And today, (well Sunday was, since I am posting this after the fact) is definitely more bitter than sweet. As I have shared before, I dislike goodbyes. I would use a stronger word but I do tell the Things that “hate” is a powerful word, however accurate. This Sunday in May the six of us have said our farewells to the place that has been our home for the past year. It sounds strange to say that this place that I struggled to adapt to has become so cherished a place.
As I sat next to Husband Jared on our drive to the airport I couldn’t help but want to engrain in my memory the route we were on. The scenery, the way the sea looks one color on your way in to the city and another on your way home. All the colors that paint the hillside lining the motorway, the Turkish road signs that I still don’t understand. Ships coming into port and leaving, ferry boats going to and fro and the way cars navigate the roads. I have driven to the airport countless times while living here and today, this time it was strangely different.
I have known this day was coming. Change is inevitable. I anticipated holding it together. Not crying, just being full with gratitude and laughter; nervous laughter that comes when you are attempting to hide your emotions. Today I was not successful.
We spent our last evening in Urla with our friends. The entire day was capped with goodbyes, last times and conversations that were for all intent and purpose trying to postpone what we all knew would be happening today. Last night was wonderful, well despite United’s lost to Barcelona, we chose to celebrate regardless. We stayed late into the night on the terrace, watching the rain, then looking at stars and still sharing stories of life here in this country. Our friends treated us to a barbeque, and dually noted, Husband Jared did grill for the first time since his encounter with fire last summer. We were so proud. You see, it’s somewhat of a tradition for the “guest” to grill when you are at these particular friends’ home. Husband Jared did not want to disappoint so he did his best. His best was definitely good enough, we had a feast. The Things and friends swam, watched films, taunted one another throughout the match and then had a sleepover. At the end of the night after Things had been tucked in, goodbyes with new friends said and the dishes done we fell asleep listening to the sound of the waves. What a life.
This morning was greeted with sunshine and a view that would take your breath away; Lapping white caps, small and unthreatening, and white sails littering the Aegean Sea while seagulls dive into the blue. Wow. And then super omelets made with chef like expertise by our friend and a kahvalti at the Reynolds café. Again, wow.
For me I had been dreading what I knew was to come after all of this. Good-byes. Hugs. Tears. Things trying to stuff friends in our luggage and Mom friends whom I didn’t want to let go of. We have grown close to these families. They have been our home away from home. The holidays have been together and now we begin a new chapter in our lives. One family is preparing for big changes as well, another International move and the other will continue on in Urla. For me, though, this last year has been a treasure store of memories. Learning to let people in and lower the guard. Children that have knocked on my door, that have played games with us, seen us dance silly, watched us play cards and shared their sweet lives. Whether it was what they learned in school that day or what was eaten for dinner the night before it is their precious voices that I will miss. The way they opened the cupboards and refrigerator as if they were in their own home. Or came in and hugged me and then asked, “pretty please with a cherry on top, rice in the middle and mustard” if they could stay together for just a bit longer.
They may have the key. Soaking it all in and squeezing the life out of it. In that moment, present and full. What a lesson they have taught me. Thank you friends.