Good news go first
There always should be a room for celebration
Hello, my dearest reader,
there is no way for me to start this dispatch with anything but news that our applications for Turkish residence permit were accepted and approved. Lukas’ plastic card already arrived in shockingly short time. Mine is on the way (our postman is on vacation now and post office doesn’t work, hopefully I will get my card next week). Even if the family reunions was announced as a legit reason for approval, but still there were so many rejections in general, that amount of my fear and anxiety was so damn high by the day of the application.
But everything went well, now I know more about the dread all immigrants face while going through the process of obtaining a needed set of documents. Once again I cannot stop thinking about how hard it is to actually step out of one’s head and body and imagine experience of others. And how important it is to practice this art of empathy. I find it very hard to walk a thin line of doing empathy without drowning, but also without this smug feeling that I get what other person should “just do”. But practice makes a master, right?
Also an announcement: we are safe and fine after the earthquakes that happened in Turkey and Syria recently, luckily for us (but not for too many people), the epicentre of it was a 1000 km from us and our province was not touched. The whole region experiencing aftershocks now, but we don’t feel them. My heart goes to all the people who lost too much because of that catastrophe.
I have something special for you today. As a thank you gift or sorts and celebration of life in all its forms. It is a recording I made a few days ago after the rain just before twilight. I went to the kitchen to fetch me some tea and eve through the door I heard birds singing like crazy. I quickly grabbed a tripod with a recorder and went out. Magically after I hit a record button, a sound of azan added up to the birds, droplets of water and murmur of the village. This is how my village sound.
Today is Sunday and I sit on the folded chair on the beach. I told myself that if we have a residency approved, I will buy us a set of those classic camp folding chairs. People here use it all the time for tea drinking on the beach or wherever. I smell the sea water and hear the sound of small waves crashing the shore. It feels completely surreal. I know that technically it is pretty chill, but the sun warms up my face while my ass feels the coolness coming from the pebbles. Sea is so inviting now, even though I know that it is probably too cold to swim now. But also I know that people swim in colder waters and it is okay. I didn’t swim for more then a week. It was a storm, then it was windy, then the sea was too dirty after the storm, then I was busy, then I had a period. I miss swimming, I even took a swimsuit with me. Will I dare to swim? I am not sure. There is no one on the beach except a couple of moms with 3 kiddos. But I am shy to swim.
“You can be in a place for years a years and not see something, and then when it dawns, all sorts of nuggets of richness start popping all over the place. You’ve gotten below the obvious” — Andrew Wyeth
I spotted this quote at Margaux Kent stories (btw I recommend her Substack)
And it somehow went straight into my heart. It goes against stroboscopic speed of modern life. But it makes so much sense. I miss all the nuggets and little things of my old life in Moscow near my forest. I miss certain trees, I miss a couple of ravens that I spotted often, I miss this feeling of knowing where jay nest and woodpecker hollow are.
Slowly I started collecting such places here. They are also very valuable for me, but obviously now the same. I am very happy that over the years I became a bit skilled in reflection, in seeing little things, in finding happy spots amidst pools of anxiety. It is very helpful and handy in these times of uncertainty and big choices and in this endless stay in the liminal space.
So this quote from Andrew Wyeth brings so much value to me. It makes me see why I am not bored in this small village, while I know that some people who moved here feel this way. I don’t try to compare myself with them here. What I do is that I validate for myself this time I spent on moody books, memoirs, sketching, journaling etc. I learnt to stay quiet in the moment and observe.
Even though it doesn’t mean that I am all saint here with non existent screen time. Far from that, haha. But I work on that, ok? I am reading more then one book now and feel very much excited. I really want to read more and learn more and watch more not only this year, but generally as my life value. And to spend less time on the news and social media outlets.
And again I am not saying that I want to stop reading any news and became social media hermit completely. Far from that, I do believe that it is important and sometimes crucial to know what’s going on in the world. Because it easily can influence my life. But I want to build this habit of not being glued to the news and social media.
And to get there I try to be out as much as I can. I am not sure if you know, but I also have a YouTube channel, it went dormant for almost a year because it did not feel appropriate. I am searching for my voice again now and documenting both my everyday and creative journeys. The first video I published after hiatus was this one. If you consider watching and subscribing, I will appreciate it a lot.
Moms and kids are gone now. I may at least try to wet my feet in the sea. Not sure about complete swimming. Nah, I am a chicken today. No swimming. Just walked the shore a bit with bare feet.
What about cultural delicacies?
Books: Reading Free by Lea Ypi, a memoir about her growing up on the verge of communism collapsing in Albania. First of all, I feel very seen while reading her, even if I grew up in Russia, not Albania. But I also remember the time of deficit when the first chewing gums appeared or how my dad brought me acid green backpack from his work trips to Europe. Also it is very interesting to know more about Albania, a country which was ruled by the Ottomans for quite a while, also a country which was Muslim before communism. I was always interested in culture and history, but this sudden moving to Turkey showed me how little I do now. And I want to know more, because world if devilishly complicated and multidimensional.
Movies: Watching Harry Potter with my son for the first time. We watched the extended version of Chamber of Secrets last week. I realized that it is the least watched HP movie for me. Surprisingly I found out that the movie feels deeper with those added scenes. It is interesting coincidence that Lukas started to discover this world right at the moment of the Hogwarts legacy release and there is a lot of the talk about the HP-verse. I am very much aware of the flaws the books and movies have. But they don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of reading, right? I know that there are certain controversies going on with public opinions of JKR. But I constantly ask myself - should it be a reason to not let my son into the wizarding world? For now I come up with the decision that it should not. Maybe I am wrong, I don’t know, but I try to be honest here. We also read a book, the second one, I didn’t re-read it for years. Very interesting experience now.
Videos: I recently watched another Kelsey Rodriguez video and had a certain aha moment (all her videos are very deep, but this one was just perfect combination of what and when). I will link it here. She talked about how she does her planning. You may say - no, Vera, not again, not this planning talk. But it was different this time, let me explain. She argued that it makes sense to build this planning process not only from my goals and desires, but also from my constraints. And constraints here are both my mandatory tasks and non-negotiables but also my current options with open time slots to do anything from my creative goals. I will talk about it more in some other dispatch, as this is my main focus now - building up routines and life flow here in the village after we completed the quest of obtaining a residency. I tend to ignore my constraints and try to set my goals from scratch, but then I feel bitter when I cannot meet my goal because it was not right to set this goal in the first place. So maybe if you find it hard to set up your planning system, this video will give you some food for thought.
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