Today my 6 weeks of living in Mersin comes to an end.
Tonight I board an overnight bus bound for Istanbul.
There is an expression I once heard that goes something like “with time, everything becomes softened by the joy of nostalgia, even the guillotine”, that is to say, even memories that are unpleasant will become easier to handle, with time. And in some way, now just knowing that I am leaving this humid city , and exhausting summer camp job, makes me think about what I will miss.
Last night was a perfect example of what I both simultaneously love and hate (hate might be a strong word, lets just say what can be frustrating if you just want some space or time to yourself) about Turkish culture: after going for iced coffees with a dozen or so of the other teachers and oldest kids from the summer camp, and having quite the lovely evening sitting around the Marina, in bearable evening tempuratures for once, it came time to catch the last dolmus (minibus) back to the suburb ive been living in. The last one leaves at approximatley 1130 in the evening so we had to hurry. Affectionate goodbyes were exchanged amongst everyone, (even between those kids who live in Mersin and will likely see each other next week). Warm hugs, kisses on the cheek, squeezes of hands, pats on the back, more kisses on the cheek and “ill miss yous!”. We then walked a ways to drop of a few of the students to their parents awaiting sport utility vehicles. This instigated another round of goodbyes, between everyone. Then we walked another block up to the main road where a few other teachers bid another adieu to their not-so-humble abode. Again, another round of kisses and hugs. By the time me and the 4 other teachers I share the apartment complex in Tece with had caught our Dolmus I must have been kissed at least 4 times by each person, totally about 40 times. Then again this morning as I was about to enter the shower, one of my housemates was leaving to go to her cousins, and knocked loudly until I opened, as I ackwardly stood in a towel to give me yet another final goodbye.
Its absolutely kind and wonderful and so representative of Turkish people…but at the same time, if you have to actually be somewhere at a particular time or hurry, or just want to get going…then god help you! Hahaha. Ive also been told that its sort of a symptom of a culture that is incapable of being solitary, that no one has any real independance or will to do anything alone.
Anyways...bye Mersin, hello Istanbul!!!