I don’t understand. What happened??? I am so sad. But pick myself up and get ready to come back to Istanbul.. come home.
I get home on a Sunday. He does not call. I send him a note to tell him that I am here. Still he does not call. Heartbroken.
I get back to life. Back to school. I let it go. The days go by. 2 days, 5 days, 10 days. I can’t take it. I call him. He says that he is super busy. Still the shortness. I ask why he don’t call me… his answer.. it should be my decision when I call you not your decision.
Literally I fall to the floor. But I don’t let him hear the tears. I simply say. Ok. Don’t be a stranger and hang up.
I try to find ways to keep from thinking of him. But he is everywhere… this is his city. Not mine. This is his house. His clothes are here. His toothbrush .. his shampoo. It’s everywhere. No escape. I slowly start to think that I am going crazy.
I realize it has been 3 weeks since he called. Then out of the blue he calls. He acts like all is well. Confused is an understatement. But I don’t let it on to him. I keep calm. After hanging up, I cry myself to sleep for almost 2 weeks until the next call.
Now it’s March. Actually the middle of March. During this month I spoke to him twice. Into April.. the 2 nd week.. he calls. 3 minutes he talks and says that his phone battery will die. He has to go. What can I say?
May 1st comes. Almost one year since I came here. FOR HIM! I call him to ask if he will come home. His answer is that he will try. I remind him that it is one year that I am here on the 19th and my birthday on the 20th. He says that he does not know but he will try. His voice says that he really means it. But he tells me that he is in the middle of a project and if they finish it he will come. I accept this. I let him know that I am having my daughter come over for a visit. She will come on June 12 and stay for 15 days. He asks if I need money and I say he can help if he wants to. He sends the money I ask for. He is happy to hear that I will see her and he may get to meet her.
And I wait. Hoping for a birthday surprise from him…May 17 Friday..no call,no man.. May 18, Saturday..no call, no man. May 19, Sunday…a call. My hopes soar. He is calling to say he is here. NO. He tells me that he can’t come. The project is not finished. My heart falls to pieces. I let the tears fall. And I don’t hide it. One year. So important. And my birthday the next day. He tells me that he can’t control this and that is why he did not say that he would come, only that he would see if it was possible. He tells me happy birthday and he hangs up. My mind says that he will call the next day. No call. A call comes on Wednesday. He can hear the sadness. He tries to not mention it but I can hear in his voice that he can hear and feel the hurt I have.
He tells me that he will try to come while my daughter is here. I say okay but don’t trust this. Too many times now he has let me down. Great if he comes but I don’t expect it.
And then on June 8, 18 days after the last call, he calls me around 1 pm and I don’t answer. I see it but I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want to get depressed. He calls again a few hours later. Still I don’t answer. 30 minutes later another call. I answer my tone not great but friendly. He asks how I am.. I tell him that I am a bit tired seeing as how I went to the protests in Gezi Park. He lets me know with a laugh that he will kill me if I go again. It’s a joke I can assure you. This is his way of letting me know that he does not approve of my actions… not “Woman don’t do that”, but “I will kill you”. It’s an inside joke.
I finally ask why he is calling. I tell him that I am super tired and I still have to go out to a lesson that afternoon at 6pm and that I really have to get going. He sounds a bit surprised at my lack of wanting to talk to him. So he tells me that he is at the airport in Gaziantep and I yell “what?”. Where are you going? My first thought was that he was flying home to his hometown for a visit with his father. He tells me that he woke up and decided to come home to me for a visit. I almost fell to the floor. Shocked!!!!
He tells me that he will be here at nearly 9pm. Again.. 9pm. The thoughts of December come rushing back. He tells me that he will come into Ataturk airport only 10 minutes from our house. I say okay see you then. No lesson. This house is a mess. Got to clean it.
Sure enough he is here. 945 pm. Shocked and excited. He is tired and just wants some bread and tea and sleep. Anything for you my darling I say. (yeah yeah… a fool in love).
His birthday is Monday June 10. I get him a small cake. He blows the candles. He won’t tell me the wish. Not sure he made one. Lol… only 2 days till my daughter comes.. excited. Omg… my 2 loves…
On Wednesday I go to the airport. He offers to come with me. I was really surprised by this. After her plane landed, it seemed to take forever for her to come thru the gate. He was more excited than I was. He saw her before I did and he has never seen her before. But due to her green hair it was easy to see her I thought. But he said that he knew it was her by looking at her. She looks exactly like me only 15 years younger. Lol
They meet and I almost tear her apart with a huge hug and tears. He is smiling like a proud papa. Strange….. We take the taxi home and she is amazed at it all. She is looking at him like what in the world is he saying. Funny to me since I have learned a great deal of Turkish and can understand most of it. The hilariousness between the two was out of this world. They both speak English but we are from the southern US. So our accent is very thick. I lost mine years ago due to moving around so much and having lived so many places but she had always lived in NC with my mom. I had to translate southern English into Turkish English and visa versa. Until I couldn’t take it and told them to figure it out. They got it.
