With my suitcase in my hand

Hatice Mert Yunak
5 minutes

Ahmet Haşim says the following in the introduction of his Frankfurt Itinerary and Letters

“Man travels in the hope of escaping for a while from the tastelessness of his life and the tiresome banality of the things he sees around him.”

Change starts little by little when we realize that the routines in our lives have become monotonous and this makes us uncomfortable. Like a white sky gathering snow, our minds are now attracting new thoughts without rest. Before the idea of a trip, we play with the placement of the stones in our hands and come up with completely different variations. A small difference can create a butterfly effect, creating the first link in the chain. The important thing is to take that first step with courage.

Sixteen years ago, the wheels of change started turning when I made the decision to challenge the mediocrity in my life. Getting to know different cultures, living in a new country, learning a new language I never knew, pulled me out of the routines I wanted to get out of.

It was a September morning ready for autumn. I remember setting out on that cool morning when the streets of Üsküdar were just waking up and the seagulls were screaming with enthusiasm after the smell of the sea. As I waited with my suitcase in my hand, Bach was whispering in my ear. It was like we were celebrating together that I was going to his land. But it was a sad celebration hidden in joy. It was an indescribable feeling as if I had experienced all the great separations before. It was the creamy taste of watermelon and cheese on our tongues, or the feeling of suddenly being caught in a fit of meaningless laughter while crying.

In the back seat of the taxi, I was looking at the city I had lived in for years for the last time. My mind was making excuses to console myself to erase the guilt of leaving.

I was going to the land of Hesse, Mies van der Rohe and Heine. Bach should be playing in the streets. Goethe greeted people on every corner, Thomas Mann took long walks along the river every night. I set out on this journey taking refuge in these excuses that deceived my heart like candy in the hands of a child. I was rapidly moving away from Istanbul.

I left all my belongings with my loved ones. That alone was enough to cause a huge tree in my heart to crack and fall. I was leaving my library, the lampshades I had bought with a lot of trouble from the antique shop in Moda, my record player, my İncesaz records, my flowers on the balcony.

My journey, which was initially a journey into a magical unknown, would turn into an expatriation by giving birth to other cities and countries. And with my very first step I realized that leaving was not as easy as I thought. As I was leaving, each part of me was breaking off in a different way, its roots breaking deep down with reproach.

Green was the only color that could be seen from above as the plane approached the skies over the city, even as we entered the borders of Germany. I never thought that this color could have dozens of shades until then. Richter had painted them one by one with his brush, adding them together to create a huge patchwork.

When I arrived in the center of the city from the airport, I thought I had arrived in another European city, where most of the cities looked the same, except for a few minor details. Wide avenues, huge old buildings with uniformly uniform facades, rhythmic traffic… The Rhine River dividing the city in two was the best gift that this city I was about to start living in offered me.

I wandered through the crowds of the city without speaking. Every street I entered took me to a tiny square to catch my breath. The city was a neural network millions of times larger. Trying to get me from one place to another. I was losing my way every time without a destination, without a route. The Germans, who still considered September to be summer, marveled at the boots on my feet and the thick jacket I was wearing. I wanted to tell them that I came from a cool September in Istanbul.

Following the seagulls, I finally reached the Rhine River. People sat on the stairs leading down to the waters of the river, soaking up the sun. Coming from a culture that likes to move in groups, it was surprising to see people lying alone on the grass, picnicking alone, closing their eyes against the sun and listening to their own tranquility. I let my eyes wander over the lonely travelers, not knowing that this would be the thing I would love the most in years to come.

It was getting darker and darker. It was tiring to be in two different countries in one day. Finally, at night, I arrived at the old building with high ceilings where I was to stay. In this tiny house where there was no lighting hanging from the ceiling, my eyelids would fall asleep alone, watching the yellow dim light hitting the walls, not thinking that they would wake up to a lonely day.

An Incesaz was whispering in my ear among the distant sounds of seagulls and waves. If I run away and leave

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