To those who fear:

I make dinner. There is a zucchini in the refrigerator from Monday’s farmers market and some rice in the cabinet. I cut the green vegetable into thick half-moons and listen to them sizzle in the oil, sliding over each other in the pan. The rice is boiling. Sporadic bubbles appear and are instantly gone beneath churning currents. I cover the rice and season the zucchini. It’s a warm and sticky Sunday evening, hours before another week. Tomorrow is another day.

There is little in the daily news that inspires hope. Recent personal events make me question the ifs and the whys in life; these two words have burrowed deep within my stomach. I feel the words beginning to rot, yet answers never come. Great trepidation for the future of which I have no control. 

What is this fear that seems to surround me? 

Zika. Terrorism. Death. The future. Family. Security. Money. Cancer. The “other”. Hillary. Muslims. Trump. Western thought. Death. Sickness. Guns. No guns. Climate change. The wrong choice. Betrayal. Loss of sanity. Loneliness. Inadequacy. Loss of love. No love at all. 

The zucchini is done. Using my wooden spoon, I gently flip each slice and check both sides have browned. The rice needs water. I use the electric kettle and add more steaming liquid before replacing the lid. My lunch for the week is nearing completion.

I wish we the inhabitants of the world could hold one another and ask forgiveness for all the things we’ve ever done or said and have yet to do and say. The longer I live in this world, the more I realize how the Many suffer.The Many have been abandoned by their parents, rejected by society or left to function with less than a whole self. The Many go to sleep wrapped in fury at those who have made them feel, in some way, less than. Less than loved. Less than smart. Less than respected. Less than human. 

The zucchini, rice and chickpeas are finished. I split the ingredients into two plastic containers: lunch for Monday and Tuesday. Snap goes the red lid. A mundane task completed for another day. Snap. A sound so complete. Snap. A moment without meaning. 

Snap and death, a thick black period at the end of a thought, a final punctuation on all that has come before. We lament the future that never will be. Now, we cry, when there is so much left unwritten? But the pen has come and accentuated the dot in permanent black ink. We watch it dry on the page and still we tear at the paper trying to erase what is already done. We think we need the story to continue. We weren’t prepared, didn’t have time to close to the book and place it on the shelf. We don’t know how we will go on.

Tonight before bed, I will imagine a bright star in the night sky, high above the street lamps and traffic lights. On this star, I will wish for the next president of the United States to have compassion, grit and superb listening skills. I will wish for all family members who have witnessed profound tragedy and grief to experience temporary freedom and peace. I will wish for a moment of clarity among the Many who feel life is cheap and tainted and unclean. I wish for you, dear reader, and all your precious beautiful moments that lay ahead. They will come again.

Tomorrow is another day.  

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Goodbye Turkey

Dear Turkey,

I’m flying out of Istanbul tomorrow morning. I feel as if we’ve just met and it’s already time to say goodbye. I loved your ocean views in Bodrum and the orange trees in Turgutreis. I walked through your ancient ruins of Ephesus, Aphrodisia, Hierapolis, and Olympus. In your night, I hiked in the darkness to the eternal flame and in your morning, I rose above the earth in a hot air balloon. In your buses, I lost many hours of sleep. I hiked the trails of Cappadocia, learned new games and drank tea. Lots and lots of tea. You gave me the kindest strangers, the warmest homes, and the best breakfasts.

And now with a bulging backpack and a heavy heart, I will take an assortment of candies, spices, medallions and gifts back to my friends and family so they may experience part of your culture, history and love. Thank you.

Until we meet again,

K

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10 Steps: Turkish Breakfast

I have enjoyed Turkish breakfast in a variety of settings. My first taste of this delicious daily tradition was in a pension in Bodrum. From there, I traveled 20km to Turgutreis to stay on an ecofarm where I tasted the most delicious homemade orange jam from the trees in the backyard. My next memorable breakfast was in the apartment of two college student who prepared the usual edibles including sides of “bitter honey” and freshly prepared stove top tomato and pepper chutney. Moving from Denizli to Olympus via Antayla, I once again tasted fresh oranges from trees on the property, this time simply cut into quarters and served. I’m in breakfast heaven.

10 Steps to Preparing a Turkish Breakfast

Every Turkish breakfast included at least one Turkish person who is warm and welcoming, ready to instruct you as to the proper way to begin one’s day. Do not overlook this essential ingredient. However, since not all of us are friends with Turkish people nor have the ability to fly at a moment’s notice to Istanbul, made do with the friends and family that you have readily available. 

Ingredients: orange trees, chickens, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, honey (local), bread/simit, jam (cherry preferably), salt and pepper (for the table), Turkish teapot, small bowls, Turkish teacups, plates etc.

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  1. Prepare the tea*. A day does not begin nor end without this steaming hot beverage. Drink at will. P1050559
  2. Go outside to your orange trees and pick some oranges. Cut oranges in slices for easy consumption or boil with sugar and cloves for a sweet, sticky jam.
  3. Collect the daily eggs from your chickens or sneak across the street to the friendly farmer for some of his/her eggs. Boil water for the hardboiled variety or fry in olive oil and sprinkle with cumin and paprika. IMG_1639
  4. Take an inventory of the cheese recently purchased from the market. Slice fresh feta into squares or triangles depending on your geometric preference.
  5. Wash fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and slice accordingly. 
  6. Slice fresh bread purchased earlier that morning from the bakery. Rip simit** into pieces or leave whole.
  7. Put various condiments into adorable little bowls for easy access.P1050564
  8. Place sliced bread and simit in a basket and set the table.
  9. Fill tea glasses for guests with sugar cubes on hand.
  10. Serve. Enjoy. Repeat daily for maximum smiles. 

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Notes:

*Tea is an essential part of Turkish culture. The most common teapots look like two metal containers stacked together. The bottom pot is filled with water and placed on the stove to boil. The second stacked pot is filled with tea leaves. As the water boils, the top pot steams the concentrated tea. To serve the tea, make a ratio (3:1) of boiling water and concentrated liquid in individual glasses. 

**Simit is a soft breadstick looped into a ring shape and covered with sesame seeds. Found at all cafes and bakeries.