Istanbul never sleeps, neither did I

Istanbul never sleeps, neither did I

I surrendered to sleep as the night was falling, but my demons didn’t let me. One of them took the shape of the housecat, named Odin, twisting and twirling on my bed. The other took the shape of some random tipsy guy from the neighborhood, singing at the top of his lungs, the third demon was the raindrop on the rooftop…

The alarm was ruthless and knew no mercy. While I was riding the Arel bus, with a Yaşar Kemal book in my hand, using my istanbulkart as a bookmarker, listening to Dudak from Edis on Süper FM, while I was protecting myself from the cold weather with a scarf arranged like a başörtüsü… only a Beşiktaş scarf was missing around my neck to be mistaken for a true local patriot.  So this made me think how Turkish I am on a scale from 1 to 10? Do I fit in? Is it necessary to fit in at all?

All of a sudden a flashback crossed my mind. Long time ago, as a young girl, I was walking down the streets of Hong Kong. I was about 20, and never felt so much in a minority. I have been walking already for 3 hours, and I haven’t met any European guy, just Chinese. Even an Afro-American would have made me happy. Approximately 10 years ago I was pursuing my happiness in Wollongong, in Australia. Winds were blowing so strong that I ended up there.  Fast forward: I’m in Morocco, waiting for the Beduins to set the camp in the desert. My skin lights as a light bulb in the starry night. Such memories were like rain for my deserted soul. First, it feels as good as sitting in the back of a bus on a humpy road, later as good as it gets.

My parents gave me the name Anna, because they wanted to make my life easy, in case if I visit a foreign country or two, so the people can pronounce and remember my name with ease. Some decades later, with 70+ countries under my belt, I am pretty much thankful for this.

If I do not belong anywhere, does it mean I belong everywhere? It was a matter of choice, as I realized it later on. Like when you decide each morning if you are happy or not. I do not like to put conditions for my happiness. It is an agreement between me, myself and I. I would not even call it a journey as people do.

The voice of the security guy at the subway shooke me up.

-I beg your pardon, but take the first one on your right.- he said with the perfect Oxford accent. I even didn’t realize that I asked him for directions. I was bored out of my brains. Somebody finally speaks English- I noted to myself.

Istanbul’s public transport is God’s way to prove that hell exists. This is the most intimate relation you can get with unknown people in a second, wanted or not. No flowers, dinners in expensive restaurants and cinema needed. Though I still prefer if I am the one who chooses. Later that day I was chosen, but I didn’t see it coming.

As I was wondering when was the last time I did something for the first time, I sent him a message on a social network, with some overrated and mainstream line, saying how much I would love to meet him in person. I did not expect him to reply, I was sure his assistant manages his inbox and the maximum reply I might hope for is a very nicely wrapped NO with a ribbon on it. I haven’t checked my phone for hours, that much I was confident about the outcome. He proved me wrong. I sought a peek into my inbox and I dropped my jaw and phone. It was him, saying: “Hey Anna, thank you for your kind words…Wait for me at the backstage after the show.” I read it twice. Then 3 times. Then over and over again. I was sure it’s just an illusion.

As soon as I figured out that I will be backstaged for real, it wasn’t the reckless and restless me anymore. But my demons recompensated me. It was the most magical and unbelievable night ever.

Anna Knézi-Ződi / Volunteer at Istanbul Arel University Youth Center

Istanbul Arel Üniversitesi - Gençlik Çalışmaları Merkezi

About Author

Istanbul Arel University provides support to young and adult people’s education process since 2010. We aim to update standards in line with the developing world and constantly follow the changes in the world.

Within the Erasmus+ Programme o

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