As I was placing the still hot plates in front of the customers, I listened to their fast paced conversation and their laughter filling up the small homely restaurant. They were four Turkish friends and I soon realized that at that moment, they were all that I wanted to be.
My family rarely took part in the Turkish community. I was taught how to read and write, and with my mother’s strict rules, English was not allowed in the house. That’s how we kept our language “alive”. With the language, came other aspects to our culture. Although we often kept it low-key, we would celebrate all the traditional holidays. It was always just us. My family and I.
Now, as I think of the times I went to Turkey in the past, I am aware that what excites me most about going back to my small coastal hometown, is the people. I rejoice in hearing the cackling of laughter as two neighbours drink their tea on the balcony. Or watching the bright-eyed men and women frantically waving their hands as they call out the prices at the weekly bazaar. With each arrival in Turkey, my heart is filled beyond expression, and I feel as though time has stopped and I have finally come home. Yet, with every arrival, I face a departure. I look back at everyone’s face one last time, trying to remember the small details, despite knowing that I’ll soon forget. I try to convince myself that in some way, we have grown closer this time, but secretly, I’m ashamed to admit that we haven’t. As I disembark from the plane after a long flight, I get hit with the reality of the situation. I am back in Canada, and life goes on as though on a timer, until my next visit back home.
I wish I could find that perfect balance. I wish I could be like those four friends.