Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Pause in Ankara: Spring Montage

Once in awhile, I do have to stick around Ankara on a weekend. But I think the fact that I travel so much helps me appreciate the city that everyone likes to bitch about. Whenever I meet a Turk for the first time, s/he always apologetically asks, "Do you like Ankara? It's so boring." But I've come from a town of 10,000 people, so this city is overstimulating my innate desire to do and join everything. For instance:

The International Film Festival was just in town. This is Dale (my teaching partner and friend) and I having lunch in Tunali before seeing a show.

And this is the man who made my lunch.

We saw two films, one Braziliam film, "Aspirin, Vultures, and Sinema" and one American B film starring William Defoe called, "The Dust of Time." The theatre reminded of the the little indie theatre I used to go to in Virginia, my freshman year. Now all we have in the U.S. are processed stadium theatre experiences. The Brazilian film was in Portugese with both English and Turkish subtitles. How cool. I read the Turkish subtitles, of course. (Actually it's a great Turkish lesson for me to do that.)

I have also been obsessing with tango lessons this winter and spring. A friend of mine from Cinderella (the pantomime play) introduced me to the studio where he takes lessons, and the next thing I know, I belong to two different tango studios to give me options and accomodate my busy schedule. I am in love with tango! My good friend, Sara, recently sent me a yoga magazine, and in it I found an article about how yoga and tango compliment each other and it spoke my mind. When I first started, I felt my yoga and climbing self say "Hell ya!" right away. The surrender of the ego (the man leads), the breathing and staying in the present (I have to sense the male's messages and match his so that it looks like we are moving in perfect unison), and the posture and balance required of tango are also the core of climbing and yoga.

Also, it's a fun little community I've become a part of. I am the only yabanci (foreigner) at either studio, and the language barrier both makes me (and my poor partners) laugh and helps me to just concentrate on reading my partners' body language. I do have a few partners that speak a little English, but the lack of finesse in fluency results in hilarious comments like, "Don't talk. Just do it," and "When I open my sugar, you come to me." (I think he meant "shoulder"??) And one guy found out I know a little Spanish, so he talks to me in Spanish, but really at this point, my Turkish is much better, so I respond in Turkish. Goofy.

The tango community at Angora Dance Studio has fully embraced me, and I attend both a class and a practice night there each week. These are pics of the studio. The classes are in the well-lit room, and the practice nights (when all level students come to dance) take place in this beautiful space, complete with bar.

Just like spring in Montana, I like to venture out every day to watch the earth slowly come alive with color. The hills by our campus call to me every day. I am infinitely grateful for this little piece of vastness nearby. Instant escape.

The other weekend, on one of the first sunny warm spring days, some of my girl friends and I ventured off to Ulus, to the oldest hamam in town, Karacabey (dating from 1445) to have our Winter dead skin cells removed, and catch a little lunch on a bluebird day. Doesn't our skin look so clean and ready for its summer tan?

And as I write this, my friend, Christy, is in a plane somewhere over the Atlantic, traveling to Turkey to join me for my spring break. Next weekend, we will hit the road for a one week trip through Cappadoccia (can't get enough), Sanliurfa, Nemrut Dag, and Mardin. I've been looking forward to seeing southeastern Turkey since I got here. Stay tuned!

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