I woke up in my bed at the hotel in Mudanya – it was my birthday. The weather outside looked grey, rainy and miserable. Cycling and camping on my birthday sounded fun. Cycling and camping in the rain and cold on my birthday, however, sounded depressing. While having breakfast I spoke to my dear friend Andrew on the phone, which helped, lifting my spirits.
The day before, I had forgotten my bike pump on the ferry, I was lucky that one of the friendly staff, I had connected with on instagram, had found it. When he arrived at the ferry wharf in Bursa, to hand it back to me, I asked him: ‚when does the ferry go back to Istanbul?‘ At 12, he said.
After I was texting with Ibrahim and my friend Didem, about the thought of returning to Istanbul. Ibrahim added that, Brendan had been looking for me, the day before. Brendan is from America and had met his biological father a few months ago. When I heard this, I was confused, as I had clearly said my farewells to Brendan.
I threw a coin, trying to help my indecisiveness – the coin said, not to go back – Screw the coin, I thought. I had 10 minutes to get to the ferry wharf, buy a ticket and board the ferry.
Back on the ferry I felt like I had lost my mind, simultaneously however, I was thrilled and started making plans with my friend Didem. When I set my foot back on the ground in Istanbul, I knew, I had made the right decision – Istanbul have my birthday.
When I came back to the hostel, people were in disbelief but thrilled. After some birthday wishes I went to the Hamam in Üsküdar, were Didem and me got pampered with sauna, steam bath, rubbing, washing and a massage. After our skin was as soft, as the skin of a baby, we headed back to Kadiköy, where Didem invited me to delicious Turkish food. Afterwards we headed to a cafe, were my dear friend treated me to a slice of a delicious lotus birthday cake.
While wandering through the streets of Kadiköy after our meal, we stumbled across improvised live music in a cafe. The small place was packed with people, drawing, writing/reading poetry and playing music. I had found exactly what I was longing for: an intimate creative little space with traditional music being played. Sipping on mulled wine, listening to the music, I reflected on, what a perfect little birthday it has been in Istanbul.
Later on a crowd from the hostel went to a club, I joined them, for not to long however, as I was certain, now I am ready to leave.
Back at the hostel I saw Brendan, he told me that, after I hugged him goodbye the day before, he had tried to find me, to tell me not to leave, to tell me to not spend my birthday in solitude. However when he arrived at the hostel, I had already taken off. ‘She will come back’, he said to a friend – Even though Brendan was too late to hold me back, the fact that Ibrahim had told me that Brendan was looking for me, helped my decision to come back to Istanbul, it felt like a sign of the universe, maybe a sense of community.
So long – güle güle from Istanbul!