I was in Paris to interview an employee who worked in Shakespeare and Company for my journalism project a few months ago. I felt like an actual journalist, sipping on some black coffee talking about Whitman and Led Zeppelin on a rainy day in the Bastille square, listening to the wonderful anecdotes that I was being told. I remember thinking that I was in a period of my life that I had always dreamt of being in: I was living alone, traveling however I wished, was in a healthy relationship, and felt independent. When I was returning back to Lille, -where I have been studying for almost a year now- it was a cold and rainy night. It is one of the nights that I remember the most vividly to this day.
I had just gotten into James Blake's recent album "Assume Form" or maybe I had gotten into it during my bus ride, I still can't quite tell. As I was listening to him sing "Have you ever coexisted so easily?" I realized that I had been coexisting easily with my boyfriend when we were together indeed. Assume Form wasn't James Blake's most successful album but it resonated with me perfectly since he was talking about the high of being in love. I always linked that album with my boyfriend even though I hadn't told him that. It was very early in the relationship so everything seemed exciting and brand new. The idea of going back to Lille, the second home that I created for myself with him in it seemed overwhelmingly weird that specific night. I had been experiencing a love that wasn't unhealthy or obsessive for the first time. I cried quite a lot on that ride back home.
I always have big introspections and acknowledgments during bus rides. Arriving from one place to another with different people, -or no one- expecting you always seemed poetic to me. Everything starts with a bus ride: It can take you to your destined airport separating you from your loved ones. It can take you to your destined airport bringing you one step closer with your loved ones. The last bus ride I had did both.
I had to fly back to Istanbul, to my home to spend these times of uncertainty with my parents in the comfort of being in my own country. It was something that I had to feel grateful about: All of the flights were canceled and I was one of the lucky ones to be flying back to Turkey with a specially arranged consulate flight. Before putting the thought into returning back, I hadn't realized how sentimental I was towards my 22 square meter student apartment. France wasn't my home but Turkey didn't feel like home this time either. I didn't listen to James Blake. I listened to Lille by Voyou where he starts the song by saying "Lille I'm leaving you." I cried a lot on that ride back home.
Coming back from Istanbul this Christmas wasn't that easy too. I only had two weeks to catch up with all my friends and family. I wanted to see everybody that I missed, maybe even some who weren't that close to me but had an impact on me somehow. However that wasn't possible, I had too many people too see and too little time to do so. Eventually, it stressed me so much to a point where I didn't enjoy making plans with my friends. I would constantly think of the other people that I couldn't find the time to see asking myself if they would be offended. If I saw them wouldn't my best friends be offended this time given the fact that I was only in Istanbul for numbered days? I rarely think of what I want anyway.
Having two different lives split in half between the borders of two countries is not something that anyone could understand unless they have experienced it. It's exotic and eye-opening indeed but it's also the constant clash of culture, little quirks of personality traits that you can solely show in your own mother tongue that goes missing, the sense of not belonging, and the sense of being a passing-by-visitor. "I'M NOT A VISITOR IN THIS COUNTRY!" I would shout into existence and ordered a wrong sandwich the next day because I didn't know what a "poulet piquant" was. "I'M NOT A VISITOR IN THIS COUNTRY!!!!!" I would shout into existence, trying my luck with Turkey this time. I would learn a relative's death the next day while I wasn't there, not even being able to attend to a funeral.
I relate to Frances Ha a lot when she says that she has trouble leaving places and who can blame me when you never know if it'll stay the same the next time you come back?