I Was Raw, I Became Cooked, I Was Burnt: Slowing Down, Celebrating, and Accepting

I hadn’t written here in a long time.. Many of you know what has been happening during this break from my Instagram stories. I honestly don’t know how I ended up taking such a long break from writing. Today, I wrote a few posts for my blog, ı will publish later. Then, I decided to write something here too. I’m not sure how it will turn out.

The last time I felt this focused was during my trip to Germany when I was trying to finish my book. Many of you know that story too. I spent years staring at a blank screen because I couldn’t find the perfect ending. But then, suddenly, something clicked, and I believed it was time to say goodbye to Elsa. I finally wrote the ending I had been unable to write for years and finished the story.

After spending a year in Chiang Mai, I returned to Turkey for a short time to work on some future plans. Many of you are familiar with this part. Then the earthquake happened. Although it was far from my city, but also my plans were also buried under it. During that period, the negative circumstances in Turkey and my constant feeling of being trapped led me to suddenly find myself in Greece. It was one of those rare moments when I realized that life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes you just have to accept and embrace the new.

After years, I found myself working a 9-to-5 corporate job. This week marks exactly one year since I moved to Greece. I still watch every moment with admiration, just as I did when I first arrived. After living in Athens for about nine months, I took the long trip I had been planning for a while but wasn’t sure if I could ever actually take. My job allowed me to do this, and with the savings I had  from my side hustle, I planned a three-month trip. A journey that started in Kuwait on a Ramadan day and ended in Bali. During this period, I learned a lot, refined myself, and made decisions. It still surprises me how much travel can shape a person. Every phase taught me something new. At 40, I’m still discovering myself, and sometimes I’m not sure if it’s strange or miraculous.

The chaos of Nepal, the tranquility of Thailand, and Bali, which somehow breaks me in a way I still haven’t figured out. On my way back, I visited my father in the village. I eat mulberries straight from the tree and picked cherries. I went for a hike in the mountains. I gathered chamomile for tea but forgot to bring it back. My father, as always, put a package of walnuts he had shelled himself into my suitcase. He has never stopped doing this over the years. I think he was the happiest with every decision I made.

During this journey, I decided that I no longer wanted to live in Athens, to eat healthier, and even to quit smoking. I haven’t taken a step for the third one yet. But at least the other two are going well for now. In the light of the full moon, which is ready to turn me into a bat on the balcony of the small apartment I rented in Thessaloniki, my words are flowing again with focus.

Every day, I go for a short walk, watch the sunset, and search for a coffee shop I might like. I read the graffitis, admire some houses, greet my neighbors, and enjoy the solitude.

I listen to the same songs a million times. I’m trying to finish a book I’ve been dragging around for a month. With Coldplay’s “Paradise” in my ears, I’m building my own small space. Since the concert, I’ve become obsessed with them again, as like I haven’t listened to them for years. Here’s another piece of news: I went to the Coldplay concert alone and danced until my feet hurt.

I think I need to buy a mint pot or maybe lavender for the balcony; I’m not sure. All the furniture in the house was ready, at least a small pot would belong to me. Today I talked to Kırmızı, and it felt good. I still feel like my brain is about to explode when I talk to her. You know Kırmızı. She’s the only one in my long history of travel who managed to put up with me for a month and a half – a true Survivor.

Despite sitting on the balcony for hours, I haven’t been attacked by mosquitoes yet. The second pot of coffee I’ve brewed is almost gone. I haven’t had a dream in a long time, but I can’t shake off the impact of a dream I had this week. It made me miss raining. I wanted it to rain. I wish it would rain. It feels like all this darkness would be lifted if it rained. Maybe then I would stop blaming the full moon.

You might remember Afroman; he finally got me into the tattoo chair. To remind me how to live my life, I got two different tattoos. I wanted to honor the two countries that made me think, “Maybe this is the place.” I got two words I love tattooed in Thai and Greek. “Jai Yen Yen” and “Siga Siga” – two phrases that mean “calm down” and “slowly, slowly.” They’re close in meaning and reflect my desire to slow everything down, to ease my constant rush and the feeling of being late in life.

I need to compile all the notes I’ve taken on the road and weave them into complete stories. I think I’ll have plenty of time for that here.

But before all the stories, I need to celebrate my first year of moving here. Happy anniversary, Fatma.

‘I Was Raw, I Became Cooked, I Was Burnt’ – Rumi


22 June 2024,  02:45 am

Thessaloniki, Greece

Turkish; Click here


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