Archive for November, 2012

Rainy Day Musings

Today is the day all of Turkey remembers the death of their revered leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.  The anniversary fell on a weekend this year, so the school gathered in the AD Hall to honor him.

Koray’s parents are usually here Saturday morning, but this week they had something else to do, so Ali and Omer joined us.  Now first graders at a school here in Istanbul, they know who Ataturk is, what he did for the nation and why he is so respected.  As the ceremony began, Omer looked up at me and said, “Ataturk is our hero.  But you are American, so who is your hero?” This question really stumped me.  I actually don’t know who my hero is.  I hadn’t really thought of it.

“Well, there are lots of people I respect and admire, but I don’t think I really have a hero. I will have to think about it”

This was met with a look of surprise bordering on worry which melted into a look that rationalized this concept with that fact that I am American, who maybe just don’t have heroes, and then it seemed to be OK.

When Koray walked onto the stage, something I see every week and have for four years now, Ali and Omer’s eyes lit up.  Like little moths, they were mesmerized by the spot light and the sight of their Baba standing in it.  Omer looked up at me now with love gleaming in his eyes said, “I love seeing Baba on the stage.” I patted his hand and continued listening while Koray delivered another speech that made me so happy to be married to such a smart, open-minded individual.  I also remembered that on this day 11 years ago, I was a naive 26 year old who  had just met (the night before) this intelligent dashing man and well, wow.  Look at us now.

The speech was just the right length, but Ali and Omer being six year olds who would rather be at their Mad Scientist class, fell asleep. If Koray had any delusions of grandeur, a quick glance at his sleeping sons would have burst that bubble immediately.  The universe again.

Next week we board a plane and make the trip back to the beautiful land of Nova Scotia to see people we miss and reconnect with Rog through those that also love him. I dreamed last night that he was happy and healthy and smiling.

I just hope that this too is the universe and that it is telling me that all is well.


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The Universe

Down the steps, students pad silently behind, me feeling all too serious, I turn and am poked in the heart with an umbrella by a boy whose name means hope. Shock and horror turns to giggles and apologies. The universe is funny that way.

We make our way through the school, noticing things we maybe hadn’t noticed before, or jotting down things that make us feel something nice, or good.  I see Obama on the muted TV screen.  I scribble in my notebook.

Through the hallways where they first met the fate of these next five years, students are reflective of who they have become in such a short time.  I see a broken arm propped on a desk and smile.  This too goes in my notebook.

Out the door we go, into the finally crisp November air.  Down these steps I walked in autumn twelve years ago.  I reflect on the person who stood there then and the one standing here now.

“Do you want to see something weird?”

Feeling now like the pied piper, curious teenagers follow me.  Out at the storage area, they spy a discarded toilet and snicker,  laugh and point.  The universe again.

Then they notice those really big shoes, smile and take pictures, pondering why these strange things are placed here, in a big cage. It is a nice moment.

We walk back, I spy mushrooms growing out of construction debris and roses blooming in November and I remember a poem also about Istanbul roses blooming in November.  And I smile.  The universe is like that sometimes.


For Roger. By his example he inspired me to be a purposeful teacher. Through his kind words he gave me the courage to figure it out by myself. From his musings on teaching he cultivated in me the idea that students are where it’s at.

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