With my bi-coastal living and tendency to change locations frequently and make dramatic decisions like backpacking for four months, I successfully create opportunities for movie-worthy emotional airport reunions. The latest, with one of the loves of my life, Andrea.
I burst through the sliding customs door and saw her. Shrieked. Ran toward her (and the glass partition that would continue to separate us). Moved in an awkward slow-motion run along the partition looking sideways at her and seeing that she’s in tears already. Laughing as we hug. “I did this wrong!! I should have been taping! There should have been a sign for you!”
My new friend Malia laughs at us. We’d met on the plane- she’s working for room and board for a family in Turkey after just doing the same for three months in Spain, through workaway.info. She recently broke up with her boyfriend of three years because three years ago she told him of her intentions to do this and he thought she was all talk. Whoops. Anyway, Malia and I will travel together soon (“I looked back at you on the plane and you’re just sitting there grinning. I thought, ‘this girl is cool.'” I’m such a weirdo sometimes).
Andrea and I had an epic reunion and took the forty-five minute back to the Stray Cat Hostel. My plane had landed at “Istanbul’s second airport,” on the asian continent. Did I mention she’d sent her day going to the airport and waiting to pick me up? What a pal. We grabbed kabobs at Bambi Cafe in Taksim Square and walked the ten minute steep decline down to our place.
The Stray Cat Hostel. There are kittens in the common room. I shared my breakfast spot with an orange tabby cat this morning. In our honeymoon suite, Andrea and I have a double bed, and our own bathroom. Outside at night, a bar nearby plays “Moves Like Jagger” often.
I was last in Istanbul in July 2009. I remembered it being frantic, intimidating, in your face. People always yelling at you, downright emotionally exhausting. Reading my SAS blogs from back then, I often realize I’ve forgotten so many stories, that I worried I hadn’t absorbed anything in my previous fast-paced trip abroad.
Not the case at all. I find myself remembering streets, restaurants, where the visitors entrance is to places, hills to avoid, what is near where, etc. And it makes me relieved, because I traveled well, not just as a tourist, but an observer. That is, after all, the most important goal this time around.