Dear Diary, I am glad to report that I survived all of the fears and trepidations that threatened me in 2012, thanks to God. I am still here in Istanbul, still happy about it, still discovering new things, still glad for my decision. New Year's Eve was almost everything I have ever imagined it should be (I didn't get the romantic kiss... but had lots and lots of kisses Turkish style from many new friends) . I chose to sail on a party boat with Expat Events of Istanbul... to watch the city celebrate at midnight. One of my fears about making the trip was that I had no one to go with and only knew the hostess. Right away I ingratiated myself at a table with a woman who looked to be around my age. She kindly allowed me to join and I was NOT disappointed with the company that began arriving from the various boarding stops. Teachers, attorneys, performing art center directors, marketing specialists, and Clint Eastwood. (Pics to follow)
By the end of the evening, I had several new friends, a glass of Moet, a wild motorcycle ride, and one of the best times I've ever had in my life... and I've had some pretty great celebrations; Not one but two weddings in the wild unknown parts of New Mexico, a cast party on the faux Japanese castle movie set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, New Year's eve in Sevilla with 3 of my sons, a family reunion in Salida with four generations present, and now I can add yesterday and part of today to my list. People keep commenting that there's a book and movie in my blog. Everyone says that, I imagine, to everyone who has a blog because anyone can publish to the world now days. I have my doubts that this humble little bit of sometimes vanity writing will ever be discovered by the masses, but just in case... I am going to narrate the slide from 2012 into 2013 as if it were indeed a movie scene. So close your eyes and listen to the plaintive azan ring out from the loudspeakers on the two mosques near my apartment, stereo calls to evening prayer... as I ready myself for the festivities.
Three outfits. It's not cold, but we have been told that heels are okay and sparkle is de rigueur . I don't want to wear heels. Not that I don't have great legs now that I am walking everywhere... but I'm just not in the mood for a dress or a skirt... later on I will be very glad I made that decision. That throws out two options, so the new skinny jeans it is, tucked in with black boots that I will polish. Turks are very fashion conscious and they do NOT like dirty shoes. Mine will shine. And my sparkle... a little flashy purple/red tee... and some magenta eye shadow to match. Curl the hair. Lots of big curl. Mulberry lipstick. Shiny nail polish.... maroon. Funny, I just looked up synonyms for maroon because it was turning into a definite maroon themed night, and one of the obscure little definitions is the bursting flower a firework makes. Perfect. Some jangly rhinestones, a black velvet coat given to me many years ago by a friend who inherited it from her aunt. I am hot... smokin'. I haven't felt this good looking in a long time.
Not wanting to take a bus dressed like I am, and not sure of the NYE traffic, I hop in a taxi and have a lot of fun trying to explain where in Kabatas I want to go. I tell him "ferry" because I think surely he will know this word, but when he tries to drop me off at the swank Feriye Lokanta... I clearly realize we have a language barrier. In the end, via sign language and the inspiration to mention the Petrol station near the ferry docks, I arrive, ready to party.
Happily, Hope, my new friend and table mate is joined at the next stop by a person I have met before, Betty the English teacher, an adventurous spirit who entered the world of international teaching at the age of 67 to teach English at University! She is sharply dressed in a sparkly little see through blouse and she looks stunning. Her face is happy and glowing. I am so glad to see her again. She is with 2 other people I do not know... who are developing a new performing arts center here in Istanbul. We make introductions all around and the mezes come out, cheese and crackers, dolmas, spinach pies, dips. This stirs the crowd and everyone is on their feet for the first round of hour d'oeuvres.
There is a table of women near us who are clearly out to have a great time together this new year's eve. They are all dressed in little black outfits and have had no shortage of spirits. I am surprised when they approach our table and ask one of the men sitting with us if they can have their picture taken with him. He obliges and his wife happily snaps away as he is surrounded by the bevy of beauties. I ask her if this happens often, and she replies, "Oh yes, everywhere we go, all the time." I am puzzled, and ask why. "Because everyone thinks he's Clint Eastwood." I can sort of see the resemblance, so I snap my own photo. A great memory from an epic night.
Next post........ The wild trip to the second party!
Before I sign off, I have some thoughts I would like to share. It is actually January 8th as I post this. Snow is flying sideways and blanketing lovely Istanbul. School was canceled for today, and I am hoping the same for tomorrow. I've had some quiet time today to ponder my life, my future, and my place in this world. New Year's Eve was quite truly, a lot of fun for me. It's been a long time since I honestly enjoyed this day. But there is more to it than the parties, the wine, the food.... even the company. I thought a lot about my experiences since starting this blog... I actually had some panic last night when I was unable to sleep and remembering all I had left behind. I started thinking perhaps I had made a mistake in coming here. Though it has been incredibly exciting and new, that alone is not enough to sustain me. If I lose my connection with my creator, the GOD whom I have loved for so long, the Jesus who has kept me near and loved, the Holy Spirit who has chided, encouraged, counseled and directed me throughout my life... well no experience on this planet can replace this connection. So the streets of Istanbul, the taxi rides, the exotic people, the flavors, the scents, the Hagia Sophia, the balloon rides, the handsome men, the fantastic people I have met.... are only icing on my cake. Lovely icing to be sure, but I do count them all as loss in comparison to what I hold most dear. So as I took this sudden fear to the place of prayer last night, I was, as I have always been, comforted by the still small voice telling me to trust in His grace. That we are loved and cherished and that I remain sheltered in the crevice of faith, imperfect to be sure, but safe nevertheless.
As my son once wrote on the banner of my cell phone, because he knows me so well...