Sunday, November 24, 2013

Eternal Return

I have been back in Canada exactly one month. It is actually somewhat hard to believe that a month has passed by so fast - still jobless, sleepin' on my Dad's couch (I have upgraded to an air mattress but mostly I'm scared that Truman will pop it in his late night enthusiastic purrs and paw-stretches and I thus end up back on the couch); I am generally rather restless and spend most of my time reading and writing in coffeeshops and catching up with friends; my mind half in this wintery Canadian landscape, yet half still somewhere on an Istanbul hilltop. My feet in boots and socks trampling over snow, my hands still grasping halfheartedly at sheesha and kebabs.

I've been perfecting the sloppy art of post-modern hobo life now for 3 years, you think maybe I'd be used to it - but the reverse culture shock of coming home from 6 months living in Istanbul with all its +15 million inhabitants, to Calgarys modest 1 or so million, is still a pretty big change. I'd say my first 2 weeks here were spent in a bit of a stupor, and now I've finally woken up, eager to find a job, a new apartment, some semblance of "getting back on track" (whatever track that might be.)

As was to be expected, Ive drank a lot of pumpkin spice lattes, and ate my fair share of Pho. The concept of eating all sorts of different types of foods is almost overwhelming. I can easily eavesdrop on conversations once again and see girls and boys with big tattoos and crazy hair. The streets where I live are empty after dark, there are no children shooting cap guns at me, no goats being slaughtered in the street, no gas-van making the rounds, honking up and down the road and waking me at 7 am. Calls to prayer have been replaced with an eerie silence -one that I also love, that is the silence of Western Canadian winter, where the freshly fallen snow muffles everything else, and you hear the crunch of it under your boots like mashed potatoes. Yet the sense of space is staggering, and I miss Istanbul's crowds, getting lost in the crowd, assimilating into a giant throbbing mass of drunken people walking up Istiklal street on a Saturday night (which at the time, drove me crazy, but now of course seems so nostalgic). Canada is wonderful, I have no cause for complaints. It's all just a bit weird. How quickly I can feel back at home, as though I never left at all...yet how I still feel like when I fall asleep, eyes closed -I am in Istanbul.

German Philosopher Theodor Adorno once wrote of displacement and writing, that "for the man who no longer has a homeland, writing becomes a place to live". Canada might be my homeland, but being that I have spent more time in the past few years outside of it, than in it, I guess it's far to say I feel like I'm living in some sort of exile, and maybe that's what motivates me to write so much - as ridiculous and pretentious as that does indeed sound.  At least that motivation is still there - even if I myself don't really know exactly where I am.

Canadian deer, caught in winter headlights

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