I know I wrote that I'd post an update regarding Greece, but I've been waylaid by several Christmas parties and now a nasty cold which kept me out of class for three days, which, in all honesty, isn't that bad. However, I'd rather be well and working than sick and housebound. I have begun laying plans for 2008 through my feverish and oxygen deprived haze.
In the weeks before I moved to Istanbul, I began compiling a list of things I wanted to accomplish, but without parameters, such as time or reality or feasibility. The list runs the gamut from the predictable - learn Turkish - to the idealistic, professional, personal, and with regular forays into the odd and unique. I'm revisiting the notes I made and adding things that have come up in the months I've been here.
For instance, I had no idea I'd be living in a neighborhood with so many transvestite prostitutes and, the Diane Arbus in me wants to get to know them. I've taken to telling the two or three who frequent my corner "goodnight" when I return from teaching my night classes. At first they seemed surprised and a bit confused as to how or if they should respond. But I did manage to finally get a "goodnight" in response recently, which I take as a good sign. An older Turkish friend told me "it's best you don't speak to them," but I disagree.
I need to arrange a schedule that includes incorruptible times for writing and photography. There the various places and unused planters I've been keeping my eye on in hopes of staging a guerrilla gardening project. And then there's that intense desire to confound the harbor pilots by taking a kayak through the Bosphorus, finding where and how to keep a kayak in this city, and swimming to the Asian side (no, not kidding). I'll also begin looking for diving partners, because I refuse to stay out of the water for as long as I have in the past. Then there's my stubborn refusal to bow to the male-female divide, whereby I will create a circle of male friends, come hell or high water, for match-watching, billiards-playing, etc.
Some things on the list are coming together: I'm starting a book club with a Turkish friend and that may help lay the groundwork for the writing workshop I'd like to organize. I'm also having a go at a long-standing goal of mine - 50 books in 52 weeks. I've decided to let some of it be a bit organic, while making a list of certain titles I'd like to be sure to read.
I'm feeling good, current illness aside, heading into the coming year. Of course, I suppose most people feel pretty good about the future this time of year, otherwise New Year's Eve likely wouldn't be much of a celebration. I feel a lot of responsibility for myself and no one else, which doesn't make it any easier.
Looking forward to seeing what's next.