Sunday, September 11, 2011

Defining Moments

If I could have taken a picture

I have a problem with remembering to take pictures. As you probably noticed, there are no pictures on this blog, and while I have some pictures on facebook, it was simply luck and excessive free time in the morning that allowed them to be there.  The problem is, the moments I take pictures of never seem to be the moment I really want to remember. As soon as I pull my camera out, poses are made, smiles are plastered on faces, and the "real" moment is over.  The moments that have defined my exchange so far are not moments I really could have taken pictures of, even if I had my camera with me. So, since none of you get to see pictures of my exchange, I will describe the moments I would have taken pictures of if I could have.

The first "defining" moment of my exchange was on the car ride from the airport to the bus station. If I had taken a picture, it would highlight the sweat beading on my forehead. The car was hot enough on its own, but I was feeling too uncomfortable to take off either the sweater nor the blazer I was wearing.  In this picture, you would see that I was the only one in the car wearing my seatbelt, and you would also  see my rotex counselor offering me a cigarette. On my face there would probably be a mixture of horror and shock from watching the two rules most ingraned into my consciousness being broken within my first hour of being in Turkey. This moment is defining because it would have been my last in Turkey had I known  enough Turkish to demand my immediate return home.

The next moment I would have liked to take a picture of happened at the mall with Vahide in my first few days in Turkey.  Now,  to understand this story you have to know that when two Turkish people meet, there is an inevitable European-style kiss on both cheeks, which can range from actual kisses to a sort of forhead bump possibly accompanied by kissing noises.  I had succesfully made it through several of these greetings purely by the grace of God, but, I wasn't to be so succesful this time around.

There were three people I was meeting, The first two  I managed to kiss succesfully.  I silently congratulated myself as I reached for kiss number three and -- went for the wrong cheeck! If I had my camera, the picture would be taken as we looked at each other, our hands still in "greeting kiss" position, and my mouth open as I explained that my inability to kiss her wasn't personal. You would see on her face a mix of confusion (why is this girl talking to me in English? I don't know English!) and disgust (She must hate me! I am the only one she won't kiss!).

Just for the record, this album would also have to include the oly other time I managed to botch the greeting kiss. This picture would be taken just outside the door of my apartment as I, again, go for the wrong cheeck, this time with my host mom. In the picture you would see that Esra  (the girl I messed up the kiss with the first time) also got to witness failed attempt number two. On Esra's face you would see forgiveness (Oh she really is just a stupid American! She doesn't hate me!) and possibly some sympathy (That's kinda cute!)

Although I don't think a picture could explain this properly, I would like to say that Esra and I are pretty good friends now, (It's amazing, really since we can't even speak to each other) and since that day I never again went for the wrong cheeck.

It would be nice to have pictures of these moments to look back on, but, unfortunately the logistics of catching them on film are too dificult. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but for now, I hope these few words suffice in defining the moment.

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