When I reviewed my previous posts I remembered that I promised to update my blog with romantic autumn pics from Vilnius. And I realised that I see a white beautiful snowy winter from my window near Neris. However, as I guessed, autumn was like reading a beautiful story in Vilno. It was yellow, red, dark and light. All in once. That’s why I am sharing these photos.
Once I was sitting in a hotel’s lobby in Addis Ababa. A woman and a man is sitting next to me. I am trying to focus on my book but overhearing their conversation as well since our chairs are almost side by side.
It is a job interview, girl wants the job. She seems like a smart one. But she shares two common problems of the smart women: She is not beautiful and she talks too much (‘How do I know?’). People can generally stand gibbering beautiful woman but vice versa is rare. Whatever interesting topics that you bring up does not matter. You should keep it short when trying to show how smart and determined you are.
Yep! I just heard that she said “Even my ex boyfriend broke up with me saying: You are too much for me!” Bingo! I am right she is unnecessarily talking too much in a job interview which I definitely should not do tomorrow.
I have my first job interview tomorrow for a teaching position at university. That just reminded me of this funny conversation. Wish me luck!
97 people maybe more died yesterday in Ankara, Turkey. Hundreds wounded.
Sometimes words are so simple.
Especially in times of pain.
It was a peace rally organised by numerous organisations mainly composed of young people.
When they were singing and dancing two bombings followed. Witnesses tell that some bodies collapsed on top of each other armouring others against the blast’s tremendous effect. That’s how they survived.
I could not look at the pictures. I never do after such incidents.
But I know the place -near Ankara Train Station -very well. When I was living in Ankara I used to go there every month to get into train to visit my family in my neighbouring hometown. Last time, one month ago, I was there with my friends dropping me to the train. Now the sweet memory of getting into train ruined with collapsing young bodies on top of each other protecting the survivors.
Have we died? Is this the hell?
That is not a dream of my country that I visioned when I was growing up.
That is not the country that our politicians promised us for the 21st century.
Everybody says they are not responsible.
So why do I taste blood in my mouth? Why do I feel guilty?
Have you seen The Peace?
I see The Peace in the middle of blood shed.
He is trying to get up pushing dead bodies aside.
Sitting in the full blood.
Looking at his hands of blood colour. He seems that he lost his mind.
Doctors say Peace will survive but he won’t be same again. He may not recover from this trauma he had yesterday.
I think I felt the most sinful day of my life loosing my hope.
After 6 long long years in Ph.D. (which felt like half of my life) yes, I finally got my Ph.D. degree! Happy thing is that it finally finishes at some point. People get their Ph.D.’s . It is hard, time and life consuming but it does end.
I felt like my favourite animation character Megamind for a minute after my professors declared that I am a Ph.D. 🙂
Then I realised that I am the same person who was trembling to defend it before a thesis committee just 24 hours ago. So I started to feel pretty much the same.
Now I also moved into a new country Lithuania.
My first impressions, comments on life style and people in Lithuania is coming soon.
Now I just try to enjoy my coffee and appreciate being a Ph.D. which I awaited for long.
Moving from one country to another in every 3 years sounds fun is not it?
It is indeed! Especially if it is a country that you have never been and wonder about how life would be there.
We are moving to Lithuania in 3 weeks. I already know it is a small and cold country but still it is a nice little European city.
I have already started imagining myself walking in the streets or riding my bicycle or dropping by a street coffee shop to read. Awww! After Ethiopia it will be quite different. I hope it will be different for good.
Life Back in Ethiopia
When I look back my 3 years in Ethiopia, I was mostly happy. I am saying mostly because I had gone through health issues when I was here. However, I think I got the most out of my stay in Ethiopia. I made excellent friends here, they supported me a lot. I joined different activities of sports, acting, yoga, wood-cut printing that I had never had enough time before.
I was lucky as a sociologist to live in such a distinct culture and enjoy its differences for years.
Slowing down for 3 years also made me change my perspective towards life a lot.
First, I was working heavily as a researcher in a think-tank organisation back in Turkey. I was called an “expert,” I had a network, time to time my opinion pieces were appearing in media. Now it is like a distant memory but I was commenting on social issues in media channels time to time. I was considered “important” to some extent in my expertise. Now it is a joke among us and our friends that “Oh could you analyse this topic for us since you were an expert!” 🙂
When I arrived here, I became a PhD student – housewife. That was quite a change for me. Since when you are working, you think that if you leave the job noone can fill your place and you took your job so serious that as if you are saving the world. Noone can do it as you do blah blah blah…
First Phase: Joy of being the new in town and free of work!
