Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I like what travel does. I am getting ready to fly home, and I am ready to go, but I have the buzzing of my own mispronounced Turkish words in my thoughts. I like that all of my clothes smell funny, like red pepper and car exhaust with a slight undertone of cat pee. I like to remember how many people there are in the world, and how each one of them has a favorite food and a route they take to work and a pair of boots they like and a preference for taking naps on the boat or the bus.

I love home so much, but I also really love not to be home.

Sometimes I feel ill at ease with the newness of the US. I know that there is something older that I should recognize and know. But there are so many different countries mixed up in me that all the oldness might be faded away. So, as a result, I love to be somewhere old, a place with a memory of its own history. Today I saw Abraham's saucepan, and by Abraham's saucepan, I mean Sarah's saucepan, of course. I saw Mohammed's foot print. And I stood on floors worn down by millions of feet in centuries of ever changing footwear.

I have started to drink little cups of tea ever two hours, and to crave soft cheese and cucumbers for breakfast. I love that after only a week, Istanbul, a city which still confuses the hell out of me, has lent me some of its habits. I am happy to take them home, those habits. I have wrapped a little Turkish tea cup in my underwear, and I will be a bit Turkish at home, at least for as long as I can hang on to it.

I love not to be home. But today, all I keep thinking about the feeling of the girls' cheeks. We have skyped every night, and they stick their faces into the camera and their skin is magnified. I miss the way they feel, and I'm excited for those days after traveling when I get to be between worlds, when the Turkish words are still in my head, but the cheeks are close enough for me to touch.


  1. So thrilled you got to do this trip -- it has been inspiring to follow your posts!

  2. Hey, Alana. Thought of you today, as I reaffirmed that, marvelous as cabbage is cooked in many ways, there's still nothing like cabbage (and carrots, and potatoes) that has been simmered in the same crockpot that the corned beef has sat all day in. Best wishes for safe and calm travel home, from here in New Mexico (where the corned beef and vegetables are being served with rice and homemade beans, because I like rice and beans). MS

  3. yes, sounds fabulous. I think Irish and New Mexican are a perfect combination... thanks so much for your warm wishes- they are always better when they come from New Mexico, I think.

  4. Alana,

    Maybe you said why in an earlier blog, but I haven't read back yet...why are you in Istanbul?

  5. Well,librarian... I am now home and bleary, but I was in Istanbul because my very dear friend Molly and her sweetheart live there. Before that she lived in Kabul, and she was always trying to get me to visit her, and I said that if she moved somewhere a bit safer I would come. And so I kept my word.