Wednesday, 16 October 2013

some days you give thanks, some days you give the finger

You know you are as small as the things you let annoy you.  And you know you are gigantic as the things that you adore.  Some days you give thanks, some days you give the finger.  
It's a complicated creation. - Cloud Cult

Expectations suck.

Recently, my love and I have been planning a getaway to Istanbul.  Getaway is used quite intentionally here.  You see, we live in the driest, dullest, most socially conservative, least environmentally conscious,  totally colourless desert you could ever hope to see.  You don't believe me?  Here's the view from our balcony (at sunset even).

You see?  I'll never lie to you, dear internet.  Anyhoo, my days consist of overdosing on uninvited stares, dust and time in climate-controlled indoor environs.   Far from a few of my favorite things, even if I had Julie Andrew's vocal range.  Particularly as a female, the inability even to walk alone to a neighbouring shop or hail a taxi sans-man can get overwhelming.  Thus getting away is a necessity, to make me appreciate coming back to the multiple things there are to love about this desiccated place.  (People's insane aptitude for hospitality, homemade dolmas, bonding in broken Arabic, the cheap price of almonds and pistachios, and conversations with young people bent on improving their country, to name a few.)  But to do that, I need TO LEAVE.

Sadly, perspective-building, independence and remembering the colour green were not to be ours this time.  Bureaucracy and inconsistency won, and we were not granted exit visas to leave.  The details of the problem are trivial - many living or traveling in developing nations will have similar tales.  But the expectations!  The crushing weight of  those crumbled dreams of gorging on doner kebab, shopping the Grand Bazaar and cruising the Bosphorus - those are the killer.

The Finger
Which led me here.  I have a decision to make.  I can spend all week angry, reliving the frustration and disbelief I originally felt, and lamenting what could have been.  That route will make me bitter.  No two ways about it, I will be a bitter lady, building up useless anger at this country that already leaves me unsatisfied in so many ways.  But what actually gets me about this option is that it wastes my time.  It is  waste.  So much of my time is already burnt up on trivial things here; can I really afford more waste?


Or, I could step back.  I could choose to look at this a new way.  Now my love and I can make time to bake pizzas.  Now I can do some purposeful creativity stalking, a.k.a. the reason I started this blog.  I can practice yoga.  I can pick up my neglected guitar and not immediately set it down again.  I can finally watch that damn Miley Cyrus video and figure out what on earth 'twerking' is.  I can wander around snapping photos of families slaughtering lambs for Eid al-Adha (done and done!).  I can write a 'please quit all your bullsh*t now' letter to my congressman.   I can Skype people other than my parents or my eternally confused bank.  Most importantly, I can dream up our next round of international escapism and I can get planning now.

Now, I can.

Not entirely unbegrudgingly (hey, I'm no zen hero and my body's still salivating for plates of honeyed baklava), I'm making a concerted effort to opt for the latter.

In honour of this new perspective, here's an ode not to wandering but to wanderlust.  Do I wish I had original content from my fantastic travels to show you?  Yes.  Does that stop me from enjoying dreaming about all the other places I hope to travel?  Heeeeeeeell no.  (Here's still lookin' at you, Istanbul.)  Soon, soon my friends, but until then...

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