24 November, 2007

No human being is illegal

I am incensed by people in the US, and other countries, who claim undocumented -illegal- immigrants are simply criminals, that no good can come from them. In my family, what's considered criminal is exactly that kind of thinking. The hero of this story is rather remarkable. Would you give up your chance at a better life to help a stranger?


23 November, 2007


I can't be that person. I'm listening to what sounds like bickering, but could just as soon be pillow talk in this culture. Off the phone, the young woman with the professional job disappeared. He called. He was hungry. He was coming home. That was that and she, after her own long day, sprang into action to have his meal on the table when he arrived.

A friend, trained in the intimidatingly named neuro-linguistic programing, told me recently that there really is no "cannot". We all have choices. Usually those things we claim we cannot do are simply our excuse for choosing not to and then following through. She mentioned this to me when I told her that at this point I cannot return to live in the US.

"You could," she stated simply. "You would find a way to make it work if you had to, but you choose not to."

It's a powerful thought, when you take that idea and examine your life, all those times you said "I can't". And, I believe she's right. Most of us are just making excuses, backing down in fear, telling outright lies to ourselves and others. I've resolved to try and expel it from my vocabulary.

But, it's not possible with this. I absolutely cannot be that person. Not that girl. Not that woman. I tried, have tried, but then haven't all women all their lives. The whole world expects dinner on the table in a way. Be quiet; don't laugh so loud; just put a little color on your lips; loose a few pounds; sit still; don't go too far; don't stand so tall; don't forget to ask him first.
It is physically, spiritually, impossible for me to be that woman. I admit, I didn't try very hard. I wouldn't even know how to begin, nor can really I comprehend why one would.

I do not want to be domesticated. Suburbs make my chest tighten reflexively, anxiously. I will not clean your house, cook your dinner, iron your laundry, fetch you things. I will go out without you and come home without you. I will ask you opinion, but never your permission. To domesticate me is to break me, and that would kill me, at least something vital in me.

I've met plenty of men who claim they love this about me, about women, when you are dating. Then those strengths, literally, become the source of arguments and resentments once you move in together, start to make more money than him, or get married.

So, I think in this my friend is wrong. I cannot be this person. I can be, am, many things. This is a choice, one that is not always easy to bear. Ask any woman who has made it.


21 November, 2007

Türkiye Finallerde

Turkey just beat Bosnia to secure a spot in the Euro 2008 Finals. The Norway game was more exciting simply because I was down in the crowds on Istiklal. A roar rolled up the street through the crowds at one point that night when Turkey scored and you couldn't help but feel you were a part of something. We all applauded, knowing what the sound meant.

Watching it on our little TV isn't quite the same, but I can hear the fireworks going of over at Sami Yen Stadium. The chorus of car horns is just warming up along Cumhurriyet. Off to bed...


20 November, 2007

Bad parenting

Listening to: Traffic on Cumhurriyet outside my window, India Arie, Woody Guthrie, Over the Rhine
Reading: Ha, funny. Someday...

I've been a woefully negligent parent with the blog lately. Care and feeding of Tales stopped altogether due to time (too little), energies (again, lacking), and stress (abundant). The main source of stress was actually not my CELTA course, but rather the throbbing headache that was working for a sub-standard language school. That has been dealt with and life has returned to bloom, somewhat.

I promise more is forthcoming, including an activity I dreamed up for a free-teaching session today where I had intermediate students copying masterpiece paintings. Yes, I've put them to work making forgeries. O.k., no, but we did have a good time once they got over the idea that they had to get the painting "right". They got valuable listening and speaking practice in an unusual and fun way. I came up with a great lesson that could be spun off in a many directions while satisfying my creative soul. I'll write more about it later.

I am also experimenting on two friends, both of whom more than earned the title by not running away when the word experiment was uttered in regards to them, about the use of original music in teaching English. I did mention to one of them, however, that if I ever mention the word experiment in relation to cooking he should turn on his heals and run.

I've got some nascent ideas kicking me in the ribs that I want to put up on the blog. For now, I need to get my lesson plan ready for Friday. It's a reading lesson about Ikea, which will be highly amusing to my friends in Atlanta after our endless trips to their blue & yellow behemoth to resolve shelving issues. In addition, I need to get back to spending my Thursdays at the MoMA in Tophane. You can find me in the library at 10am, researching the collection and blissing out amidst the creative energy. And then there's all that research into economics and the major business sectors for the possible writing job...

And gobble gobble to all the family gathering this week in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Sorry you couldn't be here.