Mornings in Turkey

The first morning back in Europe, five years after I’d packed up my bedroom in Vauban, toured Aschaffenburg and Berlin each for a second time, and flown out of Frankfurt back to Michigan for my final year of college.

No fear or apprehension, to be back in Frankfurt Flughafen. I ate a pretzel, messaged Emma (still in Ukraine) on Facebook, wandered to find my gate for the next flight—the flight to Istanbul. I’m not sure how we landed in Frankfurt; it was dark still on arrival, I think, but soon morning gave way to this thick spooky fog out the terminal windows. I alighted in Istanbul at 1pm, waited a long time for my bag, couldn’t find the sign with my name, for the taxi to my hostel in Sultanahmet. Didn’t like it one bit. Once at the hostel, a fog of sleep, a shower (maybe), an unavoidable nap. I ventured out in the evening dark to see the Hagia Sophia and find sustenance, but couldn’t shake the overly friendly young Turkish man who just wanted to practice his English with me over some tea. I went home hungry to the hostel, couldn’t sleep. After that first night, Emma and I had no reservations for anything.

On the second day, I bought us plane tickets to İzmir for that afternoon, reserved the last room at a recommended pansiyon in Selçuk, wandered the gardens of the Sultan’s palace, and took a shuttle back to Atatürk International Airport, in search of meine Emma, arriving from Odessa. When her face finally emerged from the crowd spilling out of the international terminal, I was so happy. She was wearing a striped sweater whose twin I had also packed for the trip. I hadn’t seen her in almost a year and a half.

Morning three in the Old World, morning two in Turkey, we climbed three flights of turning stone stairs to the pansyion's terrace, picked out for ourselves one of the little circle tables that ringed the bench that wrapped around three sides of the terrace, and were presented with a feast.
I wanted to write about mornings. Early morning, when the light’s still a little blue and the breeze is so fresh that you always get a twinge of nostalgia for something – first days of school past, the end of hot summers, waking up early in a tent or on a lake or for a peaceful journey through a city still mostly aslumber.

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