First month was ok because I was amazed being in such a different country. I enrolled in a language class. I joined an informal acting class formed by amazing ladies. I started to gym which was quite cheaper than Turkey and I enjoyed my coffee over a book in Kaldis coffee shop.
But after some time, I started to feel useless since I did not have a “proper” job and did not make any money out of my social activities.
Second Phase: I hate this place and I hate myself
In my first month, I also decided to start my research on my thesis. Then I realised that the life (research life) was not that easy here. None of my designated contacts wanted to talk to me on my research topic on migration and refugee issues since it was a painful topic here. I was not let in Addis Ababa University Library and I did not have a proper internet connection at home. My optimistic idealism started to replace with questioning my life: What I am doing here? I lost all my career opportunities. Is it even possible to write a dissertation without internet anymore?
That’s when I decided to look for something else: Purpose.
Third Phase: Learning to walk again and Acceptance!
When I look back I define this period of my life as “eppur
si muove” phase. Translation: Still it moves.
Since life is still going on try to adopt yourself to it or perish in depression. I chose the second option.
As Elif Shafak stated once in her novel Araf, in a totally new place, hardest is to learn the simple things in everyday life. How people walk in streets, how they drink coffee, where to buy best for cheapest, where to eat and drink and so on. You fool yourself continuously that with every failure you feel more disappointed and feel ready to quit and go back to hiding yourself at home.
In that phase, first, instead of cursing the unexpected things going around, I started to accept them as they are. Accept that you will not have proper internet connection. Accept that there is not much transportation except pricy taxies. Accept that you should not walk in streets late even day time it can be hard because of missing side walks. Accept that you will have a tight budget in coming 3 years. So on so forth…
Do not try to adopt everything to your old life, try to adopt yourself to your new one.
Interesting but true, when I stopped bothering myself with negativity, life started to approach me more kindly. When I stopped fighting with it, I realised it quit slapping me in the face.
Fourth Phase: Changing Perspective
I realised that I underestimated jobless life a lot. It was my backwardness complex that I could not imagine myself without a job. I always overvalued my position. As is always thought, I was a modern educated woman who is supposedly work and contribute to society. And measure of success was either career or money.
Having thought like this, when I first quit my job to join my husband for Ethiopia, I thought I was sacrificing my career for family. However, I refused to accept that it was my choice. Nobody forced me to do it. I simply preferred this life.
I should tell, I found a lot more in simplicity then my life with a job.
I have many friends they think they are unfulfilled and less happy although they have definitely everything: a job, a fancy house, a car, kids etc. I think it is not about how much we have but how much we value the things we have, people who love us and life that awaits little appreciation.
Now, when I look back, my anxieties and problems at work seem so silly. I feel like I was so childish to bother myself with negativity around me.
Fifth Phase: Appreciation
Final phase is appreciation. It is not just to gain but also to things that we lost. Appreciating the completeness in life. Appreciating the love, loss, fear, patience…
I know not all of us lucky to be born beautiful, smart, fertile, rich. But still we can make a room to things /people /love that we have instead of longing for ones that we have never had or never will.
I do not say that my life is perfect but I can dare to say my perspective is.
You can rescan yourself to test if you have the perspective that you need or not easily:
-Ask yourself these questions:
Is it easy or /hard to get up everyday?
Can I bear hearing myself when I am alone without outside noises?
What does my voice tell me when I speak to myself?
I think you might know the answer now.
I appreciate your comments. And let’s discuss for better options 🙂
I have seen the movie first and became a fan of it. I have seen it couple of times before I read the book.
Couple of days ago I have read a review that said that the movie was great but the book is greater. I started reading the book. It is beautifully written and fast moving. It totally syncs with the movie as far as I remember the script.
Another significant feature of the book is –apart from extra info on home making explosives- that it is like reading a psychologically ill mind. Where do I know it? Yep like most of us I feel sometimes that thoughts are flowing through my mind that are impossible to follow. And bingo: I am a Pisces. Nobody knows except Pisces how far their imaginations or “ill mindedness” can go. For live instances check modern day politicians who were born into same horoscope! When I was fascinated by this thought flows technique of the book I checked Palahnuik on Wikipedia. Bingo: He was born the same day with me! A Pisces, an ill mind with extensive imagination or just another creative author.
I have been reading a lot of sci-fi books lately to escape from my hectic reality. Good news: I have finished writing up my dissertation. Last pace is of course a bit more tight and more stressful than the last 6 years. OMG who would believe that I would spend my best years in such a nerd thing. I was such a nerd already then forget about “Oh who would have believe that?” part.
To rip it up I definitely suggest the book to movie fans! Or people who like to be surprised and wants to have a glimpse of mind flow technique in writing.
