I went halfway around the world in November, beginning the month in Bangalore, India and ending it in California. It all feels sort of unreal and dizzying, honestly.
Best Of The Month
Spending time with my friend Kabir in India and slipping so comfortably into his Bangalore life was clearly a highlight. Also, I bought some beautiful clothes in India, which might seem frivolous, but fits the spirit of filling my life with beautiful things.
Also, my friend Natalie made a surprise return to Istanbul. Even though the reasons were family-related and sad, it was such a glorious treat to be back together– I’ve missed her immensely and my neighborhood is brighter with her in it.
Worst Of The Month
The day after the election, and nearly a week and a half after I’d arrived in India, I came down with a viscous stomach bug that left me vomiting all day (appropriate, given the election results). It stuck around for almost two weeks, through my two layovers back from India, through my week and a half in Istanbul, and didn’t go away until I arrived in the US– at which point I promptly came down with a cold. So I feel like I’ve been sick all month; I think this is my body’s way of telling me I’ve been pushing a bit too hard.
What I’m Loving
Reads: Kabir is obsessed with books, and I bought half a dozen with him in India. However, while I was there, I wanted to take advantage of his personal library. We spent three days in Kodaikanal without Internet, where I read Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. I really enjoyed Americanah, while The Savage Detectives just reminded me how much I loved 2666 when I read it years ago.
Movies/TV: While in India, Kabir turned me onto Sherlock, the BBC series that my sister has been bugging me to watch for years. Of course I was hooked; I grew up obsessed with mystery novels and remember just enough of the Sherlock Holmes books to appreciate the way the show reconceptualizes so much of the books. I hear there will be new shows in January, thank goodness…
I flew direct from Istanbul to San Francisco, and took advantage of the airline’s excellent movie selections to rewatch The Godfather and The Godfather part II. (It was a really long flight.) I’d forgotten how iconic every single scene in The Godfather is. And I’d only seen part II once before, so it was exciting to watch it nearly fresh.
(However, my favorite Coppola film is still The Conversation.)
Podcasts: My sister turned me onto the Dissect Podcast, which spends each half-hour episode deeply analyzing each track from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. I spent one long sick weekend binging on the entire thing; now I look forward to each Tuesday’s new episode. If you like this album, or if you’ve found it a bit intimidating, I highly recommend this podcast.
The Film Files
My camera broke on my second day in India (of course), and after spending a fruitless day running around the city and trying to get it fixed, I put aside the Praktica and picked up something new. Kabir gifted me his Olympus Pen half frame camera, and it was such a fun change– it’s very small and VERY quiet, and shoots half frames, so every image is a diptych. The pictures are weird and imperfect and I couldn’t be happier. (I’ll be writing more about this, hopefully soon.)
I gave two more talks about my analogue photography this month, one to PAWI (Professional American Women of Istanbul, the group I co-coordinate) and one to the Photo Club of Istanbul. Both were great fun for me (and hopefully for the attendees!) though I think the next talk I give will have to be something new– doing the same talk three times was enough for me.
I’ll be in California for most of this month, with a quick trip to fantastic LA and a special visitor arriving in the Bay Area. And then finally back to beautiful Istanbul!