It was a nice few day we all spent. Going places and seeing things when we were all tougher. The day before he left to go back to Gaziantep he took us to the Blue Mosque. It was nice to see it all. My daughter was amazed at the beauty of it all. Happy, happy ,happy.. and then the thunderstorm hit.
On the way home she made a joke about “you be jelly’.. which I understood as “you are jealous of me” and he took offense to it. Should have known. He doesn’t get American slang. Nor did he understand that she is an American teenager. She is 15 years old. You can’t get mad at a kid. She only knows what she is near all the time.
He was very quiet on the way home on the train. And when back in our neighborhood he said for us to go on that he wanted to go get some things before he went back. I was heartbroken. My daughter was in tears. She asked me several times if he was angry with her. I told her no but she is smart and she knew. She went immediately to bed. At 9pm. Hurt, angry, upset, and mad as hell I tried to keep to myself calm when he came home. The next morning my daughter did not come out of the room until noon. She knew he would leave at 4 to go back. She was trying to avoid him. We ate all 3 of us in silence. The tension so thick that one could cut it with a knife.
He took a nap and she went back to her room. Time to go for him. I was almost happy I wanted to spend time with my daughter in happiness. She apologized to him for making him unhappy and thanked him for paying for her ticket to come over here. He was so rude and said….” Whatever”. I lost it.. I pulled him into our bedroom and scolded him like I never thought I would do. My words were along the lines of she is a child and she is trying to say sorry to you and to say thank you for helping her to see a place that she knew nothing about and for letting her come see her mom and you are acting like a child yourself. He was shocked that I spoke to him this way. I asked him to swallow his pride be nice to her for 5 minutes. He obliged me and gave her a hug and he was gone. Again… almost glad.
My daughter had a wonderful vacation after that. We went everywhere. She left 10 days later. I needed a break.
The summer and a holiday trip??
After Ramazan I sent the man a note. Asking if he would be interested in a short holiday trip for two to a beach town near Mersin. His response… an immediate “yes” but “who is gonna pay for it?”.. lol gotta love those Kurdish men. Tight with the money. I will pay. We plan the trip out. I will fly into Adana and he will drive the 2 hours from Gaziantep to pick me up and we will then drive 2 more hours to our destination. All sounds good. “Be there at 1030am” I say. He says “ok I will be there”. I land early. 825am. Omg 2 hours to wait.. not a huge deal.. wrong. It is hot as hell in Adana in September. Like I was melting away. He calls at 10 45am to say that he is just now in Adana and has no idea where the airport is. Not mad.. slightly disgruntled I am. I wait. He calls 35 minutes later to say that he is 15 minutes away. 3 hours and 10 minutes I wait on this man. And when he arrives he nearly hits me as I walk out to meet him near the curb. I laugh and he simply says, ‘hi’ and hugs me. Its May 19, 2012 all over again. He sees the hilarity also and we both laugh. Let’s go.. road trip.. best time. Except that he is now a maniac driver and not the safe driver he used to be. I am almost terrified but I trust him so I just look along the way and talk a bit and laugh with him. Good time I see coming….
Get to the hotel.. and I am not the best hotel picker. No tv.. yeah for me. He loves the tv as to where I hate it. But we will deal. We learn that the beach is only a short 2 block walk. We stroll down. Lovely. Simple quiet little town. Lots of locals not too many foreigners or tourists. Perfect.
We go back to the hotel. Take a nap and then out to find some food. Yum! Sleepy time. The next day we travel down to Mersin to find some shoes and pants that I want. Maniac driver again. But fun. I get sick on the way back and he gets mad that I am sick.. it’s a moving too fast and radio too loud headache sick. Will pass as soon as we are still. Still he is mad. We take a walk and all is well again. Saturday we learn that the Zeus temple is in the mountains nearby and we set out on a day long trip. Little villages and farms along the way. Things I had never seen.. goats by the roadside, pomegranates growing wild, old ruins of churches 2000 years old. I was in love. He seemed surprised to learn that I love this kind of thing. He learned that many years before I wanted to be an archaeologist. He was more shocked. We find the Zeus temple and spend hours there. Pictures and climbing things. It was perfect. Then a stop at a roadside place that appeared to be a house but was a restaurant . We had goat. I thought they were going to kill the little goat running around and he laughed at me so hard. It was not the best thing I had ever eaten but it was good. Always room for something new in life. Just try it.