Proud to be an Expat

Many, many years ago I read an article in a Turkish newspaper asking for contributors for an anthology about foreign women in Turkey. I felt like it had been written directly to me. When I first came to Turkey I shunned all foreign company. That sounds very high and mighty but it really wasn’t hard to do in Çanakkale of the early 2000s, there were very few foreigners to avoid. My reasoning was that I had to throw myself into Click for more

Museum Life

I lived across from the Museum Building for two years but spent four years attending lectures inside it. It had an air of mystery with rows of carvings of plants and animals and the tall wooden door generally closed and guarded by a smoking post-grad or two, sometimes surrounded by eager undergrads. I always got a thrill from pushing open the heavy door and stepping into the cool darkness of the foyer. As my eyes adjusted to the gloom the Click for more

Geography, geology and icebergs

Sometimes a picture can tell you more in an instant than a piece of writing. With a background in geology and an interest in literature, anything combining the two is bound to catch my eye. The title of this piece by Nirwan Dewanto was enough. This Indonesian poet wrote about geography being a metaphor for the cultural space we move in, while geology is the underlying meanings connecting apparently separate things. Geography we see and live through, moving horizontally, while Click for more

Joy in Writing

For many years I have “suffered” from writer’s block. The inverted commas are to indicate that I don’t really believe such a thing exists. But writing was not happening. The impulse is to wonder why and here’s a list that may or may not explain it: Lack of confidence Perfectionism Bad time management Avoidance of hard work with a distant result Perceived lack of good ideas Social anxiety/fear of being seen Time spent reeling between terrorist attacks Awareness of climate Click for more

The Last of Christmas

Today is Little Christmas, or Oiche Nollaig na mBan, the Women’s Christmas. Though of course it’s more commonly known as the Feast of the Epiphany and the day the Orthodox churches celebrate Christ’s birth. In Ireland the idea was that today being the last day of Christmas, the women left the men to fend for themselves and took the day off. In our house it was the day the decorations came down and the tree, both tasks that required my Click for more

Away

  A few months ago I spent a week in Istanbul. The first few days were shrouded in mist and damp. Mealtimes were announced by the cries of hungry seagulls circling around the building, screaming for the bread thrown out the windows.   Though right in the centre of Istanbul, we were on an island. I could see Fatih Mosque and Suleymaniye and Beyazit Tower. I could look out into hidden parks, and wonder.       We escaped one Click for more

Get Real

It can be easy to assume that life exists in the screen these days. It’s where work comes from and friendships are kindled and continued, it’s where we go for entertainment and distraction and, especially relevant in Turkey, our source for news. As I write there are 3 screens in front of four people in this sitting room. (One now replaced by a tiny square of cardboard and 6 disks, providing a far more engaging game.) In order to pay Click for more

Pinning the Butterfly

I’ve been putting off writing this blogpost. It feels a little like pinning down a butterfly. Flying around it creates wonderful glimpses of colour but I know if I don’t pin it down, it will flutter on its way and the memory of it will fade. I attended a poetry workshop in the local university a few weeks ago. It’s the first time to my knowledge that an English-language poetry workshop has been held so I jumped at the chance Click for more

Falling Off the Wagon

It’s not been long. I’ve only been on the wagon (that would be the writing and blogging wagon) for the last month. I can already feel I’m flagging. Now I could say it started last week when I failed to get a post up, but that would be denying the scale of the problem. It probably began before that when I spent a day idling and feeling blue. I did not write the two posts I had planned and I Click for more

An Uncomfortable Truth

This post transported me back to the early days after moving to this town. When it was all new and foreign and different. We wanted out. We were not going to have children here, not going to buy a house here, definitely not going to send the kids to school here. Twelve years later here we are. Still here. The town has changed in some ways; it’s a little prettier, has sprawled and is more crowded. There are signs of community at Click for more