Monday, May 17, 2010

Grist for the mill

SFO International Terminal. The flowery taste of jasmine tea takes my mind back to those years I spent traveling to Hong Kong, Osaka, or Seoul from this very airport. 16-hour slogs across the Pacific, flying most often into the old Kai Tak, coming in so close between the highrises you could almost see what families were eating for dinner.

Today, I’m also headed back to Asia, but to the other side of that vast continent. No, wait. I’ll only be seeing Asia at the end of this journey, 14 hours airtime, inshallah and volcano willing. I’ll see it when I look out the windows of our new apartment in Istanbul’s Old City.

After years of living in Anatolia, technically Asia, we’ll be living for now in Eminonu, near Gulhane Park and the Topkapi Palace, at the mouth of the Golden Horn. Technically Europe, within the 3% of Turkey that sits on that continent. Within sight of the massive San Francisco-style bridges that span the narrow waters between Europe and Asia. A more profound concept than merely connecting San Francisco and Oakland, though visually there’s not much difference.

Another six months spent working away from Abit behind me, with any precious downtime spent plotting our next move, I’ve plenty of grist for my mental mill. Inexplicably tethered to another winter toiling amid the grapevines of Napa’s lovely valley, I constantly found myself drawing comparisons in appearance to our Aegean valley. But I realize now that both valleys, while enticingly full of comforts, offer little in terms of long-term sustenance.

I’ve determined to leave them both behind, to pursue a vision that better suits us. No more skimming along the surface of our creativity…time to dig deep in a place that better provokes our muses. No more half-years tending to the whims of clients, no matter how spectacular those before-and-after interior photos may be. My interior renovation, another new space that Abit and I will create together, may be a work in perpetual progress, but it’s work that is so much more satisfying.

So, after one last sumptuous almond croissant at Bouchon, and a few macaroons for my family, who are the major bright spot of any time spent in California, I’m leaving this golden state with its current economic woes. Like that old song, I do leave my heart here when I go. Or maybe I have multiple hearts, because high on a hill in the Old City, that one’s calling me back to Turkey. More than one heart, more than one home, more than one way to live. Seeking out places where parts of me blend, yet other parts don’t. Instead of viewing it as various parts of me though, I’d rather see myself as being a cultural chameleon – having the ability to recolor myself, wherever my heart takes me.

And to keep building bridges across continents, and between cultures. 

What interior renovations have you made recently?


  1. Wishing you a safe, ash-free journey and much happiness in your new home with Abit. Maybe we'll meet before too long as I'm really hoping for a visit to Istanbul before too long. xxx

  2. Thanks Sue - would love to see you here! XO