It seems spring has arrived. . . again. My winter coat is still hanging where I can reach it, but yesterday, I did indulge in a gesture to acknowledge spring–I went to the Princes’ Islands about and hour away from Istanbul proper, in the Sea of Marmara.
The day was warm-ish and Julie, myself, and our first Tea, Tavla, and Tall Tales artists (who have come from Vienna to install . . . something. . . in our building,) took the ferry to visit our friends, Sibel and Izel, who have a house on Burgazada.
First item of business was ice cream. The second was to find an emlakci (real estate agent) to show us some flats for rent. We decided to rent a summer house as an annex for our overflow Caravansarai and personal guests. Actually, it’s an annex for us to get away from our guests more than anything. Julie, our friend Özlem and I are splitting the rent, which is paid yearly. For that reason, we are also looking for something with heat so it is comfortable there in the winter.
We found the perfect place, except for the scary mold situation they have going on there as a result of a broken roof and this year’s record-breaking precipitation. If they fix it all up by next week, it is ours. We aren’t holding our breath (except when we are inside the house.)
In any case, it was the perfect antidote to a frustrating week, in which my sense of real time kept abutting against Turkish Time. I felt like I was walking around with a stick to prod the people we are paying to get our business going (architects, lawyer, the guy who is making me a new foot-juggling chair). I’ve never been so busy and so unproductive at the same time! So, to relax at the top of the island and watch the sunset while eating hamsi and drinking beer was sublime. It was made even better by a star-spotting of Beren Saat, an actress from my favorite turkish TV show–Aşk-i Memnu, as she climbed down the millions of stairs to the sea to re-board her sailboat.
I had been worried about committing to summer life on this island. Its beaches were the occasional backdrop of a love affair that ended horribly, and from which I still haven’t recovered. I had been so sure the last time I was there that if I ever came back, it would be with this person, and not with my female business partner, two Austrian designers, their 6-year old son, and an over-educated Turkish couple. As it was, I teared up a few times during the day, but as Sibel promised me, “It will be the best summer you’ve ever had. By the end, it will be a different island for you.”
I hope she’s right.