Lots of things have happened since last time I’ve posted, an attempted military coup for one, but most importantly for us, Gürkan was approved for a green card at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. With that good news in hand, I moved back to the United States in December and he followed shortly after in February (entering right in the midst of that unlawful and disastrous “Muslim Ban”).
The only hiccup in our long awaited move is that we ended up in different places — me in Chicago for work and Gürkan in San Francisco. Life is strange, and everyone will believe me when I say that I never once pictured myself living in California, so you can imagine our shock and surprise when Gürkan got transferred to THY’s San Francisco office (though I was silently thanking the gods that it wasn’t Miami, another opening at the time). Because if there is a comparison that people make between Istanbul and a U.S. city, it’s always San Francisco — the great expanse of water, the bridge, the streetcars, the hilly streets.
Given that we are stateside — and that I’m trying to manage living in two cities at once — I’m not sure what this blog will become, or if it will lie dormant, as many a blog do when one returns home (because though repatriation can be an interesting topic, I have no interest in writing about it at length, and honestly, my family and friends are so great that I’ve literally picked up right where I left off). If I had to point to one thing that presented a mild culture shock, it would be that first trip to the grocery store and the mind-boggling array of products, frozen, processed and otherwise. American consumerism at its peak.
As for the things I miss (other than our dear friends, and you know who you are), it’s the sounds and places of familiarity — the ezan at the break of dawn, our street dog Charlie barking at deliverymen as they cross the threshold onto our street and the neighborhood repairman yelling “tamirci, muslukçu” as we break bread for our weekend breakfast.
And, of course, I miss our neighborhood hangouts: Kılıt, Deal, Pizano, places of comfort, a familiar face, a known entity. And, I daydream about another hearty mid-morning snack at Asım Usta, another late lunch at Köfteci Yaşar, another luxurious dinner at Set Balık, one more carry-out from Cağdaş Urfa.
I do plan to scratch out a few last blog posts of travels that we managed to squeeze in before we left — Sofia, Baku and Tbilisi — as well as a Cappadocia trip from ages ago. I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t share the stark beauty of that place, but also, I miss writing.
After that, we’ll see. Maybe more travels with Team Çapkın. California, here, or elsewhere.