21 june 2012

So now I get to catch up because I didn’t post this last night.

After the memorial we took a short bus ride into the military base to their battleship which they let people tour its decks and the inner rooms of the ship. Now ive been on a cruise ship before, and understand that there needs to be tight spaces, but some of the rooms were just so unbelievably crammed, i couldnt imagine having to bunk like they did for an extended period of time.

From there we went to the aviation museum and saw some of the old planes, copters, and hangers that had been up and around during the attack of Pearl Harbor. Another short bus ride away was a submarine that ha been in use, and we were allowed to go through the inside and along the top deck.

Personally I think I would have died if I had to live in that thing with a hundred other people >_>. There weren’t enough beds for everyone so they had to take shifts and everyone shared sleeping space. On a submarine, there was no arch thing as personal space. And I had thought the battleship was crowded.

This picture was taken through the binoculars at the top of the sub. It had a scope and was aimed to view a battleship off in the distance.

Entry 1: Arrival

21 June 2012

I arrived at Tucson International just over an hour before my flight left. Fortunately I was able to check in my suitcase and obtain my flight pass quickly and without any problem, so boarding the plane at 12:10 pm went smoothly. The only regretful thing that happened that morning was that my phone wasn’t getting any service so I wasn’t able to make any phone calls like I wanted. It wasn’t a big deal though since I was at least able to call my dad from my mom’s phone. “Quickly Dad, how do you say "aunt”, “grandmother”, and “cousin” in Turkish? He dictated the words to me as I quickly jotted them down to practice saying them to myself on the plane before I met my turkish family for the first time. Soon after that, my mom and tía Toco hugged and kissed me goodbye and I was on my way.

The flight to Chicago was only about two hours and went smoothly. I was pleased to discover that my phone was working once again when I got off the plane here, so I was able to call my mom and dad, and send a message to my best friend. While waiting for my flight to leave straight for Istanbul at 10:20 pm I bought a bite to eat and surfed the internet to kill some time (basically got caught up with Homestuck). It was at this airport that I discovered how to use “tethering” to get internet on my laptop since wifi at the O’ Hare Airport was not free and I didn’t want to have to pay for it to only use it for a few hours. It was a pretty simple process that basically only involved connecting my cellphone to my computer and downloading some software so I’m glad I figured out how to use this feature in case I need it in the future. 

Flying on Turkish Airlines was very comfortable and the staff was very generous. I got two free meals on this flight and some sleep, not to mention spectacular views of the European countryside from the plane window.

Coming from a place in the middle of the desert laying my eyes on something other than dried up landscape with a severe lack in foliage is always quite exciting, especially over land I’ve never travelled to before. And though I wasn’t exactly sure what specific places we were traveling over, I very much enjoyed the views. 

Before landing in Istanbul we flew above the city for about an hour and I got a few pictures here as well. The views were breathtaking so I took this opportunity to listen to the Jurassic Park soundtrack on my iPod. Everything is twice as good with John Williams playing in the background, I think.

After 10 hours of being in the air the plane finally landed at Ataturk Airport… and during that moment I shed a few tears. I can’t say exactly why, but I’m sure it was the complex mixture and overload of emotions I was feeling at the time. Relief from finally landing safely. Excitement from finally being in a place I’ve been wanting to see for 20 years. Happiness from knowing that I will have the opportunity to meet my father’s family for the first time in my life. 

And so I was on my way.

Before meeting with my aunts, who were picking me up at the airport, I had to get in line for a visa on my passport, and while I was standing in line I had the pleasure to speak with two ladies who had flown in from England. I had asked them if they knew the local time since I overheard them speak English a few moments ago. We spoke for a short time, I told them I had just flown in from Chicago. They told me I should try to stop by London on my way back, I told them I’d love to but I had already bought my return ticket. Soon afterwards we parted and I made my way to the baggage claim and then to the front of the airport to find my aunts.  

After several minutes of waiting without phone service or wifi I started to get a little worried. I didn’t know where else I was supposed to go, didn’t remember if I was supposed to meet them elsewhere, but I didn’t want to take any chances so I waited in that place for about an hour, desperately trying to pick up any available wifi signal I could pick up to see if I had gotten any messages on facebook from them or to let my cousin know that I had arrived safely at the airport. I figured I didn’t have a choice but to keep waiting where I was… so I did. 

“Ferdane?” I finally heard a voice while having spaced out on a group of tourists in the distance. I turned to find an expression of relief hiding behind a kind, smiling face. Behind this one there was one more face with similar expression. They hugged me and kissed both of my cheeks, then introduced themselves to me “I am your aunt Cigdem” said one, referring to herself, then signaled to the woman next to her, “and this is your aunt Filiz. We are so happy to finally meet you." 

My aunt Cigdem treated me to a tost (Turkish style grilled cheese) before heading home, saying that we have a drive of approximately two hours to my grandmother Yuksel’s home, where there was a large dinner waiting for me. I talked to them a bit on the way. My aunt Cidgem spoke English, so she asked me about my family, school, my hobbies–basic details about my life–and translated the conversation for my aunt Filiz. Even so, it was hard for me to come up with conversation topics, even harder still because I was so enthralled by the sites of the city, the people, the view of the Bosphorus, everything.

At my grandma Yuksel’s I met my cousin Melis for the first time. She was very glad to see me, as I was to see her. Her father was also there. I said hello to everyone and we proceeded to have dinner together: traditional Turkish meatballs with potato, Turkish rice, artichokes, fried eggplant in tomato sauce, and some other foods whose names I don’t remember at the moment (my goal is to have all of these down by the time I come back). 

After dinner I came back with my aunt Filiz and Melis to their flat, and was surprised to find out they gave me my own room to put all my things in and with my own bed. Since I was still exhausted from jet lag, I took a shower and called it a night.

try this

The overwhelming feelings of disappointment flourish through your body. While hopeless thoughts recycle through your mind. Write it down. Write down your heart break,
your headache,
your mistake.
Write it all down, what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking. Write down what the weather is like, what’s going on around you.
What day it is,
what time,
where you are,
what you’re wearing.
Release your feelings on that page.
Rip it out, fold it up and tape it to your wall. And leave it.
For days, weeks, months.
Return to it much much later, when you’re sitting in your room studying or return from a friends house, and discover this white sheet, randomly amongst your pictures of friends and family.
You forgot it was there.
Read it.
And remember what happened on June 21, 2012.
And realize how insignificant it became over time. So insignificant that you forgot you even wrote it down.
Toss the paper away in the trash and remember who you were that day three years ago…wasn’t the same you.
Move on.