I’m posting this monthly update from somewhere completely new to me: India!
This was a month of mood swings. After a rough September, I felt reinvigorated and much more like myself than I have in a long time: capable, confident, creative; energized by everyone around me. But there was also some lingering blue, perhaps because the weather keeps getting colder, or perhaps because by the end of the month I’d just worn myself out.
Best Of The Month
I took two excellent trips in Turkey this month. A clear highlight was my trip with Emma to the Kackar Mountains in northeast Turkey, a region that’s been at the top of my list for ages. We went specifically to see the huge ruined Georgian churches that dot the landscape and they were more grand and awe-inspiring than I’d imagined. I already want to go back and explore more.
I also returned to the Lycian Way. One of the highlights this time for me was the 200-year-old farmhouse-turned-pansiyon we stayed in in the village of Bezirgan. It was rustic and absurdly charming, with so many nooks for reading and the soft scent of rosemary and a night sky streaked with stars. We were only there for one night, but I would love to go back.
And then at the end of our hike, we parked ourselves on the Cukurbag Peninsula in Kas for a day of swimming and relaxing in the calm Mediterranean. I want to return to Kas for a few days and have a proper vacation there.
Worst Of The Month
Both of these splendid trips had their low moments.
The Lycian Way in particular seemed to pile on the tribulations this time, starting with a first day misadventure that found us lost on a mountain covered in thistles and thorns and spiky plants. My skin was ripped and bleeding and it’s the only point during the whole hike where I nearly broke down in tears… but I held it together and we escaped the thorn mountain and somehow reconnected with the path. Also, I wore new hiking shoes and ended up walking on blisters for four days. But that’s how we build character, right?
And then there was that time where Emma and I were racing to the airport hours away to catch our flight back to Istanbul, and couldn’t start the car. It started eventually, but not before both of us had a tiny moment of intense panic.
What I’m Loving
Reads: Emma lent me Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali. At first I found it slow, but as soon as the framing device gives way to the actual story, the novel just blooms. I couldn’t put it down. The joy of reading an excellent book while curled up in bed is such a specific pleasure, and I always want more of it.
Music: In the beginning of the month, when it was still warm-ish in Turkey, I was loving this song God Is Love by Complex Soundz from the Analog Africa compilation Analog Airways 2. Then I spent hours with Emma in a car and she pointed me towards some great music. Some isn’t so new– like, I’m only listening to Frank Ocean now! Channel Orange came out nearly four years ago, so never accuse me of being with the times. Some is, like Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper, which is sparse and low key and lovely.
Podcasts: This hasn’t previously been a category in these monthly round-ups, but I’ve been listening to podcasts much more frequently these days– while I cook, while I knit, even as I’m falling asleep. I’m grateful for the NPR Politics podcast for somehow being both informative and lighthearted during an election that often feels heavy. I also really appreciated this Planet Money show about the crisis in Venuzuela; I learned more about their economy in 20 minutes than I’d ever known before. And it was entertaining!
The Film Files
It’s been a busy month for my film photography! Mid-month, I gave a talk on my photography at the AD.DAR Center, a space that’s mostly focused on Syrian culture but likes to have all kinds of events. I love public speaking and was not nervous at all at any point– I had a ball. I’ll be giving a version of this talk one or two more times in the upcoming month, both for groups with membership requirements.
I also participated in Circuit Istanbul‘s Art on a Card exhibition, selling sets of postcards of my photographs. That’s the second exhibition I’ve participated in this year, and hopefully not the last! The art is up and the sale is on until November 15, so stop by Yeldegirmeni before then if you want to check it out.
Between hiking on the Lycian and hiking in the Kackars, I went on an urban hike in Istanbul. It was fun to do something so different and see the strange outskirts of the city that I’d never go to alone.
My adventure in India is just beginning, every day brings something new! And at the end of the month I’ll be off to the US for my annual visit to the homeland.