How good it is to migrate every day! How beautiful it is to stop somewhere every day! How nice it is to flow without freezing and getting muddy! What word that belongs to yesterday, Is gone, my loved one, with yesterday, Now is the time to say new things.
Jalal ud-din Rumi
In time, we forgot about happiness of first moments of relationships, of new starts, of choices. In time we focus on the end, the reward and outcome. Instead of the mindful movement of the beginning, we direct our gaze to end. We get easily trapped by the thought that “we should finish’’ “we should be successful” “we should have a promotion, or degree” just to be happy again.
This occurred to me when I was just thinking about my PhD adventure. I have been in my program around 5 years now. In time, I totally forgot about why I chose to pursue a PhD, why I chose my topic, why I decided to be in academia. Only thing prevailed in my mind is my obsession with finishing it whatever it takes. Last couple of days, I just sat back, and tried to untie myself from my exhaustion with my research. I tried to remember the time (which was even before I started to university) when I made my decision to pursue an academic career. And I also tried to remember that I chose a life as a researcher just for the joy of researching, creative epiphany movements in writing, and joy of sharing experience and knowledge with people around me. Not for money, not for a big career, or fancy toys…
I also remembered that as a lifelong nomad, I wanted to be in that present movement (in a distinct part of the world) reading my books, researching on different topics, and being able to travel. That made me realize our modern world does not accept us successful unless we reach to a strong position in a big university, or we reach the best funding, or we finish what we are working on quickly to jump into another thing. The system tries to inflict its obsession with success, time and ends on us.
That is why I just prefer to remember how I loved the process, how I loved being on the way instead of reaching the end of story.
The picture is like a scene from Agatha Christie’s Monsieur Pairot. Yes, it is French and British, and no it is not in Europe but in Ethiopia.
It was like a visual picture of a short colonial history in Ethiopia. Ethiopia only had been an Italian colony between 1936-1941. However, the Ethiopian crown had partied with Stalin’s Russia and Queen’s England to get rid of age’s Fascist Italy. After Italian’s presence there had been times that the country felt differing power conflicts between French, British and Americans on the region.
The modernisation period mostly known as starting with Emperor Menelik II (1889-1913) and continuing with Emperor Haile Selassie (1913-1974) with a break of Italian occupation between (1936-1941).
When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. He was deposed in 1916 by the Christian nobility, and Menelik’s daughter, Zauditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen, was made regent and successor to the throne.
Upon the death of Empress Zauditu in 1930, Ras Tafari Makonnen, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia. His full title was “His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God.” (from Wikipedia)
The old railway was built by French Company ….
Menelik granted the first railway concession, from the coast at Djibouti (French Somaliland) to the interior, to a French company in 1894. The railway was completed to Dire Dawa, 28 miles (45 km) from Harrar, by the last day of 1902. (from Wikipedia)
Interesting thing about train station, although Ethiopia had this age’s biggest initiation, now the station is totally deserted. However, all engineers and workers still reside in the area and as we were informed by our guard, all speak fluent French. (I have no idea of French, so special thanks to my friend Figen for simultaneous translation from French to Turkish during our visit. What a luxury! )
They have multiple special luxery wagons that were given as a gift from French and Queen’s England during the reign of Haile Selassie. The following pictures are from these wagons.
The following pictures are from the other parts of the station which is also known as “Old Train Station Addis Ababa”.
I like challenging myself trying new things. So last two weeks challenge was this kick-ass workout called Les Mills Body Combat.
It is true that it is a combination of some martial arts moves plus cardio moves.
First things first, I cannot say I like working out with these people. Seriously, full of muscles, taking what they are doing very seriously “we are gonna change the world, whoooaaaa!!”. Nope! It is not me. I like yoga people, smooth, mindful, caring, silent…. But anyway it is true that you get into the mood after a while.
I find myself kicking, boxing with my imaginary opponent. I try to visualise someone that I hate. But I have been a yoga person since last two years that it is hard to remember if I hated someone before. SO I try to fight with inequality, politics, and poverty, really imaginary pals. Otherwise, you really do not want to mess with people who are doing these kind of workouts. My husband was making fun of my boxing and finally he received a small punch from me and he stopped making fun and said “Wouuw it hurt, you have been really working on this, were not you?”
But it really is a tough work-out which needs patience. However, as they claim you burn a lot of calories, feel like dying from heart attack but finally be proud of yourself after one hour of this kick-ass work out. So I suggest it to friends who likes to try a different work out at home. First week you feel like you were beaten up very badly when you wake up, however, if you continue feeling stronger takes place of this feeling. Worth giving a try!