Monday, November 16, 2009

When life gives you bad wine...

I rested in Savasana after practicing yoga in my bedroom. Sounds from the street wandered into my perception like the scent of food from another room that has just started to sizzle. I heard fragments of conversations, shouting vendors, dogs, and traffic..sounds that summated to a symphony of insignificance.

I heard my flatmate speaking on the phone. However her voice was distorted by the walls between us and submerged in the deep waters of my relaxed state of consciousness. I understood that she was commenting on the drabness of Adana and our apartment. Several moments later I opened my eyes, sat up, looked at the floor, and thought about how the apartment wasn’t really that bad. It was not unlike any of the old places I lived in the past that were provided by the school where I taught in Turkey. It simply looked like a free flat, and far from the Amityville that my flatmate lamented about inhabiting.

Adana is not a bad place. Most people are quite kind, the cost of living is low, and life is relaxed. However it has admittedly taken much adjusting to accept that this city is not bustling, cosmopolitan, and magical Istanbul.

In addition to the city, I have had to acclimate myself to teaching children. Attempting to maintain the attention of children is often like standing in a room where gravity has started to leak out. Suddenly the objects in the room and the furniture begin to float up one at a time, as if in the beginning only a few objects have figured out that they are freed of the earth's pull. Slowly the others figure it out and they too follow until all are out of reach and in a preferred state of chaos.

After much suffering I decided to stop trying to anchor everything down. Rather than laboring to secure what will inevitably fall upward into entropy, I must let everything happen. Until I surrendered to the restless nature of children I ended each day frustrated. As with my impression of Adana, I had been getting upset because I held firmly to a mental image of the way things should be, and continuously reminded myself of their dissimilarity to the way things were.

I am learning to think and act based upon exactly what is before me and not more or less.

I recently bought an awful bottle of wine. Its price first warned me of its dubious quality. But I hadn’t known it was unpalatable until I poured it into the glass. I observed its rusty hue and nearly felt the headache I would feel the next day if I drank it. The Turkish have a term for this very low quality wine, ‘dog killer.’ But rather than pouring this dog killer down the drain I spontaneously decided to try it in my favorite recipe for Italian red wine cookies. I reasoned that I had nothing to lose.

They came out fantastic.

You could say that every moment I live here I am making shoddy wine into sweet biscuits. It is not an easy thing to do. But for now the labor seems minimal compared to the appreciation generated for my daily experiences.

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