This time, something was different in our visit back home.
At the end of my trips for the past 13 years, usually I used to be ready to come back home to the States, sleep in my own bed and ready to get back into the hustle and bustle of our life here.
This time, though…that feeling…was absent. Instead, I felt like there was a life waiting for me in Istanbul, a life to live but not sure how to grab it. I felt lost…
And I simply just felt torn.
We took long walks in unknown-to-us neighborhoods, hand in hand, walked down on steep cobblestone hills. And mesmerized by the views each turn gave us.
I took the time to make dough and roll out some yufka with my grandma and quietly, I listened to her talking about how she and my grandfather got married while admiring her 1950s Hollywood glamor like pictures from a long-gone era.
I lost myself in the traditional wedding to-do list for my brother’s wedding and enjoyed doing these little things and being part of the hectic schedule.
I visited my long-time favorite bakery in our neighborhood and ate many many pastries without an ounce of guilt.
Enjoyed my share of meyhane, thanks to my brother, and drank enough raki to last me another a couple of months.
Enjoyed ferry rides, grocery shopping, serving tea and borek to over 20 relatives at home three days in a row, doing the dishes, setting the table and many daily errands that I ran with my mom.
And at the end of the day, when I put my feet up and sip my warm linden tea, chatted with my husband while some Turkish drama show was on the background in the comfort of my old home, it just felt right for a moment. To be there. To be surrounded with my family, with the old, familiar pictures, furniture and sounds.
A friend told me because I just realized how fragile the family and people are. I think it is true and also all of a sudden I realized that the babies I held in my arms once upon a time are getting married and there is nothing I can do to stop the time. What hit me the most was seeing my brother to transform from this little soccer player that he was:
to the fine man he is now, saying his vows to his beautiful bride with his whole heart.
This short visit was one of the most emotional ones I have had.
No matter how fragile the life is, it is a beautiful thing when your family, friends and your favorite city are in it.